McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Sackett Symposium honours co-founder of evidence-based medicine

By Laura Thompson
Published: April 6, 2010
David Sackett
David Sackett, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics

As the founder of Canada’s first department of clinical epidemiology at McMaster University, David Sackett educated and mentored the next generation of applied clinician-scientists and worked with them to bring evidence from health-care research to the treatment and diagnosis of patients.

Now the co-founder of the evidence-based medicine movement will be honoured for his leadership in clinical epidemiology during a two-day conference held at McMaster University this month.

The Sackett Symposium, on April 22 and 23, welcomes some of the world’s leading experts in health research for a lecture series that focuses on the past, present and future of randomized clinical trials.

In addition to the symposium, the professor emeritus will also be honoured in a special edition of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

"David Sackett has had a tremendous influence on the field of randomized clinical trials and clinical research in general," said Holger Schünemann, professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. "He founded the department and left an incredible legacy. Without David Sackett, it’s possible we would not be striving for the quality of medical research that we strive for today."

Among his many research and clinical accomplishments, Sackett has designed, implemented and executed more than 200 randomized clinical trials. Among his more important trials, he was a principal investigator in research that showed, for the first time, the life-saving benefits of aspirin for patients at risk of stroke or heart attack and that surgically repairing the "hardened" arteries of patients at risk of stroke prevented both stroke and death.

In 2009, Sackett received the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for his outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. Known as the "baby Nobels," the Gairdner Awards are Canada's foremost international award.

The Sackett Symposium is hosted by the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University and the Gairdner Foundation.

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