Professor Jim Todd
My life has encompassed many false starts, and wrong turns, and all are incorporated in my current work, and life. I dropped out of school, and it will remain my greatest achievement. I became a teacher, and that is in my blood. I have spent 20 years living in Africa, and almost as long working for LSHTM, and both provide some inspiration for my work and life. Applied statistics provides the thread which enables me to pull these diverse components together. I have no responsibilities, only privileges. I recognise those privileges and use them to help others achieve their potential.
I studied Medical Statistics and have endeavoured to apply that knowledge in my work, and in my teaching. An understanding of data, and how to present results, is important in so many different areas. An understanding of people and how they work together, is probably more important, and a more reliable way to achieve results.
In my previous existence at the School, I taught and organised several face-to-face courses. I have organised many short courses (some in the School, and some for collaborative institutions). I have been the module organiser for EP202, within the distance learning MSc in Epidemiology, but since 2016, I have taken on the organisation of the DEM101 demography modules for distance learning. I have supervised six PhD students to completion in the School, and currently supervising three more in the School. I have co-supervised many more PhD students, both in the School and elsewhere. In addition, I have advised many MSc students in both formal and informal ways. As a mentor I am always willing to give advice, some of which may actually be useful.
I teach on the Masters in Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics in Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College in Tanzania, which I helped develop in 2010. Under the auspices of SSACAB (see https://ssacab.lshtm.ac.uk) I am currently working with several other institutions, to develop similar masters programs in Applied Biostatistics. In addition I have helped develop short courses in Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Research methodology in various centres across East Africa. I am thankful to the THRiVE consortium, and the SSACAB consortium (both DELTAS funded by Wellcome Trust through AESA) for the support and help in organising and developing these courses.
I am fortunate to have ccollaborated with colleagues from many institutions in East Africa over the last 25 years. As one of the original co-investigators in the ALPHA network (from 2005) I am proud of the collaborative analysis workshops that have been developed, which have given many researchers the ability to go onto further studies and research. These Alpha workshops are intensely practical and have influenced the way I think about the teaching of statistics. Following the death of Basia Zaba in 2018, we are determined to maintain the Alpha network to enable better understanding of the population impacts of HIV in Africa.
My research has focussed on several projects that aimsed to analyse routinely collected health data. The SEARCH project (http://searchproject.lshtm.ac.uk/), is training eight fellows in Tanzania, and Zambia in the analysis of routinely collected HIV data. The project links the analysis, results and data to real questions raised by policy makers. I am leading a project funded by the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, which is delivering ART in health centres, and monitoring the impact on health outcomes.
I am a co-investigator on the Alpha network, which is funded by Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation (http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/eph/dph/research/alpha/). The network recognises the power of sharing data across sites in order to answer some important questions about HIV infection, and treatment of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
The majority of my research involves the Sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics (SSACAB). This builds on Masters programs in Biostatistics in 11 African universities, with co-supervision of PhD students and the development of research themes for advanced statistical concepts.
I have a new grant for the INSPIRE network, which will develop a network for supporting HDSS in East Africa. In the network, initially we will harmonise HIV data, with a view to using the same methods to harmonise data on other diseases, and conditions. The critical expectation is to get a larger grant to extend the network activities.
I am a member of the editorial board of Parasite Immunology, and Tropical Medicine and International Health and a guest editor for Frontiers in Public Health.