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RG P-DT06, Series 00489-00493

Harvard School of Public Health. Department of Biostatistics. Records, 1981-2009 (inclusive), 1999-2003 (bulk): Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

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Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


The Harvard School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics records were processed with grant funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as awarded in 2012 and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: RG P-DT06, Series 00489-00493
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Department of Biostatistics.
Title: Harvard School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics Records,
Date(s): 1981-2009 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1999-2003 (bulk).
Quantity: 4.8 cubic feet (4 records center cartons and 2 letter size document boxes)
Quantity: 4.73 gigabytes* (3 3.5" floppy disks and 1 CD)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: The Records of the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, 1981-2009 (inclusive), 1999-2003 (bulk), consist of correspondence and printed emails, electronic records, memoranda, reports, faculty evaluations, meetings records, reports, and course evaluations and schedules produced by the administrative and teaching activities of members of the department.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

  • Accession number 2014-019. 2013 August.
  • Accession number 2014-020. 2013 August.
  • Accession number 2014-021. 2013 August.
  • Accession number 2014-022. 2013 August.
  • Accession number 2014-023. 2013 August.
  • Processing Information:

    Processed by Bryan Sutherland, 2013 August.
    Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the records and created a finding aid to improve access to the collection. To enhance preservation, processing staff re-housed the collection and, where necessary, photocopied documents onto acid-free paper. Duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine were discarded. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals. Files on 3.5 inch floppy disks and CDs were copied to secure storage. Files that could be opened were sampled for content, however, researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection could be opened and assessed. Regardless of copy status, all original media have been retained.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Access requires advance notice. Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These restrictions apply to records in Series I, II, III, IV, and V. Access to personal and student records is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, III, IV, and V. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
    Access to electronic records in this collection is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit. Researchers should contact Public Services for more information.
    The Records are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact Public Services for more information concerning retrieval of material.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from Public Services are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

    Preferred Citation:

    Harvard School of Public Health. Department of Biostatistics. Records, 1981-2009 (inclusive), 1999-2003 (bulk). Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

    Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine.

    Historical Note

    The Department of Biostatistics was founded in 1922 at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), as one of the four core departments of the school. Originally called the Department of Vital Statistics, it's teaching mission focused on providing statistical courses for other programs. Edwin B. Wilson (1879-1964) Professor of Vital Statistics, served as the department's first chair. The department offered a Master of Science degree, as well as Doctor of Science and Doctor of Public Health degrees.
    The appointment of Howard H. Hiatt (1925-) as Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1972 saw an increased focus on statistics in health and medicine. In 1977 Frederick Mosteller (1916-2006) was appointed Chairman, and he consolidated the faculty from other departments and expanded it through recruiting. Marvin Zelen (1927-) was appointed Chair in 1981, increasing collaboration with the biostatistics department at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, focusing on clinical trials. The department was also heavily involved in the Harvard Six Cities Study, focused on statistical analysis related to the health impact of air pollution. The "Woburn Study" also took place during this time, involving Zelen and Stephen W. Lagakos (1946-2009), who were able to prove a link between contaminated water wells and a childhood leukemia cluster in the town.
    In the 1990s the department became involved in HIV/AIDS clinical trials, as part of Lagakos' National Institutes of Health (NIH) contract for the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) Statistical Center. This contract also led to the establishment of the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research (CBAR) in 1995. During the 1990s and 2000s, the department expanded and strengthened corporate relationships as well as relationships with Harvard-affiliated hospitals' biostatistics departments. The Department partnered with Schering-Plough to host an annual workshop at HSPH to promote methodological research and its importance to the pharmaceutical industry. In 2000 the department formed a partnership with Kitasato University in Japan, which includes an annual workshop in Tokyo.

    Series and Subseries in the Collection

    Scope and Content

    Records of the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, 1981-2009 (inclusive), 1999-2003 (bulk), consist of correspondence and printed emails, electronic records, memoranda, reports, faculty evaluations, meetings records, reports, and course evaluations and schedules produced by the administrative and teaching activities of members of the department. The bulk of the records date from 1999 to 2003, during Stephen W. Lagakos's tenure (1999-2006) as chair of the department.
    The Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics Records consist of five series: Series 00489: I. Administrative Records; Series 00493: II. Faculty Search and Appointment Records; III. Departmental Meetings Records; Series 00491: IV. Committee Records; Series 00492: V. Course Records.
    Records are entirely in English.

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Public health personnel--United States--Education.
    Education, Public Health Professional
    Lagakos, Stephen W.
    Ware, James H., 1941-
    Harvard School of Public Health. Department of Biostatistics--Administration.
    Harvard School of Public Health--Curriculum.
    Harvard School of Public Health--Faculty--Selection and appointment.
    Harvard School of Public Health. Finance Committee.

    med00187