Yet, those who knew him personally will remember the down to earth research giant who always found the time to encourage, support, and inspire anyone and everyone who knocked on his door.
Doug's passion for and commitment to better research, one which impacts people's lives, inspired not only his own work, but also his colleagues, and multiple generations of scientists. His name equals transparency in research, dedication, commitment, and brilliance, all over the world.
Professor Andrew Carr, head of the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) where CSM is based, says: "Doug Altman was an outstanding researcher who did an enormous amount over his career to improve the quality of medical research. His simple message was, if you are going to do research on patients then do it well and report it honestly. This approach has improved standards of care all over the world. He will be greatly missed by us all at NDORMS."
Professor Sallie Lamb, Doug's successor as Director of CSM, adds: "Doug Altman. Fantastic scholar, leader and communicator, great colleague and friend to many from across the globe. Here at CSM we knew him as an inspirational, gentle, kind soul who genuinely enjoyed medical research and the company of medical researchers. We will cherish and honour his memory in the work we do."
Doug is one of the most influential medical statisticians of the past 40 years and worked relentlessly to improve the methodological quality of medical research. He was an advocate for transparency in scientific research and dedicated his career to developing 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.
He was Professor of Statistics in Medicine at the University of Oxford and authored numerous highly cited papers on statistical methodology. He founded and directed CSM and the Cancer Research UK Medical Statistics Group, and was co-founder of the international EQUATOR Network for health research reliability. He received the BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Legends leave behind a big legacy and an enormous void. Today, we are all left so much poorer, with one less hero fighting our corner through meaningful research. May your legacy live long and prosper, if you cannot, Doug.
Our thoughts are with Doug's family at this very difficult time.