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Andrew C. Leon

14 April 2012 No Comment

Andrew C. Leon

Andrew C. Leon, 60, a professor of biostatistics in psychiatry at Weill Medical College of the Cornell University (WCMC), died suddenly on February 18th, 2012. Leon has made tremendous contribution in the development of psychopharmacology and was at the pinnacle of his career. Born in Cleveland as one of four children, he grew up in Shaker Heights and was educated in Ohio State and Florida A&M University where he got his Masters degree in young child education. Andy as he is better to known among his friends and colleagues started his carrier not as a biostatistician rather as a teacher and went to get his PhD in Educational Psychology from City University of New York in 1987. Then, he went to Columbia University Division of Biostatistics for a post-doctoral research fellowship and that changed his career. He earned a MS in biostatistics from Columbia University and joined WCMC Psychiatry in 1987 as a Statistical Consultant. He went through all the ladders of academic appointment at WCMC and became a full professor in 2003. He was also the director of Research Methods Core of Weill Cornell Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research.

Leon’s contribution to Psychiatry is immense. As a leading biostatistician in psychiatry, he was renowned internationally for his expertise in methods for testing, clinical trial design and treatment evaluation. Psychiatry benefited greatly from his clarity and plain speech in a too often impenetrable area which is now and will remain an important topic in psychiatry and medicine. He provided invaluable guidance to the FDA Psychopharmacology Advisory Committee in controversial areas such as suicidal behavior and antidepressants. An internationally acclaimed expert, he was a visiting professor in Japan and Singapore as well as the United Kingdom and Europe. He published over 200 peer reviewed articles and edited one book. He received numerous awards and recipients of several NIMH grants.

In addition to admiration for his professional accomplishments he was universally liked for his sense of humor, kindness and simplicity. He is survived by his wife, Yuki Okuma and a nineteen year old daughter, Angelica. A memorial service for his friends and colleagues took place on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, at WCMC. While his contributions are here to stay, the fields of biostatistics and psychiatry suffered a crippling loss due to his untimely death.

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