Statistical Science

A Conversation with Nancy Flournoy

William F. Rosenberger

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Nancy Flournoy was born in Long Beach, California, on May 4, 1947. After graduating from Polytechnic School in Pasadena in 1965, she earned a B.S. (1969) and M.S. (1971) in biostatistics from UCLA. Between her bachelors and masters degrees, she worked as a Statistician I for Regional Medical Programs at UCLA. After receiving her master’s degree, she spend three years at the Southwest Laboratory for Education Research and Development in Seal Beach, California. Flournoy joined the Seattle team pioneering bone marrow transplantation in 1973. She moved with the transplant team into the newly formed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 1975 as Director of Clinical Statistics, where she supervised a group responsible for the design and analysis of about 80 simultaneous clinical trials. To support the Clinical Division, she supervised the development of an interdisciplinary shared data software system. She recruited Leonard B. Hearne to create this database management system in 1975 (and married him in 1978). While at the Cancer Center, she was also at the University of Washington, where she received her doctorate in biomathematics in 1982. She became the first female director of the program in statistics at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1986. She received service awards from the NSF in 1988 and the National Institute of Statistical Science in 2006 for facilitating interdisciplinary research. Flournoy joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at American University in 1988. She moved as department chair to the University of Missouri in 2002, where she became Curators’ Distinguished Professor in 2012.

While at the Cancer Center, Flournoy documented the graft-versus-leukemia effect in humans and discovered a source of frequent lethal viral infections in the bone marrow transplant patients. Later she was influential in developing adaptive experimental designs. Her numerous honors include fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1990), the American Statistical Association (1992), the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992) and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (1993). She has received the COPSS Scott (2000) and David (2007) awards, and the Norwood (2012) award from the University of Alabama.

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Statist. Sci. Volume 30, Number 1 (2015), 133-146.

First available in Project Euclid: 4 March 2015

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Adaptive designs clinical trials data coordinating center random walk rules up-and-down procedures


Rosenberger, William F. A Conversation with Nancy Flournoy. Statist. Sci. 30 (2015), no. 1, 133--146. doi:10.1214/14-STS495.

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