Skip to main content

Message from the Chair

Elizabeth Stuart

Welcome to the Department of Biostatistics, an intellectually vibrant and interpersonally collegial department that's conducive to learning and discovery. We are grateful for your interest.

One thing you will see in our Department is a rich landscape of ideas being created by our faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows. A hallmark for us is that our quantitative discoveries are driven by the determination to advance health science. Our targets of study span cells-to-whole-person functioning and individuals-to-society; environmental implications for health; neonatal health through older adult well-being; the Baltimore community to the globe; technologies to assess the genome, image the brain, and track health behaviors on a second-to-second basis; and a wide variety of diseases and targets of health promotion.

Quantitative interests in our community span foundations of statistics through data science in action. In between, they include statistical modeling driven by hypotheses, description, and prediction; population and causal inference; signal detection and dimension reduction; Bayesian analysis and forecasting; study design; statistical learning; and robust data analyses. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic we helped learn how clinicians can improve care for ongoing waves of patients, developed a national web repository for sharing COVID-19 trial protocols to support analyses that more powerfully leverage the resulting combined data than the myriad individual trials can, improved population forecasting and risk prediction, helped discern genomics underpinnings of the virus, develop improved trial designs, and addressed disease etiology in older adults. Students and fellows were central in these efforts!

The passion with which our community strives to increase biomedical knowledge—and ultimately the public’s health—through our statistical and data science expertise is one of two qualities that makes our department so special in the constellation of outstanding statistics, biostatistics, and data science departments around the country.

During the coronavirus restrictions, we learned how to talk, work and study online. While we are thrilled to be back onsite, we can now work more flexibly than ever—hosting events, working meetings, and classroom sessions that can include people from around the globe all at once. Racial inequality long embedded in U.S. structures and institutions was spotlighted both by the pandemic and by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. Together with the School and University, we are rededicating ourselves to achieving a truly just, equitable society. Our social justice initiative summarizes our values and commitments—the parts we’re playing and will play to enact inclusion, diversity, anti-racism, and equity. Whether for health, equity, or the central role of valid, openly available data in advancing a free and beneficent society, we increasingly are advocating alongside educating and publishing.

The second quality that distinguishes our Department is our supportive, close-knit community. Amid the many changes of recent times, this is an anchor remaining in place. Our community makes our Department a wonderful setting in which to study, launch a career, and to spend a career. Our Department is the type of environment where office dropping-by, spontaneous jaunts to get coffee together, daily lunch hanging out, and ping pong in our Genome café, sparks wild creativity. It is the sort of environment where we can take risks, because our friends will have our backs if success does not always follow, and where we love living and working together.

Thank you for your visit to our website and your interest in our energetic department; and a special heartfelt thanks to our many friends who have generously given their support! Without it, we could not recruit our outstanding faculty, students, or staff.

I hope I will have the pleasure of welcoming many of you to Baltimore soon.

— Elizabeth Stuart, PhD, Chair
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health