Statistical Rules of Thumb


Gerald van Belle

Professor, Department of Biostatistics

Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

School of Public Health and Community Medicine

University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98155-7232

Dr. van Belle holds a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and the Department Biostatistics. He served as chair of the former from 1991 to 1998 at which time he returned to regular faculty status.

Dr. van Belle has served as Director of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety from 1991 to 1998. Other positions that he has held at the University of Washington include Director of the Graduate Program in Biostatistics and Biomathematics in the Department of Biostatistics, and Director of the Coordinating Center for the Study of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Prior to that time, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at Florida State University.

Dr. van Belle was a consultant to the Antiepileptic Drug Development Program at the National Institutes of Health, a member of the Data Monitoring Board of the Veterans’ Administration Collaborative Study of Status Epilepticus, and member of the Editorial Board of Epilepsia. . He was a member of the Research Committee of the Health Effects Institute (1993-2001), a member of the Board on Environmental Studies in Toxicology, National Research Council from 1993 to 1996.

He has been elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Statistical Institute. In 1985 he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington. In 2002 he received the Academic Award of the Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association. In 2003 he received the Wiley Author of the Year Award (Mathematics and Statistics Section). In March 2007 he gave the School of Public Health and Community Medicine Distinguished Lecture.

He has authored or co-authored over 130 publications in refereed journals. With Lloyd Fisher he has authored Biostatistics: A Methodology for the Health Sciences, a 1993 Wiley publication. He first-authored the second edition (van Belle, G., Fisher, L., Heagerty, P. and Lumley, T.) which appeared in 2004.

The second edition of Statistical Rules of Thumb appeared in August, 2008.

He has been a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration since 1983 serving as a member of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee. He was Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center in 2000-2002.

He was co-principal investigator of the National Alzheimer Coordinating Center (NAAC) located at the University of Washington (2000-2005)

He chaired the Human Subjects Review Committee of Group Health Cooperative Seattle until 2011. Currently he is a member of the Clinical Trials Center at the University of Washington which is the coordinating center for the Resuscitation Outcome Consortium. He is a principal investigator for the Pragmatic Randomized Optimal Platelet and Plasma Ratios (PROPPR). He received a B. A. degree and an M.A. degree in Mathematics and a Ph.D. degree in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Toronto.

He is married to Johanna van Belle, M.D. They have five children and twelve grandchildren. They have lived in Seattle, Washington, since 1974.

Updated July 24, 2012


© Gerald van Belle

September 4, 2008


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