Lehana Thabane, a Hamilton-based biostatistician whose work is celebrated internationally, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work from the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC).

“The award is an acknowledgement of the positive, inclusive, collegial, nurturing, and collaborative culture that we have built at McMaster and St. Joe’s,” said Thabane, a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) at McMaster University and Vice President, Research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. 

“It is a celebration of the Ubuntu spirit that is the foundation of every collaboration that says, ‘I am because we are!’”

A major focus of the Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work is recent and impactful work done outside of the statistical sciences. The award is granted annually to an SSC member.

The award committee cited Thabane’s outstanding contributions to the development and application of statistical methods for emerging and innovative clinical trial designs; his statistical leadership in the design and conduct of highly impactful collaborative health studies that have led to significant advances in clinical practice guidelines and helped shape new health policy; and his passion and extraordinary contributions in mentoring without borders that has influenced hundreds in Canada and worldwide.

Thabane has accepted the award on behalf of his many collaborators at McMaster University and beyond, thanking his colleagues at St. Joe’s Biostatistics Unit, McMaster HEI, and his many other local, national, and international collaborators. The award was announced at the opening ceremony of the SSC’s virtual annual meeting this morning.

Trained on three continents, Thabane received his PhD in Statistics from Western University in 1998. As a McMaster HEI faculty member – the home department of evidence-based medicine for which McMaster is known worldwide – Thabane has collaborated with a broad network of clinicians, epidemiologists, and scientists across many fields among the health sciences.

Over the years, Thabane has proven himself a prolific researcher, having contributed to over 1000 scientific publications and given over 700 presentations at local, national, and international conferences. He has led nearly 200 workshops that address key issues in biostatistics, such as cluster-randomization trials, confusions about and controversies of pragmatic trials, missing data in health studies, mentorship of junior scientists, how to enhance research productivity, and much more.

He has made numerous scientific contributions in the areas of cardiology, perioperative medicine, HIV-AIDS, primary care, and others. As a methodologist, he has also led the development of clinical trials methodology, risk assessment, and evidence synthesis methods.

Thabane has been the lead statistician on several award-winning international trials, which have been recognized for their methodological rigour and impact on health policy and practice.

In his current role at St. Joe’s, Thabane is working to enhance formal mentorship opportunities for learners across all areas of research and further fostering a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Praise for Lehana Thabane:

“As an academic health sciences centre, we are privileged to have such an experienced, dedicated scientist and mentor leading our research endeavours. Dr. Thabane’s generosity of spirit continues to guide the next generation of researchers and his leadership in applying statistical methods for collaborative, innovative health studies impacts lives.”

Melissa Farrell
President, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

“Dr. Thabane is less interested in showing his own value than he is in understanding his research partners’ needs and providing them with feasible, sound solutions to support their own successes. He has spent his entire career troubleshooting clinical researchers’ problems with technically brilliant solutions, which is one of the many reasons he is so deserving of this award.”

Dr. Alfonso Iorio
Chair, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

“For more than a decade, I have had the very real privilege of learning from and working with Dr. Thabane. As a PhD student, he was my supervisor, and now I, along with many others in the research community, consider him a mentor and a friend. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than Dr. Thabane.”

Dr. Lawrence Mbuagbaw
Director, Biostatistics Unit, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton

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