Jamaican Jemar Bather, who is a native of the parish of Saint Catherine in Jamaica, has completed his Ph.D. in Biostatistics at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is now working at Merck as a senior scientist in biostatistics. In his new role, Dr. Bather will collaborate with physicians to develop new medications for individuals living with infectious diseases.

Jemar Bather was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, New York. He credits his mother, who had migrated to the United States to pursue a better life, with encouraging him in his interest in mathematics.

Despite working full-time and attending community college, his mother found the time to help him with his math homework. She also obtained a scholarship for him to attend a private school in the Bronx, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, to give him the best chance at succeeding in mathematical sciences.

Bather enrolled at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and majored in statistics. He was chosen to serve as a teaching assistant for PSU’s introductory statistics course, was inducted into the Statistical Honour Society, and joined the Statistics Club. After his graduation, he worked as a data analyst in the non-profit sector to improve the academic outcomes for low-income children.

Bather’s interest in statistics began when he was an undergraduate student at Penn State working with Dr. William Harkness. He was made aware of the many opportunities available to someone with a degree in statistics, and he has since applied biostatistical methods to many areas of research. Bather believes he can make a positive impact on the field of biostatistics, particularly in terms of making the profession more diverse. He is supportive of initiatives that are designed to raise the percentage of minorities in the field. He is also interested in contributing to the study of risk factors relating to mental health disparities.

Prior to attending Harvard, Bather earned a master’s in applied statistics at New York University, and a master’s in biostatistics from Harvard. He is experienced in statistical analysis, technical writing, and teaching. He led a collaborative effort to study neurodevelopment in children with perinatal HIV exposure.

After earning his master’s at NYU’s Steinhardt program in applied statistics for social science research, Bather was a research assistant at the College of Global Public Health in the biostatistics department of NYU, building statistical models to address health disparities in obesity, breast cancer, health literacy, and decision making among patients. While at NYU, he served on the planning committee of the Diversity Mentoring Program and StatFest of the American Statistical Association, receiving a President’s Service Award for his leadership skills. He is also the founder of NYU’s chapter of Mu Sigma Rho, the national statistics honour society.