National Center for Health Statistics
Edward J. Sondik, PhD (Director)
"My academic training was in electrical engineering on the side of control systems, computers, and operations research. During my Ph.D. work at Stanford, there was an opportunity to work with the Stanford Medical School to redesign the Stanford Hospital. I became a part of that project for two years, and it was that experience that got me interested in health problems and issues. That interest was cemented while teaching at Stanford, when I was involved in designing two clinical trials - one on cholesterol lowering and the other on changing people's behavior relating to diet, smoking and blood pressure. The latter initiative was aimed at seeing how the media, coupled with personal interventions, could be used to change personal behavior.
"In 1976, I went to NIH to work on clinical trial design in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. I was there for six years. Following that, at the National Cancer Institute I became more interested in statistics and mathematical modeling. At one point, I was responsible for the SEER program, the pioneer cancer registry system.In 1997, I came to CDC as the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics. My work in public health has been very rewarding. I think my background in mathematics and statistics and the discipline of operations research have been crucial to me. That discipline, especially mathematical modeling, is invaluable."