Kenneth J. Rothman, professor of epidemiology, received an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from Aarhus University in Denmark during the school’s 89th anniversary celebration on September 15.
He received the honor in recognition of his role in the development of modern theoretical epidemiology. His key contributions to the field include developing a simple but general model of the joint action of causes within causal mechanisms, and laying the groundwork for the theoretical and mathematical basis for biological interaction. He is the principal author of the most commonly used and cited epidemiological textbook worldwide, Modern Epidemiology, as well as a popular introductory textbook, Epidemiology: An Introduction, and is the founding editor of the journal Epidemiology.
Rothman has collaborated with Aarhus University since the 1980s, teaching, holding seminars, and conducting research. He has held an honorary professorship in the Aarhus University Hospital Department of Clinical Medicine since 2012, and has worked on several US National lnstitutes of Health (NIH) grants carried out in collaboration with Aarhus University and led by Elizabeth Hatch, professor of epidemiology. Rothman is also a co-investigator on Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), led by Lauren Wise, professor of epidemiology. PRESTO is modeled after past studies done jointly with Aarhus University, and continues to be a collaboration between the two schools. Overall, he has co-authored more than 75 articles with Aarhus University researchers
“Our collaborations with Aarhus University have been highly productive, and have benefited the broad public health community,” Rothman says. Denmark’s thorough recording-keeping has provided major epidemiological opportunities for him and his colleagues over the years, he says. “That was good fortune enough—the honorary degree was completely unanticipated, and humbling.”