DeJuran Richardson has successfully fused what he had always been told were the incompatible tasks of full-time teacher and active researcher.
"The career path of a biostatistician who has expertise and interests in the design and analysis of clinical trials is considered to be in sharp contrast to that of a liberal arts college math professor," he explains. Yet he excels in both positions, serving as a tenured faculty member at Lake Forest College and directing research on cancer, stroke prevention among African Americans, and AIDS.
While a PhD candidate at Northwestern, Richardson started his teaching career at Lake Forest. He reveals about the experience: "Within one year of assuming a full-time teaching position, I felt incomplete." He needed to exercise his biostatistician side and missed conducting medical research and running clinical trials. Receiving a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute, he spent the next few years as a research fellow at the University of Wisconsin Biostatistics Center and as a lecturer and senior biostatistician at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Not to be kept away from the world of seminars and undergraduates, however, Richardson soon returned to the Lake Forest faculty.
On the academic side, he is at once professor of mathematics and computer science, associate dean of the faculty, and director of the Learning and Teaching Center at Lake Forest; on the research side, he is an adjunct associate professor of biostatistics at Harvard's School of Public Health and at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, visiting professor in the department of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center, and director of the Data Management Center at Rush-Presbyterian- St. Luke's Medical Center.
A study he designed on the effectiveness of aspirin in preventing strokes among certain African American patients was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and won the attention of the international medical community.
Still, he will not allow the demands of his faculty position to go untended. At his post as director of the Teaching and Learning Center, he has expanded the center's resources to include support specialists for those with learning or physical disabilities and other academic needs. As associate dean of faculty, he also provides much support for his colleagues. Recognizing his efforts, Lake Forest honored him with the Trustee Award for Teaching Excellence and Research in 2000.
Explaining the importance of his Northwestern education, Richardson says: "My time at the University in so many ways broadened my consciousness as well as my knowledge base and jump-started me on a path that leads to where I am now."