The Bradford Hill medal was established in memory of Sir Austin Bradford Hill FRS, former president of the Society, and is awarded every three years to a fellow of the Society for outstanding or influential contributions to the development, application or exposition of medical statistics.
Nominees must have contributed in at least two of these areas. There is no requirement that nominees shall have published their contributions in the journals of the Society.
While methodological contributions are not the sole criterion for the award of the medal, they are not excluded from consideration. Unlike the Guy Medal in silver, there is no requirement that nominees shall have published their contributions in the journals of the Society. In recent years there have been those whose contributions are of very similar character to that of Guy Medallists in silver, but for whom it has proved difficult to make a case for the award of that medal because they have published almost exclusively in journals such as Biometrika, Biometrics and Statistics in Medicine.
Many medical statisticians work as part of an inter-disciplinary team, most often on epidemiological investigations and clinical trials, but also in many other areas, often defined by the medical, rather than the statistical speciality. Increasingly such work leads to publications in medical journals with the statistician as senior author. Many of these papers have profound public-health implications (for example, cancer and nuclear installations, oral contraceptive use and breast cancer, cardiovascular risk factors, AIDS, organ transplantation). Consequently these include some of the applications where Fellows of the Society have their greatest influence on society, and the medal allows distinguished Fellows working in this way to be acknowledged by their peers.
It is inevitable given the number of medical statisticians currently in post that many, and probably most, medical studies are planned, executed and analysed without any direct contact with a professional statistician. Therefore exposition of good statistical practice, together with clear and comprehensible criticism of bad practice, is an important role for the medical statistician. This can be discharged in a number of ways, including expository articles in medical journals and refereeing and editing of the medical, as well as statistical, literature. In a community where originality is often the most admired quality it is all too easy to undervalue exposition. However, not only can a comprehensible and appropriate article be very influential and do much more to ensure good statistical practice than many more technical contributions, it would also be wrong to underestimate the intellectual challenge posed by exposition. Those who can meet this challenge are worthy of recognition.
1. As there is no link with the Society through publication in its journals, the link is created by restricting the award to Fellows.
2. The term 'medical statistics' defines the intended field of application but should be interpreted flexibly.
3. The medal should be awarded to an individual whose experience and expertise is similar to that required of Guy Silver Medallists. As no link with a paper is needed, joint awards are not expected.
4. In the award of the medal, weight will be given particularly to most recent work (i.e. that completed in the last five or ten years).