Yan Ma

  • Professor & Chair, Biostatistics

Yan Ma received his PhD in statistics from the University of Rochester. Prior to joining Pitt Biostatistics in 2022, he was professor and vice chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health (2014-2022), and assistant professor at Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College (2008-2014). 

As a statistician, Ma has provided a wide range of traditional and cutting-edge statistical consulting services to biomedical and public health investigators and established very productive collaborations with them. His theoretical and computational statistical research interests include missing data imputation, machine learning, meta-analysis, methods for assessing interrater reliability, causal inference, complex sample surveys, and longitudinal methods. Through his collaborative research, Ma has become a statistician specializing in team science, translational science, and comparative effectiveness research. His areas of applications include orthopedics, anesthesiology, health disparities, cancer, HIV/AIDS, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.

Ma has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications. These publications include statistical methods papers and biomedical and health services research papers in journals such as Biometrics, Statistics in Medicine, Psychometrika, Health Services Research, JAMA, Anesthesiology, Anesthesia & Analgesia, Circulation Research, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. He has received R01 grants from AHRQ and NIH for the development of statistical methods for handling missing data in health disparities research.

Ma has been an associate editor for two journals published by the American Statistical Association (ASA), The American Statistician, and Statistical Analysis and Data Mining. He was an Editorial Board Member of The American Journal of Public Health. He has served on multiple review panels for the National Institute of Health (NIH), Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), as well as for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He has been a member of ASA’s Mentoring Award Committee. He was a member of Eastern North American Region (ENAR)’s Regional Advisory Board. In 2010, he was a recipient of Statistics in Epidemiology Young Investigator Award by ASA. In 2012, Ma and his collaborators won the esteemed Team Science Award from the Association for Clinical Research Training, American Federation for Medical Research, Association for Patient Oriented Research, and Society for Clinical and Translational Science. This award recognizes the team's success in translation of research discoveries into clinical practice. In 2017, he was selected to receive research fellowship from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Program at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He was the winner of the Achievement in Academia Award for outstanding contributions to statistics and public health from the Applied Public Health Statistics Section of American Public Health Association.


2008 | PhD (Statistics), University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

2004 | MA (Statistics), University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

2003 | MS (Mathematics), Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

2001 | BS (Statistics), Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Selected Publications

Ma Y, Tang W, Feng C, Tu XM. Inference for kappas for longitudinal study data: applications to sexual health research. Biometrics. 2008; 64: 781-789.

Memtsoudis SG, Ma Y, González Della Valle A, Mazumdar M, Gaber-Baylis LK, MacKenzie CR, Sculco TP. Perioperative outcomes after unilateral and bilateral total knee arthroplasty. Anesthesiology. 2009; 111:1206-1216.(accompanied by an editorial entitled “Perioperative Comparative Effectiveness Research”, Anesthesiology, 111: 1180-1182)

Ma Y, Passias P, Gaber-Baylis LK, Girardi FP, Memtsoudis SG. Comparative in-hospital morbidity and mortality after revision versus primary thoracic and lumbar spine fusion. The Spine Journal. 2010; 10: 881-889.

Ma Y, Mazumdar M. Multivariate meta-analysis: a robust approach based on the theory of U-statistic. Statistics in Medicine. 2011;30: 2911-29.

Ma Y, Roy J, Marcus B. Causal models for randomized trials with two active treatments and continuous compliance. Statistics in Medicine. 2011; 30:2349-2362.

Potter H, Jain SK, Ma Y, Black BR, Fung S, Lyman S. Cartilage injury following acute, isolated anterior cruciate ligament tear: immediate and longitudinal effect with clinical/MRI follow up. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2012; 40: 276-85.

Ma Y, Mazumdar M, Memtsoudis SG. Beyond Repeated measures ANOVA: advanced statistical methods for the analysis of longitudinal data in anesthesia research. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. 2012;37: 99-105.

Detry MA, Ma Y. Analyzing repeated measurements using mixed models. JAMA 2016; 315(4): 407-408.

Zhang W, Lyman S, Parks M, Boutin-Foster C, Pan T, Lan A, Ma Y*. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Utilization Rate, Hospital Volume and Perioperative Outcomes following Total Knee Arthroplasty. J Bone & Joint Surg. 2016; 98: 1243-1252 (*mentor and corresponding author)

Ma Y, Zhang W, Lyman S, Huang Y. The HCUP SID imputation project: Improving statistical inferences for health disparities research by imputing missing race data. Health Services Research. 2018; 53(3):1870-1889.

Lee P, Saux ML, Siegel R, Goyal M, Chen C, Ma Y, Meltzer A. Racial and ethnic disparities in the management of acute pain in US emergency departments: Meta-analysis and systematic review. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2019;37(9):1770-1777.

Huang YX, Fields KG, Ma Y*. A tutorial on generative adversarial networks with application to classification of imbalanced data. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining: The ASA Data Science Journal 2022; 15(5):543-552 (*Corresponding author).