Jerome Cornfield's contributions to early large randomized clinical trials and some reminiscences from the years of the slippery doorknobs


Janet Wittes, Statistics Collaborative, Inc., 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, U.S.A.



This paper briefly describes Jerome Cornfield's approach to Bayesian statistics, his discomfort with frequentist inference, and his contribution to two major clinical trials, the University Group Diabetes Program and the Coronary Drug Project. I mention the role of Bayesian statistics in current randomized clinical trials and conjecture why Cornfield's contributions to Bayesian methods are not more widely cited today. I then provide some personal recollections of Jerry as a role model and mentor and conclude with a recommendation that biostatisticians read his seminal papers because of their thoughtfulness, insight, wit, and clarity. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.