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Wilcox, Allen J.

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000024

In 2001, the year EPIDEMIOLOGY moved to Durham, our manuscripts were delivered in fat envelopes, a gentleman named Mr. Cherry ran our building’s elevator (the last manually operated elevator in North Carolina), and David Savitz began his term as one of our editors.

Fast-forward to 2014: manuscripts arrive by Internet, our elevator operates with the press of a button, and David Savitz, after 13 years of exemplary service to the journal, is stepping down.

The extent to which one research journal can be distinguished from another often depends on the character of its editors. David’s influence at EPIDEMIOLOGY has been outsized. At a time when major developments in epidemiologic theory are enjoying wide influence, David has been a voice for the practical. David’s writings for the journal reveal the clarity and pragmatism that have characterized his editorial work at every level. Consider this sampling of EPIDEMIOLOGY titles over the years:

  • “Reconciling theory and practice: What is to be done with P-values?”1
  • “Health effects of electric and magnetic fields: Are we done yet?”2
  • “In defense of black box epidemiology”3
  • “The alternative to epidemiologic theory: Whatever works”4

David’s recent appointment as Vice President for Research at Brown University has led him to step down from his editorial duties. He leaves big shoes to fill. The journal is lucky to engage the services of Andrew Olshan, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. Andy brings valuable strengths in reproductive and cancer epidemiology, plus his own brand of practicality (see his commentary: “Are ‘further studies’ really needed? If so, which ones?”5). The Editors wish David every success in his new duties. And we welcome Andy at a time when the balance of theory and pragmatism is more important than ever.

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1. Savitz DA. Reconciling theory and practice regarding p values. Epidemiology. 2013;24:781–782
2. Savitz DA. Health effects of electric and magnetic fields: are we done yet? Epidemiology. 2003;14:15–17
3. Savitz DA. In defense of black box epidemiology. Epidemiology. 1994;5:550–552
4. Savitz DA. The alternative to epidemiologic theory: whatever works. Epidemiology. 1997;8:210–212
5. Olshan AF. Are “further studies” really needed? If so, which ones? Epidemiology. 2008;19:544–545
© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc