The Passing of Marshall Joffe

The Passing of Marshall Joffe

We are saddened to share with you the news that Marshall Joffe, MD, MPH, PhD, passed away on October 5. Dr. Joffe is remembered by many in our community, nationally and internationally for his groundbreaking work in causal inference — work that influenced both biostatistics and epidemiology — and, equally, as a wonderfully kind and generous collaborator, teacher and mentor.

Dr. Joffe joined what was then the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in 1996 and rose to the rank of Professor of Biostatistics in 2012. He earned international recognition for his development of both statistical methods and concepts in causal inference. His diverse mix of basic theoretical, methodological and applied work produced outstanding and impactful responses to countless scientific challenges that that he tackled in collaborations with other statisticians, epidemiologists and clinical researchers. His work and expertise were crucial to the accurate, imaginative execution of many collaborative and applied research studies.

His work appeared in the leading journals of both statistics and epidemiology, including Biometrics, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society-Series B, Annals of Statistics, Biostatistics, Statistics in Medicine, Epidemiology and the American Journal of Epidemiology. He also served on the editorial boards of top journals in biostatistics and epidemiology and was a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. Dr. Joffe was an accomplished teacher and mentor both to students and to faculty colleagues in the School of Medicine, Wharton and the Graduate School of Education. He often led formal and informal training in causal inference at Penn, which was critical to the University’s international reputation as a center for causal inference research.

In his honor, the DBEI sponsors the Marshall Joffe Epidemiologic Methods Research Award, which the Society for Epidemiologic Research gives annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments in developing, adapting or translating a methodological concept or approach in epidemiology, including applied population health research settings.

Dr. Joffe’s love for life and for science shone on the many lives he touched. He will be buried in Israel.

Harold I. Feldman, MD, MSCE / Director, CCEB
J. Richard Landis, PhD / Emeritus Professor of Biostatistics
Jeffrey Morris, PhD / Director, Division of Biostatistics
Enrique F. Schisterman / Chair, DBEI

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To understand health and disease today, we need new thinking and novel science —the kind  we create when multiple disciplines work together from the ground up. That is why this department has put forward a bold vision in population-health science: a single academic home for biostatistics, epidemiology and informatics. 

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