Educational Programs – Leadership Changes

Directors of Graduate Studies and SM Program

Adapted from March 25th Chair’s Message:

As many of you know, Paige Williams has been our Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), overseeing our PhD program since 2015. In that capacity, she has had a profound impact on our department and its students. From the encyclopedic knowledge she amasses on the hundreds of applicants we have for our program each year, to her intimate knowledge of our students’ strengths and weaknesses, she has developed an unmatched understanding of our students and their experience and has used that understanding to advocate for changes in our program that have allowed us to better support all of our students on their academic journey. With the unfortunate passing of George Seage, Paige is assuming leadership of the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS) and so, after shepherding our applicants through the admissions process this year, she will step down effective June 1.

Fortunately, the PhD program is in very capable hands. Professor of Biostatistics Sebastien Haneuse has agreed to take over as DGS and he will be supported by Assistant Professor of Biostatistics Rajarshi Mukerjee, who has served as Assistant DGS for the past year. Both have proven to be outstanding teachers and mentors, both have served on our various academic program committees, and both are excited to be leading our doctoral educational program at a time when data is increasingly recognized as an essential driver of both health and biomedical research and health policy. In doing so they will continue our department’s exceptional support for our PhD students.

Similarly, Senior Lecturer on Biostatistics David Wypij, who has long overseen our Biostatistics SM program, has decided to step down from his role, effective July 1, because of exciting new responsibilities he has taken on at Boston Children’s Hospital. David has worked tirelessly over the years to expand our SM program and provide support for our SM students. David too has demonstrated an almost unbelievable knowledge of our SM students and has taught and mentored them with a strong commitment to ensuring they emerge from the program with all the skills necessary to be successful. David has also been a strong advocate for the SM students in our department and has been admirable for his careful evaluation of each and every applicant to the program.

Our Biostat SM students will be very well-served by Assistant Professor of Biostatistics Jeff Miller and Instructor of Biostatistics Erin Lake who will co-direct the program.  Erin has been co-directing the Biostatistics SM program with David since 2018 and has played a pivotal role in all aspects of the program. As Director of Student Development since 2017, she has created a robust career development program that supports all of our graduate students, and she also teaches one of our SM core courses. Jeff has been an outstanding teacher and mentor for students and is in high demand as an advisor because of his strong commitment to our students and their success. Our Biostat SM students are in very capable hands as well.

Please join us in congratulating Paige and David on their new roles and responsibilities. And let’s wish Sebastien, Rajarshi, Jeff, and Erin the very best in these important leadership positions –and commit to supporting them as we all work to make these programs as strong and vibrant as possible in a time when the landscape for biostatistics and the quantitative health sciences is changing so rapidly.