Alumni Profile: Ronald Brookmeyer Math’75

Alumni Profile: Ronald Brookmeyer Math’75

Ron Brookmeyer is Professor of Biostatistics in the Fielding School of Public Health of the University of California, Los Angeles. Ron uses the tools of the statistical, informational and mathematical sciences to address global public health problems. During a span of over three decades Ron has developed statistical methods that “sounded the alarm” which helped address major global health challenges of our times.

Ron earned worldwide recognition for his work on predicting the magnitude of the impending HIV/AIDS epidemic with work beginning in 1986. His work includes innovative methods to track and measure the current rates of spread of HIV throughout the world. The methods are being used by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. He co-wrote the book AIDS Epidemiology: A Quantitative Approach.

Ron has called attention to the looming Alzheimer’s epidemic through widely cited studies. As the world’s population ages due to the success of public health interventions, it also raises the specter of a major public health crisis — a sharp rise in the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Ron employed sophisticated computer models to project the number of cases, as well as the potential positive impact of future therapies and other strategies to prevent or delay the onset and progression of symptoms.

Following the 2001 9/11 attacks, a bioterrorist event occurred in which anthrax was sent through the U.S postal system.  Ron developed statistical models to evaluate the public health response and to rapidly address biosecurity and bioterrorism emergencies in the future. His work led to first authored publications in high impact journals including Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He was appointed a member of the National Bio-surveillance Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. He is currently working with the World Health Organization to design better studies and clinical trials to evaluate vaccines in the midst of public health emergencies including Ebola, Zika and other emerging pathogens.

Prior to arriving at UCLA, Ron was a Professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health where he directed the largest Master of Public Health Program in the world.  He developed innovative curricula to promote statistical education to improve the health of the public. He oversaw the Master of Public Health internet program at Johns Hopkins to bring education to persons throughout the world who could not attend classes on site.

In 1985 Ron began teaching a series of workshops on biostatistics in China at the request of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control. At that time, he was one of the first biostatisticians in China teaching biostatistics and promoting cross-country collaborations. He has taught workshops on biostatistics in China in each of the last five years.

Ron serves on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science magazine. In that capacity, he is working to raise the standards for statistics and data reproducibility in science.

Dr. Brookmeyer is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the American Public Health Association’s Spiegelman Gold Medal for significant contributions to health statistics. He received the 2015 Nathan Mantel Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Statistical Association for contributions at the intersection of statistical science and epidemiology. Ron is the 2016 recipient of the American Statistical Association’s Karl E. Peace Award for outstanding statistical contributions for the betterment of society.

Ronald Brookmeyer was awarded a Cooper Union Presidential Citation in 2010 and was inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2010.  Ronald Brookmeyer received the CUAA Gano Dunn Award in 2017.

More about Dr. Brookmeyer’s work can be found here: