Sally C. Morton, dean of the Virginia Tech College of Science and a professor of statistics, is being honored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham with its 16th Annual Janet L. Norwood Award.

Given by the university’s Department of Biostatistics, the award recognizes outstanding career achievement by a woman in the statistical sciences. Morton will be honored at a dinner Sept. 6 in Birmingham, meet with students and young faculty at UAB, and receive a $5,000 honorarium.

When the award was established in 2002, UAB said each recipient was to be an internationally recognized statistician. In giving the award, UAB’s Department of Biostatistics said it wishes to “recognize the contribution of all women to the statistical sciences.”

It added, “Women have been traditionally underrepresented in many fields of science, with the degree of underrepresentation greater for the quantitative sciences. This denies the field the benefit of the great contributions women are obviously capable of making to the statistical sciences. Establishing this award will help promote the active involvement of women in the statistical sciences at all levels from high school through senior faculty and scientists.”

Norwood was the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is past-president of the American Statistical Association. She served as presidential appointment to the chair of the Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation from 1993-96, under then President Bill Clinton. From 1979 through 1991, she was the U.S. Commissioner of Labor Statistics, responsible for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its work in compilation, publication, and interpretation of statistics on employment and unemployment, prices, compensation, industrial relations, productivity, and economic growth. Norwood received a Distinguished rank in the Senior Executive Service from President Ronald Reagan.

Morton joined Virginia Tech in July 2016. She previously served as chair of the Department of Biostatistics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she directed the Comparative Effectiveness Research Center in the Health Policy Institute and held appointments in the university’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Department of Statistics, and the Clinical and Translation Science Institute. Before entering academia, Morton served as vice president for statistics and epidemiology at RTI International and was head of the RAND Corporation Statistics Group.

Morton also served as president of the American Statistical Association in 2009, and was the 2013 chair of Section U (Statistics) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a Fellow of both organizations. She also is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology. In 2015, she was honored with the ASA’s Founder’s Award and was the Lowell Reed Invited Lecturer for the American Public Health Association’s Applied Public Health Statistics Section. 

Among her books is the recently published “Methods in Comparative Effectiveness Research,” which Morton co-edited with fellow biostatistician Constantine Gatsonis of Brown University.

Morton holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, a master’s degree in operations research, and a doctoral degree in statistics, all from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in statistics from the London School of Economics. 

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