Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has appointed Marie Diener-West, PhD, as a Bloomberg Centennial Professor. This is an endowed position made possible by a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Diener-West is the Helen Abbey and Margaret Merrell Professor of Biostatistical Education and chairs the School’s Master of Public Health program, a position she has held since 2008.

Marie Diener-West headshotDiener-West has long focused on the statistical education of health professionals. Since 1990, she has taught courses in introductory statistical methods and data analysis, earning eight Golden Apple Awards, an annual award given by Bloomberg School students in recognition of excellence in teaching. In 1997, she developed and co-instructed, with Sukon Kanchanaraska, PhD, senior scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the School's first distance-education course, Quantitative Methods.

“Dr. Diener-West’s expert leadership of the MPH program has been tremendous, as has her longstanding dedication to biostatistics education,” says Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “We extend our warmest congratulations to Dr. Diener-West on this honor.”

Much of Diener-West’s professional career has focused on the design, conduct, and analysis of multicenter clinical trials. For 20 years, Diener-West was the study statistician and deputy director of the Coordinating Center for the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study, a set of long-term multicenter clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. The trials, conducted at 43 clinical centers, investigated the effectiveness of different radiation treatments on prolonging survival and other outcomes of patients with choroidal melanoma, a cancer of the back of the eye. These research findings changed the practice of treatment and management for this disease.

Other research interests include cystic fibrosis and the longitudinal relationship between sleep disorders and subsequent heart disease in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Sleep Heart Health Study. She is a member of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Trials and Evidence Synthesis at the Bloomberg School. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association as well as a Fellow of the Society for Clinical Trials.

“Gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data are essential skills for public health professionals,” says Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Dr. Diener-West’s expertise in biostatistics and her work with students in the Master of Public Health program help ensure that graduates are prepared for success, and I join her students and colleagues in congratulating her on her new appointment.”

Diener-West received her BS with a double major in Biology and Mathematics in 1977 from Loyola University of Chicago and her PhD in Biostatistics in 1984 from what was then the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She holds joint appointments in the departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and also at the School of Nursing.

The Master of Public Health program has thrived under Diener-West’s leadership, contributing to the School’s longstanding position as the number one school of public health in the country.

“Dr. Diener-West brings intellectual rigor and personal warmth to her work in biostatistics education and her leadership of the MPH program,” says Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. “All of the Bloomberg Fellows—indeed, everyone at the school—benefit from her wisdom and support.”

This professorship endowment is part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which is supporting 25 new endowed positions. The Initiative focuses on addressing major health challenges facing the nation, including obesity and the food system, environmental challenges, addiction, violence, and adolescent health.