Skip to Main Content

Award-Winning Statistician Joins Yale School of Public Health Leadership

April 08, 2024
by Colin Poitras

Bhramar Mukherjee appointed inaugural Senior Associate Dean of Public Health Data Science and Data Equity

Award-winning statistician Bhramar Mukherjee, PhD, has been appointed Yale School of Public Health’s inaugural Senior Associate Dean of Public Health Data Science and Data Equity, an important new leadership position that reflects the school’s focus on data science as a critical pillar for the future of public health. She joins YSPH on Aug. 1, 2024.

Mukherjee currently holds a number of distinguished academic positions at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where she is the John D. Kalbfleisch Distinguished University Professor, Siobán D. Harlow Collegiate Professor of Public Health, and chair of the Department of Biostatistics. She is also a professor of epidemiology, and of global public health. In addition, Mukherjee serves as associate director for quantitative data Sciences at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center and, last year, she was appointed assistant vice president for research, designing a comprehensive research data analysis service infrastructure for all three U-M campuses.

YSPH Dean Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH, said Mukherjee’s appointment aligns with the school’s strategic goal of advancing public health data science, a critical part of YSPH’s leadership of the transformation of public health.

“This new role symbolizes our commitment to both rigor and equity in data science as the foundation of the future of public health,” Ranney said in an April 8 schoolwide announcement. “Dr. Mukherjee’s arrival will allow us to coordinate across public health disciplines and across the university in achieving our shared, future-focused, consequentialist vision of public health.”

At YSPH, Mukherjee will also hold the positions of Anna M.R. Lauder endowed professor of biostatistics and professor of chronic disease epidemiology. She will be a member of the Yale Cancer Center director’s cabinet. Additionally, she will hold a secondary appointment in the Department of Statistics and Data Science and will have affiliations with the MacMillan Center and the Institute for the Foundations of Data Science.

This new role symbolizes our commitment to both rigor and equity in data science as the foundation of the future of public health.

Dean Megan L. Ranney

As senior associate dean, Dr. Mukherjee will work with Dean Ranney, the school’s senior leadership team, and the broader university community to develop and realize a strategic plan for public health data science and data equity that will enable transformational and impactful research in the face of quickly changing methods, technology, and societal shifts. In doing so, she will lead the development of resources to support the school’s public health data science and data equity research enterprise. She will also work to elevate YSPH’s data science and data equity education programs, with a goal of enhancing the pipeline of diverse scholars in this field. Additionally, representing YSPH’s commitment to global public health, she will support and create international collaborations that enhance the global practice, teaching, and science of public health data science and data equity.

She also plans to continue her own research and teaching.

Mukherjee said she felt “a strong intellectual resonance” with the Yale community when she visited YSPH in August 2023 as the inaugural speaker for the Dean’s Leaders in Public Health lecture series.

“I was inspired by the transformative vision Dean Ranney has for YSPH and more broadly for academic public health,” Mukherjee said. “Data is a quintessential quantum of research, but we often forget to ask the fundamental question: who is in my study? I believe everyone should have equal opportunity of benefitting from data resources and data products.”

“Data equity, both in terms of quantity and quality of data, is a critical pillar of health equity, climate equity and more broadly, societal equity,” Mukherjee continued. “I am deeply honored to have this inaugural leadership position underscoring the importance of data to improve the human condition. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Yale community to advance our collective pursuit of creative, impactful, fair, and equitable data science.”

Mukherjee said the decision to leave the University of Michigan after 18 years was “exceptionally hard”. She thanked her students, friends, and colleagues at U-M for “shaping my vision for public health data science.”

Mukherjee joins a strong team of data scientists at YSPH. Faculty in the Department of Biostatistics are considered international leaders in their field and have been extensively recognized for their pioneering work. YSPH’s acclaimed public health modeling unit, which exists across multiple departments in the school, is particularly acclaimed for its deep and direct impact in Connecticut and internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing policymakers with timely data-driven insights to help guide emergency response. YSPH’s core data science centers such as the Yale Center for Analytical Sciences, the Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science, and Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology, bring researchers and scholars together to spur development of innovative statistical tools and techniques that are used to address today’s most pressing public health and biomedical challenges.

Biostatistics Department Chair Steven (Shuangge) Ma said Mukherjee’s leadership and research strengths will elevate YSPH data science work to a new level.

“Bhramar is a remarkable researcher and a true leader in the field,” Ma said. “She has made profound methodological contributions to the foundation of biostatistics and equally importantly public health practice. We are thrilled to have her join us.”

Mukherjee’s methodological research interests include statistical methods for analysis of electronic health records, studies of gene-environment interactions, shrinkage estimation, data integration, and analysis of multiple pollutants. Her collaborative contributions have focused on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, COVID-19, exposure science, environmental epidemiology, and reproductive health. She has co-authored more than 380 publications in statistics, biostatistics, medicine, and public health and has served as a principal investigator on multiple NSF and NIH grants. She is the founding director of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate Big Data Summer Institute and has been leading the program for the past nine years.

Mukherjee’s innovation and leadership in data science has been widely recognized. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2022. She is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship, service, and teaching at the University of Michigan and beyond, including the Gertrude M. Cox award, the L. Adrienne Cupples award, the Janet L. Norwood award, the Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society, the Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research in statistics and, most recently, the 2024 Marvin Zelen Leadership Award. She also is a recipient of the Outstanding Statistics Alumnus award, Distinguished Woman Scholar award, and Distinguished School of Science Alumnus award from her alma mater, Purdue University.

During her distinguished academic career at the University of Michigan, Mukherjee received many prestigious institutional awards including the School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award, Rackham Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, the Sarah Goddard Power award for improving the work environment for women, and the highly coveted Distinguished University Professorship. Mukherjee and her team took an active role in modeling the SARS-CoV-2 virus trajectory in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been featured in many major media outlets including the BBC, Der Spiegel, Forbes, NPR, the New York Times, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, and the Times of India.

Submitted by Colin Poitras on April 04, 2024