Dr. Albert Hofman named new chair of Epidemiology Department

Bert Hofman

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Albert Hofman has been named the Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health and Clinical Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology effective July 1, 2016. Dr. Hofman comes to Harvard from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he was Professor of Epidemiology and Chair, Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Hofman is an internationally recognized scientific leader in the epidemiology of common neurologic and vascular diseases, in particular dementia and stroke. He was the initiator of pioneering studies on the role of vascular factors in the etiology of Alzheimer disease and a leader in initiating genetic studies of complex diseases in large populations. Dr. Hofman was instrumental in founding the genetic epidemiologic laboratory in the Erasmus Epidemiology Department in the late 1980s. In addition, he has a wealth of expertise and a background in extensive leadership and administrative experience, having been chair of a large Epidemiology Department for over twenty years. Since 1990, Dr. Hofman’s work has been based in the original Rotterdam cohort studies that he initiated, as well as the Generation R cohort studies that were later introduced in 2002. Dr. Hofman’s work is notable for the timely application of advanced technologies, such as MRI imaging and genomics, to population-wide observational epidemiologic studies bearing on important clinical entities. Dr. Hofman’s record of investigation is extraordinary in both quality and quantity, and it also directly reflects outstanding scientific leadership and program development, affording scores of younger investigators and collaborators the opportunity to pursue their hypotheses within the Rotterdam cohorts and craft productive scientific careers.

Dr. Hofman received an MD in 1976 from the University of Groningen, and a PhD in 1983 from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He was appointed in 1981 as an Assistant Professor at the Erasmus University Medical School and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984. Since 1988 he has been full Professor and Chair in the Department of Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Hofman has been a Science Director at the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences since 1992, as well as an adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at our School since 1998, and a Visiting Professor of Clinical Epidemiology since January 2016. Dr. Hofman has an excellent record of teaching, including being the initiator and program director of the Erasmus Summer Program since 1991, and teaching the summer session courses on Fundamentals of Epidemiology and on Study Design in Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard.

On behalf of the School and the faculty, we would like to extend our congratulations to Dr. Hofman on his new appointment and wish him continued success in his career.

Best wishes,

David Hunter, MBBS, MPH, ScD
Acting Dean
Dean for Academic Affairs

Michelle A. Williams, SM, ScD
Dean Designate