Biostatistician personifies public health excellence

Rollins and Hatcher
Gary Rollins (left) and Charles Hatcher (right) congratulate Michael Kutner, recipient of the 2011 Charles R. Hatcher Jr. M.D. Award for Excellence in Public Health.

Serving 35 years as an Emory ­biostatistician easily qualifies Michael Kutner for a place in Rollins history.

Kutner's career is intertwined with the founding of the school and the growth of biostatistics as an integral part of health sciences research.

For his accomplishments, the school presented Kutner with the Charles R. Hatcher Jr. M.D. Award for Excellence in Public Health. Kutner is the ninth recipient of the award, named in honor of Hatcher for his commitment to public health. Hatcher, the award’s first recipient, was instrumental in the creation of the School of Public Health as Emory’s vice president for health affairs.

During the mid-1980s, Kutner was part of a small working group that formulated a strategic plan for a school of public health. When Hatcher, Emory President James Laney, and the Board of Trustees approved formation of the school in 1990, Kutner became the first associate dean for academic affairs. He played a major role in creating the organizational structure of the school and securing its initial accreditation. In 2004, he was named Rollins Professor and chair of what is now the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. Although Kutner stepped down as chair in 2009, he continues to teach, write, and conduct research.

Last year, in return for his success after nearly 50 years of teaching, he established the Michael H. Kutner Award in Biostatistics, which recognizes distinguished rsph graduates in the field, and the Michael H. Kutner Fund, which supports outstanding PhD candidates.

Just recently, Kutner added the 2011 W.J. Dixon Award for Excellence in Statistical Consulting, presented by the American Statistical Association, to his long list of honors.

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