Slone Epidemiology Center Leadership Changes

in Announcements, Featured
July 7th, 2016

After 18 years as Director of the Slone Epidemiology Center, Allen A. Mitchell, MD, professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics, has decided to step down, effective Sept. 1. Mitchell was a founding member of the Drug Epidemiology Unit (now known as the Slone Epidemiology Center) led by Drs. Dennis Slone and Samuel Shapiro that came to BU in 1975. He became the director in 1998, when Slone was elevated to a Medical Campus Center. An internationally recognized leader in the epidemiologic study of drug safety in pediatric and pregnant populations, Mitchell founded and led the Birth Defects Study for 39 years. . He also developed risk management assessments for Accutane/isotretinoin and thalidomide in pregnancy and a large-simple trial of ibuprofen safety involving 84,000 children recruited through a pediatric office practice-based research network. In addition to bringing major studies to Slone, Mitchell promoted rigorous science to serve the public health and provided a supportive environment with the sense of comity, friendship, and family that characterize Slone. He will continue his research activities at Slone as Director Emeritus.

David W. Kaufman, ScD, professor of Epidemiology, has been appointed the next Slone Director. Kaufman came to BU in 1975 as a research associate at Slone and was ultimately promoted to professor of Epidemiology at SPH and Associate Director of Slone in 1998.  His early career focused on studies of drugs in cancer and heart disease and other conditions. In the 1980s Kaufman was co-investigator of the International Agranulocytosis and Aplastic Anemia Study, which enrolled several hundred cases in seven countries with these rare but often drug-induced blood dyscrasias.

Subsequently he directed the largest epidemiological investigation to date of aplastic anemia (with more than 500 cases enrolled in Thailand), as well as studies of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis in four European countries, and of anaphylaxis in Spain, Hungary, India and Sweden. He has also published studies of analgesics and upper gastrointestinal bleeding and of end-stage renal disease in three regions of the U.S.

More recently, Kaufman and  Mitchell led the Slone Survey, a US population-based survey of medication use. Kaufman also studied Oxalobacter formigenes (an oxalate-metabolizing bacterium found in about 40 percent of the normal population) and calcium oxalate kidney stones, and developed a nationwide registry that followed patients with myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes through the course of their illness. Currently, he is co-PI for a large-scale, behavioral surveillance program of acetaminophen users, focusing on patterns and correlates of overdose.

Kaufman earned his MS and ScD in epidemiology from Harvard TC Chan School of Public Health.  He has served on the Medical Campus IRB since 2000, and as Chair of the Orange Panel since 2011.