E. John Orav, PhD

Associate Professor
Brigham and Women's Hospital/EH&E

Dr. Orav’s research interest centers on the modeling of the progression of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis or HIV. Rather than focusing on a single endpoint, a patient with a chronic disease can move through multiple stages. The rates of progression through the stages can be effected by characteristics inherent to the patient, or through outside factors such as treatments. Challenges in constructing such models and providing estimates and tests of the model parameters, include the large number of parameters that must be considered and the complex inter-relationships between times spent in the various stages. Dr. Orav’s interests in statistical computing and simulation have provided the tools necessary to take such models from a theoretical formulation to actual implementation.

Dr. Orav has also developed a strong interest in collaborative research with the medical community. This interest has led to an appointment at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and provided a rich source of data and interesting statistical problems. He is currently working on treatment trials in multiple sclerosis, the natural history of cardiac function in children infected with HIV, the measurement of functional status in post-surgical patients, and variations in resource utilization among patients presenting with chest pain.

These collaborative contacts have also led to Dr. Orav’s participation in the development and teaching of the Clinical Effectiveness program at HSPH. This program was designed to develop clinical research skills among young physicians and has grown very successfully over the past eight years. Dr. Orav teaches both the introductory biostatistics course and the second level regression course to students pursuing a Master’s degree at the School.