James Robins, Mitchell L. and Robin LaFoley Dong Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard, has received the inaugural Distinguished Lectureship Award from the Center for Causal Inference. Robins accepted the award at the center’s annual Causal Inference Summer Institute, which was hosted by the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

James Robins’ research has focused on the development of analytic methods appropriate for drawing causal inferences from complex observational and randomized studies with time-varying exposures or treatments. The new methods are to a large extent based on the estimation of the parameters of a new class of causal models—the structural nested models—using a new class of estimators—the G estimators. The usual approach to the estimation of the effect of a time-varying treatment or exposure on time to disease is to model the hazard incidence of failure at time t as a function of past treatment history using a time-dependent Cox proportional hazards model.