University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Patrick Heagerty Named New Chair of Department of Biostatistics

Patrick Heagerty Named New Chair of Department of Biostatistics


Dean Howard Frumkin named Professor Patrick Heagerty the new Chair of the Department of Biostatistics within the UW School of Public Health, effective Sept. 1, 2014. Heagerty will succeed Professor Bruce Weir, who has been chair for nine years.

Patrick Heagerty

Heagerty has been with the department since 1995, and has served as associate chair since 2011. He also directs the Center for Biomedical Statistics, responsible for coordinating biostatistical collaboration in Seattle and the greater Northwest region of Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana.

"I was delighted when he agreed to direct the Center for Biomedical Statistics and then when he agreed to act as Associate Chair of Biostatistics," said Weir, who will assume a faculty role. "He has been superb in both these roles, as he will be as Chair."

Heagerty received a BS from Cornell University, an MS in Mathematics and Statistics from the State University of New York at Albany, and a PhD in Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University. He is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and has won numerous other awards for his research focusing on methods for the analysis of longitudinal data and on the evaluation of biomarkers. He has also taught from middle school to graduate school, and was named the School's Outstanding Teacher in 2009.

"These honors and credentials don't tell the full story," Dean Frumkin said. "Patrick is one of the most thoughtful, caring, well liked, and well respected members of our faculty. As the search unfolded, support for him from the Biostatistics faculty was extraordinary. He will be a superb Chair."

Professor Larry Kessler, Chair of the Health Services Department and of the Biostatistics Chair Search Committee, said, "We solicited applications from many of the most gifted biostatisticians in the country. On more than one occasion, we heard the response: 'Why should I apply? You have one of the most talented biostatisticians in the world in Patrick Heagerty.'"

Kessler added: "We looked for biostatisticians who understand and have contributed to the theory of the field, have an appreciation for the application of statistics to biomedical problems, and also have an appreciation of how to support faculty, students, and staff in an academic environment. Patrick possesses that unusual combination of all three traits and has shown himself to be one of the premier academic biostatisticians in the country. His recent work as director of coordinating centers in new areas of endeavor, such as kidney disease, and his continuing work in areas such as comparative effectiveness and pragmatic trials in back pain, illustrate his breadth of accomplishment."

As Chair, Heagerty will be responsible for the educational, administrative, and financial affairs of the Biostatistics department and will be expected to exemplify and model the School's values: integrity, innovation, diversity, excellence, collaboration, courage, stewardship, equity, and impact.

Frumkin noted that Heagerty commutes by bicycle from his home in Vashon Island.

"Our Biostatistics Department occupies a commanding position at the very top of its field, and has a well justified global reputation," Frumkin said. "I join Patrick in an unshakable commitment to the department, to maintaining its excellence in teaching, research, and collaboration, and to supporting it in taking on new challenges and growing in strategic directions."