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James O’Malley Named to Endowed Professorship

James O’Malley, MS, PhD, a professor of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and of Biomedical Data Science at the Geisel School of Medicine, has been named to the Peggy Y. Thomson Professorship in the Evaluative Clinical Sciences.

“Dr. O'Malley has been an exceptional leader at Geisel in advancing statistical methodology as a thrust of his own research program and as a collaborator in support of the research programs of many of our other investigators,” says Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. “He has also taken a very active role in educating future researchers in applied statistical methods. I'm delighted to recognize James' achievements by appointing him to this named professorship.’

James O’Malley, MS, PhD. Photo by Rob Strong

As a biostatistician, O’Malley uses a variety of tools—some that he has developed himself—to evaluate health policy and health services research and determine the statistical methods that can be used to help improve healthcare.

These tools encompass statistical inference for social networks, multivariate hierarchical models, comparative effectiveness research including causal inference for both randomized and observational studies, and Bayesian analysis.

He is also focused on collaborative research with physicians, health services researchers, health economists, medical sociologists, epidemiologists, and others—to solve important problems in medicine or healthcare for which there are often compelling statistical challenges. This work has led to advances in the evaluation of treatments, healthcare utilization, and quality of care in multiple areas of medicine.

O’Malley is the co-director of the PhD Program in Health Policy and Clinical Practice at The Dartmouth Institute, is an associate editor of Statistics in Medicine and of Observational Studies, and serves as an adjunct professor in both Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College. He is the most recent past director of the Program in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences.

“It is a true honor to be appointed to the Peggy Y. Thomson Professorship, especially given the tremendous accomplishments of all of the earlier recipients,” says O’Malley. “I have benefitted from amazing and generous colleagues throughout my career, including some who attracted me to Dartmouth and other faculty, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and students with whom I subsequently collaborated. I’m looking forward to using this award to advance research in statistics, and data science methods and applications, in my research groups to help us to inform and accelerate the pathway to better and more equitable healthcare.”

The Peggy Y. Thomson Professorship was established in 1993 by Dr. Andrew Thomson, Jr., D’46, in honor of his wife. It was the first endowed chair in the U.S. devoted to the then emerging field of outcomes research, helping to cement Dartmouth’s leadership in the field.

The chair was first held by Dr. Jack Wennberg, a pioneer and leading researcher of unwarranted variation in healthcare who founded The Dartmouth Institute as the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth in 1988. Most recently the chair was held by noted health economist Ellen Meara, PhD, an adjunct professor of The Dartmouth Institute known for her work in modeling the effects of public policies and regulations on healthcare utilization, overall health, and economic outcomes.

Dr. Thomson was an important benefactor of the medical school over many years, generously providing support to areas such as teaching and research in medicine and faculty development at The Dartmouth Institute. In 1986, he established the William LeRoy Garth Professorship in Anesthesiology.

That same year, fellow Dartmouth College alumni Robert C. Borwell D ’25 and Kenneth F. Montgomery D ’25 established the Andrew Thomson, Jr., MD 1946 Professorship in honor of Dr. Thomson’s many contributions to Dartmouth and its medical school. This included his service as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee, as a member of the medical school’s Board of Overseers (with three years as chair), and as a trustee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Dr. Thomson earned his MD from Indiana University and was an internist at Rush-Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago for 30 years, where he also served on the Board of Trustees and played a leading role in fundraising for the institution.

Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.