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Professor Doug Altman, founding director of the Centre for Statistics in Medicine at NDORMS has received The BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 last night.

Professor Doug Altman with BMJ Award
Professor Doug Altman with BMJ Award

Dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of medicine, the annual awards showcase the best of British healthcare. The prestigious award, sponsored by GSK, is given to a doctor or medical researcher who has made an outstanding contribution to improving health or healthcare.

Professor Altman is an advocate for transparency in scientific research and has worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to develop essential tools for better design, analysis, clarity, and reporting of clinical and epidemiological research. Promoting the transparent and high quality reporting of evidence, Professor Altman has ultimately improved the care of patients.

The EQUATOR Network, of which he is co-founder, now provides essential resources for writing and publishing health research. huge online resource for every kind of study.

In addition, Professor Altman has encouraged, steered, and secured support for numerous international initiatives to improve reporting of health research. Through advocacy, education, and research, he has made a uniquely constructive contribution to improving the evidence base for clinical medicine and public health.

He was praised for his ability to inspire others, and his instrumental work challenging doctors, investigators, funders, journals, and institutions to do a better job with designing and communicating medical research.

His best-selling book, Practical Statistics for Medical Research, published in 1991, sold 50,000 copies in hardback and still sells today. “Almost every physician has seen or read his famous red book,” said friend and colleague, Professor Karl Moons, earlier this year.

Speaking of the award, Professor Altman says he was lucky to find what he really wanted to do – “I can look back and see the path I took but it was not visible ahead of me” – and is especially delighted to get this award in the field of medicine, not statistics, because the battle’s not yet won. But, thanks to him, it is well and truly joined.

Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-chief of the The BMJ, said Professor Altman “has done more than anyone else to encourage researchers to fully report what they actually did, warts and all, rather than letting the best be the enemy of the good or, worse, pretending that research is perfect.”

Professor Moons said in tribute that Altman had been “the convenor of almost every important guideline for transparent reporting in medical research.”

 

Photo copyright: Philippa Gedge Photography

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