2018 Message from the Chairs


Cultures around the world celebrate mid-winter holidays to remind us to reflect on the past and to look forward to the opportunities available to us in the future. As the fall semester winds down in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we, as Chairs of the Department, have had the opportunity to do just that.

As summarized elsewhere in this newsletter, this past year for the Department has been a remarkable success. We’ve recruited two new faculty, Rajarshi Mukherjee and Junwei Lu, who expand the breadth and depth of our expertise. We have welcomed and graduated amazing students who continue to lift up our department through their curiosity in learning, research, and teaching, and leave our department to assume leadership roles in biostatistics and quantitative health science. We’ve benefitted from postdoctoral fellows bringing new expertise to our research efforts and then successfully moving to the next stage in their careers. And we have continued to build a strong administrative team to support the department in its mission.

Our faculty serve as national and international leaders in public health and biomedical science, advise many national and international organizations, and have been elected to some of the highest honors in science. They have continued their strong record of funding, receiving many prestigious research grants, and lead major scientific projects. Our faculty also maintain six training grants that fund the majority of our doctoral students and many postdoctoral fellows. And, as you will read, our alumni have similarly excelled in their professional lives.

Looking forward, our department continues to grow and develop in ways that will allow us to use quantitative science to make significant contributions to public health and biomedicine. Two years ago, we underwent an external strategic review, which noted the department’s strengths not only in biostatistics, but also in health data science, broadly defined. Our faculty and curricula continue to evolve to support this broad vision, while maintaining our commitment to lead in core biostatistical methodology and applications, so that our faculty, students, and postdocs are ready to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.

As we prepare to turn the page on the calendar and start the new year, we want to thank all of you for your continued support of our department. Although we enjoy our own research and teaching, what makes us most proud is our membership in the community of scholars that is the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard Chan School.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,

John Quackenbush and Brent Coull