Alumni Profile: Professor John Osborn PhD

Professor John Osborn PhD

  • Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 1965-1991 
  • Professor of Hygiene and Epidemiological Methods at Sapienza Università di Roma 1991-2013

Professor John Osborn has retired after 48 years as a lecturer, firstly at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and after that at Sapienza Università di Roma.

Professor John Osborn

Professor John Osborn

His first position at the School was Assistant Lecturer in 1965 (aged 22). He was then promoted to Lecturer in 1968, and Senior Lecturer in 1979.  Working closely with Prof. William Brass, Prof. Peter Armitage and Prof. Donald Reid, he restructured the teaching of Medical Statistics at the School, creating modular course units.  These modular courses were also offered in single week courses in the form of a ‘Summer School’, which became very popular with professional health workers, from the UK and overseas, who were in need of a short intensive introduction to medical statistics, rather than the full one-year courses offered at that time. Between the years of 1979 and 1993 he participated in the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer program of short courses on Cancer Epidemiology which were held across Europe and Asia.

“I was very lucky to be appointed at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine when I was very young, and to develop my career guided by the giants of Public Health at that time, Sir Austin Bradford Hill, William Brass, Peter Armitage, Donald Reid, Jerry Morris and later Geoffrey Rose and Michael Healy. I worked at the London School as a University teacher, but the truth is that, in the academic environment, I learned very much more than I taught!”

The Master Courses and the Statistics Short Courses became more widely known throughout the world, and in 1991 the Italian Minister of Education invited John to take the chair of “Hygiene and Epidemiologic Methods” at the Sapienza University of Rome. During his time in Rome, he expanded his repertoire to include medical and nursing undergraduate teaching, as well as the postgraduate masters and specialisation courses. He has published over 200 scientific articles on a wide range of medical specialties including statistics, epidemiology, dentistry, maternal and child health and gastroenterology.

Three months into retirement, Prof. Osborn continues to teach medical undergraduates at Sapienza University and dedicates his spare time to keeping fit and learning to play the piano.

Comments are closed.