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Dr. Holger Schünemann
Dr. Holger Schünemann,
Department Chair

From its founding in 1968 with David Sackett as its first Department Chair, CE&B has grown, diversified, and established an international reputation through the rigour and impact of its research and education programs. While famed for its roots in evidence-based medicine and clinical trials, the department’s strengths now add up to much more than the CE&B name suggests. Continued

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Just Released: "The David L Sackett Interview 2014 and 2015"

Just Released: “The David L Sackett Interview 2014 and 2015” in which David Sackett collated, combined, and composed a single set of written responses to interview questions this past year about his career, beliefs, and outlook. More ►

Tributes pour in for 'father of evidence-based medicine' David Sackett

Photo of Dr. David SackettTributes: U Laval | Cochrane | Medscape | McMaster | NY Times | BMJ | CMAJ

David Sackett, who is widely known as the father of evidence-based medicine, died this week, and tributes began immediately.

"Dr. David Sackett was a wonderful man who propelled McMaster into the international spotlight, a reputation we still enjoy today," said Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.

Holger Schünemann, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, added: "David Sackett was a true transformer of health care. He questioned established beliefs, and explored emerging areas. His legacy is carried forward through his influential role on clinical trials, systematic reviews, evidence-based medicine and health education worldwide."

"Dave was an inspirational leader, teacher and mentor, which assures that his legacy will endure and grow," said Brian Haynes, a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics and a former student of Sackett.

Photo of Dr. David SackettGord Guyatt, a Distinguished University Professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, said: "Dave Sackett was an inspiration to all who knew him. His generosity, kindness, brilliance, innovation and deep commitment to science and to improving patient care provided a role model for more than one generation of clinical researchers and students."

Sackett was 32 and a physician with training in internal medicine, nephrology and epidemiology when he came to Hamilton as the founding chair of Canada’s first Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 1968. He was instrumental in developing evidence-based medicine, a medical approach based on scientific evidence and critical appraisal rather than conventional wisdom.

Sackett earned many prestigious awards, including the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine; Officer of the Order of Canada and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He also held the Trillium Clinical Scientist Award from the Province of Ontario; the AOA Award for excellence in teaching from the American Association of Medical Colleges, and a fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada. He received an honorary doctorate of science from McMaster University.

As a professor emeritus, he remained closely connected to McMaster’s Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, teaching seminars and courses and participating in the research symposia established in his honour.

Sackett had requested that memorial donations be made to the David L. Sackett Scholarship Fund at McMaster University.

Tributes: U Laval | Cochrane | Medscape | McMaster | NY Times | BMJ | CMAJ
Photo of Dr. David Sackett

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  • Conceives, designs, organizes and implements ground-breaking clinical trials
  • Bridges the health and social sciences to better understand and apply health services management, health policy and health economics
  • Influences how health-care decisions are made through research and service in health informatics and knowledge transfer, and
  • Promotes the principles and practice of evidence-based medicine through knowledge-translation research and educational offerings.
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