University of Minnesota

“It Isn’t Always Fun.” – Paul McGovern

McGovern Symposium

St. Paul, MN, October 28, 1999

Paul McGovern brings to prevention science and to public health a rare and powerful combination of intellectual curiosity and skilled analysis. Coming from a sound preparation in psychology and statistics at Trinity College, Dublin and at Iowa State University, Paul began his career studying behavioral strategies in smoking cessation. He has since been centrally involved in the conception, design, and analysis of research in health promotion to influence patterns of eating, activity, and smoking, and in the elaboration of trends in risk, disease rates, and health behaviors of entire populations.

As a researcher, Paul is equally comfortable and productive in the role of director, collaborator, or supporter. He is widely recognized and consulted for his research on smoking and has become an international authority on disease trends and their components of fatality, incidence, severity, therapy, and prevention. He has made fundamental contributions to the design and analysis of survival, to components of variation and design effect, to regression toward the mean, to laboratory variability and drift, to diagnostic validation, and to self-report measures.

As a teacher, Paul McGovern is unique in his breadth of interest in and in his understanding of the content and mechanics of complex public health issues, along with unusual skill and patience in explaining them to students and colleagues. He is an award-winning teacher in the graduate program of the School of Public Health at Minnesota and is much sought after as an adviser.

On top of Paul’s professional competence and great productivity, he is for us, foremost, a sunny, enthusiastic, and generous colleague and friend.

Finally, the courage and grace with which Paul has faced his illness, with the help of his wife, Lourdes, and their two daughters, Fiona and Tara, have inspired us all to reconsider the meaning and conduct of our own lives.

Paul died on October 11, 2002. His funeral was a loving celebration of a beautiful life.

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