Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Doug AltmanOn the 3rd June 2018, when Professor Doug Altman passed away, the statistics community lost one of its greatest statisticians. Doug Altman was a Professor of Statistics in Medicine at the University of Oxford. He was an internationally acclaimed statistician, who was best known for improving the quality of medical research. His contribution to the discipline of statistics are profound and have been, and continue to be, of far reaching consequence.

Doug led the Medical Statistics Group of Cancer Research UK from 1988. His immersion in clinical research led to Doug’s popular book “Practical Statistics for Medical Research” which was published in 1991. The group moved from London to Oxford in 1995, where he founded the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM). In 2006 he founded the Equator Network, which seeks to improve the quality of scientific publications by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of health research.

In 2015, Doug was awarded the BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award and was quoted as saying in an article announcing the award that “Perpetually seeing bad articles in medical journals just got to me. I felt aggrieved by it. It was a waste of money, of course, and a breach of ethics, but that only occurred to me later. At the time, it just seemed wrong.”  Doug sought to address these concerns, focussing his career on continuing to develop new methodologies whilst advocating for practical guidelines and transparency. 

CSM continues under the Directorship of Professor Sallie Lamb. Only a few weeks before his death, Doug took both great pride and enjoyment in participating in the annual CSM away day, and celebrating the achievements of junior, mid-career and senior medical statisticians at the University of Oxford.

Similar stories

Communication at the crossroads of the immune system

In his inaugural article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as an NAS member (elected 2021), Prof Mike Dustin and his research team in Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences have explained how messages are passed across the immunological synapse. The research could have implications for future vaccine development and immunotherapy treatments.

Oxford spinout trials revolutionary bioelectronic implant to treat incontinence

The first participants in a clinical trial of a bioelectrical therapy to treat incontinence have received their “smart” bioelectronic implants.

COVID-19 is a leading cause of death in children and young people in the US

A new study led by researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science has found that, between 2021 and 2022, COVID-19 was a leading cause of death in children and young people in the United States, ranking eighth overall. The results demonstrate that pharmaceutical and public health interventions should continue to be applied to limit the spread of the coronavirus and protect again severe disease in this age group.

Three or more concussions linked with worse brain function in later life

Experiencing three or more concussions is linked with worsened brain function in later life, according to new research.

New blood test could save lives of heart attack victims

Researchers in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) have developed a blood test that measures stress hormone levels after heart attacks. The test – costing just £10 – could ensure patients receive timely life-saving treatment.

COVID-19 increased public trust in science, new survey shows

A survey of over 2000 British adults has found that public trust in science, particularly genetics, increased significantly during the pandemic. However, those with extremely negative attitudes towards science tend to have high self-belief in their own understanding despite low textbook knowledge.