The New England Journal of Medicine Announces Judges for the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge

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SPRINT Challenge judges are comprised of leading trialists, data analysts, patient advocates, and leaders from the health care industry.

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All constituencies — trialists, data analysts, and patients — must be brought into the discussion about clinical trial data sharing. The diverse group of judges assembled as part of the SPRINT Challenge will help take an important step toward that goal.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) named 11 experts and leaders in clinical research, data analysis, statistics, and patient advocacy as judges for the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge, a competition that aims to demonstrate the potential of sharing clinical trial data.

The SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge invites individuals and groups to analyze the dataset underlying the SPRINT article, “A Randomized Trial of Intensive versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control,” and identify a novel scientific or clinical finding that advances medical science. The judges will review entries based on originality and novelty of the findings discovered, the utility of those findings to clinical medicine, and the quality and clarity of the methods used.

“Clinical trial data is the highest quality data in medicine. While there is much to be learned by making the most of it, we also have a moral obligation to patients who participate in these trials to ensure their data is used not only widely, but responsibly,” said Jeffrey Drazen, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and Challenge Co-Chair. “In order to do this correctly we must bring all constituencies — trialists, data analysts, and patients — into this discussion. We believe the diverse group of judges that we have assembled as part of the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge will help take an important step toward that goal.”

The judges are:

  • Russ Altman, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University. Dr. Altman is a Professor of Bioengineering, Genetics, and Medicine; Director, Biomedical Informatics Training Program and a Data Analyst at Stanford.
  • PJ Devereaux, M.D., Ph.D., McMaster University, Canada. Dr. Devereaux is a cardiology trialist, and a member of the Department of Medicine and Professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University.
  • Michael Eisen, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Eisen is a professor of genetics, genomics and development in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley.
  • Kathryn Maitland, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., Imperial College, London. Currently based in Kenya, Dr. Maitland is an infectious disease trialist. Additionally, she is a Professor of Pediatric Tropical Infectious Diseases and the Director of the ICCARE at the Institute of Global Health Innovation.
  • Nicholas M. Pajewski, Ph.D., Wake Forest University. Dr. Pajewski is a biostatistician. He is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistical Sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine and a Co-Investigator for the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT).
  • Michael Rosenblatt, M.D., Flagship Ventures. Dr. Rosenblatt is the Chief Medical Officer at Flagship Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm, where he leads global clinical development and medical affairs. He is also a former Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Merck.
  • Sharon F. Terry, M.A., Genetic Alliance. Ms. Terry is President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, a large network engaging individuals, families and communities to transform health.
  • Greet Van den Berghe, M.D., Ph.D., Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Dr. Van den Berghe is a critical care trialist at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium and the Head of the Department of Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg.
  • Sally E. Wenzel, M.D., University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute. Dr. Wenzel is a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute. She is also a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.
  • Mary Woolley, Research!America. Ms. Woolley is a patient advocate and the President and CEO of Research!America, the nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public health research. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
  • Lielei Zeng, Ph.D., University of Waterloo in Canada. Professor Zeng is a Statistician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo, as well as the Graham Trust Chair in Health Statistics.

For judges’ full bios, visit Additional judges will be announced as they are confirmed.

The SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge consists of two rounds: a Qualifying Round and a Challenge Round; the Challenge Round opens today. Participants must complete the Qualifying Round to become eligible to enter the Challenge Round. The Qualifying Round is open from November 15 – January 20 and requires participants to correctly answer one of two questions based on the SPRINT dataset.

The Challenge Round is open from December 1 – February 14. Challenge Round submissions will be evaluated by the judges’ panel and will also be open to evaluation by the public for crowd voting.

For those who have registered to receive it, SPRINT trial data is now available for download from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Since registration for the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge opened on September 15, more than 1,450 individuals from around the world have registered for news and updates. The SPRINT Challenge is open to health care professionals, researchers, and scientists from around the world. Participants with the best entries have the opportunity to compete for a prize and to present their findings at the Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit and web event on April 3-4, 2017, in Boston, MA.

More information and the official rules are available at

About the New England Journal of Medicine
The New England Journal of Medicine ( is the world’s leading medical journal and website. Continuously published for over 200 years, NEJM publishes peer-reviewed research and interactive clinical content for physicians, educators and the global medical community. NEJM is a publication of NEJM Group, a division of the Massachusetts Medical Society. For more information, please visit

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