Scholarships provide a living legacy

March 24, 2006
Dr. Harry Guess

Dr. Harry Guess

Harry Guess recognized the importance of studying when and how and why people become ill. The patterns that emerge from this study often provide the fundamental clues needed to improve the health of entire populations. Dr. Guess was renowned worldwide for his contributions to the field of epidemiology, particularly for his work involving use of medicines.

After a courageous battle with lung cancer, Harry Guess died on Jan. 1, 2006. He was a revered and beloved professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the UNC School of Public Health and of pediatrics at the UNC School of Medicine. He was 65.

Two scholarships established at the Carolina School of Public Health in his memory will provide a living legacy to his work. One is the Harry Guess Scholarship in Epidemiology, established by his family and friends. Another, the Harry A. Guess — Merck Scholarship in Pharmacoepidemiology, has been created by Merck Research Laboratories and his friends and colleagues there.

Dr. Guess directed the UNC — GlaxoSmithKline Center of Excellence in Pharmacoepidemiology and Public Health within the UNC School of Public Health. The center was created to prepare graduate students for careers addressing medication safety and effectiveness and to develop methodological tools to advance the field of pharmacoepidemiology. Besides its drug focus, the center also looks at broader epidemiological questions arising in health services research.

“Harry was enormously dedicated to finding ways to help people live healthier lives,” said Carolina School of Public Health Dean Barbara K. Rimer. “His success in academia and research was remarkable, and his research was accomplished while pursuing one of his great passions: teaching and advising graduate students.”

Guess established the department of epidemiology at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) in 1985 and worked there for nearly two decades. For 15 years, he also was an adjunct professor at the School. He retired as vice president of MRL in 2003 to lead the UNC center.

Honor Dr. Harry Guess by supporting a student in the study of epidemiology or pharmacoepidemiology. Please visit and continue the work of this esteemed professor.

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