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David L Sackett, widely described as the ‘father of evidence-based medicine (EBM)’1 was a transformative figure in 20th century health research and education. His career spanned three distinct phases: as a clinician, as a clinical trialist and as a clinical epidemiologist, most of it at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he was the founder (in 1967, at the age of 32) of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. That department remained his professional home until 1994 when he moved to the University of Oxford for 5 years to found the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM).
David was an extraordinary mentor to junior physicians and scientists. He exemplified an uncommon personal commitment to life-long learning, including returning to residency at 49 years of age to complete 2 years of training in internal medicine, after which he became Physician-in-Chief at the McMaster University Medical Centre. An unsurpassed teacher and advocate of clear writing, David retired from clinical practice in 1999 to research, write and teach the next generation about randomised clinical trials, alongside his wife Barbara Sackett, an exceptional scholar herself. Sackett left a legacy in myriad areas of health research, including but not limited to the management of long-term conditions, treatment adherence and novel approaches to conducting randomised controlled trials; he also left a lasting legacy of mentorship and inspired many leaders in EBM.
Inaugural David Sackett Fellowship
The EBMLive Conference (https://ebmlive.org/) is a global initiative …
Contributors PJG and GCR developed the idea for the editorial. BO'N and PJG developed the first draft. All authors read and edited all versions of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests PJG has received grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the PSI Foundation and The Hospital for Sick Children. He received non-financial support from the EBMLive Steering Committee (expenses reimbursed to attend conferences) and the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (as a member of the institute advisory board, expenses reimbursed to attend meetings). PJG is a member of the CMAJ Open and BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Editorial Board. BO'N has no interest to declare. GCR was financially supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), the Naji Foundation, and the Rotary Foundation to study for a Doctor of Philosophy (2017–2020) but no longer has any financial conflicts of interest. GCR is an associate editor of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.