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by Professor Nan M. Laird, Chair
Department of Biostatistics, HSPH

I often have people at the School say to me, "Biostatistics has the reputation as the best department in the School." People outside the School regard us as one of the best departments of Biostatistics in the world. Of course, I agree entirely with these sentiments, but I do often wonder just what they are referring to. I believe that many are referring to our outstanding and productive faculty; many refer to the quality and quantity of teaching of Biostatistics that we do at the School and our many outstanding graduates. Still others refer to the smooth functioning of the Department administration. I myself am constantly impressed with how well our Department committee system functions. Not only do both faculty and students put a great deal of time and energy into providing leadership for the department committees, but the staff really makes everything go and contributes stability and the necessary corporate memory. Faculty who agree to chair one of our many committees take on considerable responsibility. We all know that when we don't do a very good job we usually hear about it right away, but when we do a great job, it is soon forgotten. So let me take this opportunity to thank all the faculty, students and staff for their hard work on the Department committees, and
especially the committee chairs.

In addition to our standing committees, we usually have several ad hoc committees, for example search committees and this year, an ad hoc committee to plan a faculty retreat at the end of June. Each year we also appoint one or two faculty to work with our pharmaceutical partnerships in planning workshops and faculty visits. This provides faculty the opportunity to work with statisticians in the pharmaceutical industry; scientists in industry have the chance to find out more about the diversity of research going on in the Department. This year's Schering Plough workshop focused on Data Monitoring Committees and their role in Clinical Trials. It was clearly one of our most successful; an important side benefit of these workshops is that many alumni take advantage of this opportunity to return to Boston. I am also pleased to note that our partnership with Pfizer has been renewed for another five years. This partnership sponsors an annual workshop at Pfizer for Pfizer and Harvard Biostatisticians.

This department works because everyone who is a part of it does their share to make it so outstanding. All of us deserve credit for making our department "the best".