Dr. George Howard

George Howard, DrPH, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biostatistics, retired from the UAB School of Public Health on November 1, 2022. Dr. Howard’s career in Public Health and Medicine spans more than 40 years at UAB and previously at Wake Forest School of Medicine (previously Bowman Gray School of Medicine). Dr. Howard has also held visiting professor or adjunct positions at the Polish Mother's Memorial Hospital Research Institute in Lodz, Poland, and East Carolina University.

In the 20+ years that Dr. Howard has spent at UAB, he has served as a research biostatistician, teacher, department chair, and mentor. In addition to these roles, Dr. Howard has provided strong and enduring leadership, service, and advocacy to the Department of Biostatistics, the UAB School of Public Health, and the UAB academic community.

Dr. Howard has published over 21 book chapters, 565 articles, and eight letters in an array of biomedical areas with emphasis on Biostatistics and Epidemiology methods, stroke, chronic disease epidemiology, and neurological diseases. He has been the Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded REGARDS Study (REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke), which since its initial funding in 2003, has received over $100 million in total NIH funding. The purpose of this national study is to better understand one of the biggest conundrums in the health of America: the disparity in stroke deaths between Black and white individuals across the United States, and between residents of the South and people living in the rest of the country. Researchers here and elsewhere have 700 publications to-date related to the REGARDS study, with more than 100 different UAB researchers as first authors on papers based on REGARDS data.

Dr. Howard has also served as the Principal Investigator (PI) the Statistical and Data Management Center of numerous clinical trials to reduce the burden of stroke, including the Carotid Revascularization for Primary Prevention of Stroke Trial (CREST-2), a pair of randomized trials each with an anticipated sample size of 1,240 that assess the difference between carotid revascularization versus intensive medical management. He is also currently the PI of the Statistical and Data Coordinating Center for the Coordinated, Collaborative, Comprehensive, Family-based, Integrated, and Technology-enabled Care (C3FIT), a cluster-randomized trial assessing the efficacy coordination of post-stroke care. In the past, he has also served as the PI for the coordinating centers Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy Stenting Trial (CREST) and Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3).

“I cannot thank Dr. George Howard enough for all that he has done for the Department of Biostatistics, the UAB School of Public Health, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, Dean of the UAB School of Public Health. “Most of all, I want to express my gratitude for all he has done for the public’s health. Because of the work that Dr. Howard has produced throughout his career, people are living longer and have healthier lives.”

Celebrants at Dr. Howard's retirement party stand outside. Names are in article text. Photo credit: Kay Peterson-Sullivan, Department of BiostatisticsWhen Dr. Howard speaks of his own accomplishments, he is quick to include the efforts of his colleagues and teammates, including his wife, Virginia (Ginny) Howard, PhD. Dr. Ginny Howard is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health and Co-Investigator and lead epidemiologist for the REGARDS study. In 2020 both were elevated to Distinguished Professorships and throughout the years have contributed independently and jointly to furthering public health research.

In retirement, Dr. Howard plans to “keep his toe in the pool” by continuing to work with valued colleagues at UAB and across the nation. In addition, the Drs. Howard plan to split their time between their lake home in Pell City, Alabama and their home in New Bern, North Carolina near three daughters and two grandchildren. Dr. Howard is looking forward to spending more time on the lake with friends, quality time with his family, and volunteering with groups like the Historic Society in New Bern, which he says is to promote the history of a remarkable town, “not the history of old people.”

The Department of Biostatistics held a gathering on Friday, October 28th to celebrate Dr. Howard’s retirement, bringing all Biostatistics Department Chairs (former and current) together. Pictured from left to right, Dr. Jeff Szychowski, Dr. Al Bartolucci, Dr. Charles Katholi, Dr. George Howard, Dr. Naomi Fineberg, Dr. David Redden, and Dr. Lloyd Edwards

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