Sharon-Lise Normand, PhD


Sharon-Lise T. Normand, PhD, is a professor of health care policy (biostatistics) in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Normand’s research focuses on the development of statistical methods for health services research, primarily using Bayesian approaches to problem solving, including assessment of quality of care, methods for causal inference, provider profiling, meta-analysis, and latent variable modeling. She has developed a long line of research on methods for the analysis of patterns of treatment and quality of care for patients with cardiovascular disease and with mental disorders in particular.

Dr. Normand has developed analytical approaches for comparing providers using outcomes and process-based measures. Since 2002, she has served as the director of Mass-DAC, the data-coordinating center responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting on the quality of care for adults discharged following a cardiac procedure from all hospitals in Massachusetts. Dr. Normand and colleagues annually report on hospital and physician performance using prospectively collected medical-record record data. She is also the senior statistician in a 3,000-patient trial in Massachusetts to compare the effectiveness and safety of performing elective angioplasty at hospitals without surgery on-site with that performed at hospitals with surgery on-site.  Dr. Normand also serves on the Executive Operations Committee for the Dual Antiplatelet Therapy (DAPT) Study which is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested randomized clinical trial involving 16,000 patients powered to determine the appropriate duration of combined use of aspirin and a second anti-clotting medication following implantation of a drug eluting stent.

On the mental health side, Dr. Normand is leading an NIMH-funded study to expand inferences using observational data. Working with investigators from Harvard’s School of Public Health, she is extending and applying methods for making causal inference in both the experimental and observational settings with non-commensurate data (data on different measurement scales) using likelihood and quasi-likelihood approaches. This work is illustrated in understanding policy changes in the delivery of mental health care where multiple outcomes are reported.   

Dr. Normand is involved in two studies to examine the safety and effectiveness of medical devices.  She is involved in a collaborative effort between Harvard Medical School and the Center for Devices and Radiographic Health at the FDA that is evaluating device and clinical outcomes in the real world.  To develop a clearer understanding of the safety and effectiveness of hip replacement devices, the research team is assembling several cohorts to evaluate the relationship of device, patient, surgeon, and regional characteristics on long-term device and clinical outcomes (bearing fracture; device dislocation, absence of revision, Harris Hip Score). The primary purpose of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of hip device monitoring by quantifying the prognostic ability of statistical models that pool multiple data sources to predict long-term adverse outcomes.  In a second study funded by the National Library of Medicine, she is collaborating with investigators from Brigham and Women’s hospital to implement a computerized tool to monitor adverse event rates of new medical devices and quality of hospital care through continuous surveillance of clinical outcome databases.  Devices studied include embolic protection devices, new drug eluting stents, among others.

Dr. Normand earned her BSc and MSc degrees in statistics from the University of Western Ontario and her PhD in biostatistics from the University of Toronto. She is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and an Associate Member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. She will be President of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometrics Society in 2010; serves on task forces for the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons; and is currently a member of two Institute of Medicine Committees:  the Committee on Aerospace Medicine and the Medicine of Extreme Environments; and the Committee on Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports.  


Honors and Awards

2013                        Elected, Society for Research Synthesis Methodology


Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association


Distinguished Service Award, International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research


Long Term Excellence Award, American Statistical Association,  Health Policy Statistics Section


IBM Faculty Award, nominated by IBM Healthcare Transformation Group



Fellow, American Heart Association

Outstanding Publication Award, American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Suaya JA, Stason WB, Ades PA, Normand S-LT, Shepard DS. “Cardiac rehabilitation and survival in older coronary patients. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2009;54:25-33.”


Finalist, 2007 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award “Rethinking evidence for medical therapies.”


Elected Associate, Society of Thoracic Surgeons


Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute of Aging Age Plus Award, Excellence in Research on Aging for British Medical Journal article “Atypical antipsychotic drugs and risk of ischemic stroke: population based retrospective cohort study”, BMJ 2005, 330(7489):445-450.


Excellence in Mental Health Policy and Economics Research Award, Best Paper, Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics


Elected Fellow, American Statistical Association for “influential application of Bayesian methodology to health policy problems, for leadership in the new area of health policy statistics, and for promoting and communicating statistical methods and assessments of the quality of cardiovascular disease and mental illness.”


Elected Fellow, American College of Cardiology


National Science Foundation: Young Researcher Award, Support for the 4th Valencia International Meeting on Bayesian Statistics USA


Life Sciences Graduate Degree Completion Scholarship, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario CANADA


Life Sciences Committee Scholarship in Cancer Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario CANADA


Ontario Graduate Scholarship, University of Toronto, CANADA


Special University Scholarship, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario CANADA


Entrance Scholarship, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario CANADA


University Gold Medal in Mathematical Statistics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario CANADA