Remembering Jim Ware – 1 Year Later

It will be one year this week since the passing of James H. Ware, the Frederick Mosteller Professor of Biostatistics and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Science, who passed away on April 26, 2016.

Jim continues to be dearly missed by colleagues, friends, and everyone who had the pleasure to know him.  Please visit his memorial page for more about Jim’s career, videos of his conversations with colleagues, and information about donating to his scholarship fund.

A Tribute to Jim

Yasunori Sato, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan, recently published “Statistical Methods in the Journal — An Update” in collaboration with Jim Ware. The study is believed to be Jim’s final work, and Dr. Sato has dedicated the article to his memory. 

Read Dr. Sato’s words below:

“The original articles on the evolution of statistics published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) between 1978 and 1979 (Emerson and Colditz, 1983), and 2004 to 2005 (Horton and Switzer, 2005) revealed increasing sophistication in statistical methods developed over time. Now, more than a decade later, statistical methods have become a core component of data analysis, interpretation, and expression in medical research.

Since 10 years had passed since our previous research on the development of statistical methods, I asked Professor James H. Ware whether he could help me update the findings using data from January to December 2015 in NEJM. Jim advised me that we should demonstrate which areas had demonstrated an increase in statistical sophistication and which areas were growing most rapidly.

Based on his advice, we created the study protocol, categories of statistical methods, and the study design for this survey. We then reviewed data from all 238 articles published in 2015 and categorized the statistical methods that were used. For each article, at least two biostatisticians independently reviewed the statistical methods and completed a checklist documenting the study design and statistical content. My colleagues and I read through pages and pages of NEJM articles, day after day. When the draft paper was finished in early 2016, we summarized the results of this survey. Jim read it and was very pleased. He commented that it was excellent, and that there was a continued trend toward increased use of more diversified and advanced statistical methods. He consistently supported and encouraged us throughout this work.

Sadly, Jim passed away two months after all of this was finished. Had it not been for his unfailing smile and help, we could never have accomplished what is set forth here. From him we learned not only objective facts concerning our research, but also a very positive and sincere approach toward life. We are honored to dedicate this article to the memory of Jim and we hope that we have succeeded in making his dream a reality.

When Jim was visiting Japan, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and he sincerely enjoyed watching the trees on our campus. His smile will always be remembered when the cherry blossom season comes.”