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Section Newsletter
Fall 2007

Highlights of the 2006 Annual Meeting in Boston

The 134th APHA Annual Meeting of was held in Boston from Nov. 4-8, 2006.  It was the 99th year of the Statistics Section!  We had a very successful program thanks to the hard work of our session organizers, reviewers, and Section leaders. APHA’s theme for 2006 was “Public Health and Human Rights.”  Several thanks go to a number of people who helped make the 2006 Annual Meeting stimulating and fun, including: David Williamson, Larry Moulton, Marcia Testa, Martin Weinrich, Dedun Ingram, Bill Pan, Brenda Gillespie, Andy White, Janet Eyster, Jim Leeper, John Hall, and Linda Marc.  I likely forgot to mention several others who contributed to making the 2006 Annual Meeting a success. My apologies.  The highlights of the meeting are below.


The Statistics Section annually recognizes and honors three section members employed in academia, government and industry, respectively, for their outstanding contributions to statistics and public health.  In addition, the Section honors a young statistician with the Spiegelman Award.  The 2006 awardees are ....

2006 Spiegelman Awardee -- Francesca Dominici 

The Spiegelman Award was established to honor Mortimer Spiegelman for his exceptional achievements to statistics in the areas of demography and public health.  The Award, which is given to a statistician aged 40 or younger who has made outstanding contributions to public health statistics, was bestowed upon Dr. Francesca Dominici of the Department of Biostatistics at The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Dr. Dominici received her PhD in Statistics from the University of Padua, Italy and joined the Hopkins faculty in 1997.  She is an international leader in environmental statistics and epidemiology, with publications in several topics including air quality effects on mortality, Bayesian methods applied to toxicology, quantile estimation to approximate medical expenditures, health services outcome research, and causal inference.

Academic Awardee – Curt Meinert 
Dr. Meinert is world renown for his expertise in the methodology and conduct of clinical trials.  He is the Director and founder of The Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Trials, founder and editor of the journal Controlled Clinical Trials, Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Fellow of the American Heart Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Government Awardee – Linda Bilheimer
Dr. Bilheimer is the Director of the Office of Analysis and Epidemiology at the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC.  She was recognized for her lifelong dedication to apply research results to improve health care and health insurance in several areas of public service, including her work at the Congressional Budget Office, Mathematica Policy Research, and the Arkansas Department of Health.

Industry Awardee – William Gould
 Dr. Gould is the founder and president of STATACorp and a pioneer in the development of powerful, reliable, and affordable statistical software for the statistics and public health community.  Through the development of STATA, Dr. Gould has nurtured the growth of a true community of users dedicated to helping each other keep the software abrest on cutting edge statistical, biostatistical, and econometric methodology.


The Lowell Reed Lecture honors Lowell Reed, chair of the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health from 1926-1948, Dean of the School of Public Health from 1937-1946, and President of the University from 1953-1956.  He started the tradition of Biostatistics faculty collaborating not only in the School of Public Health, but with biomedical scientists in the School of Medicine.  He developed a technique to estimate ED-50 and is well-known for his work on the Reed-Frost epidemic models. 

The 2006 Lowell Reed Lecturer was DWilliamson & Coltonr. Ted Colton, Professor and Chair (Emeritus) of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Boston University School of Public Health as well as vice president for epidemiology and biostatistics at Battelle CRO, Inc.  Dr. Colton is an intellectual leader for statistical common sense and is involved in a number of statistical editorial publications, including the editorial board for the Annals of Epidemiology, co-editor for the Encyclopedia of Biostatistics (2nd Edition), co-editor for the Wiley Series in Biostatistics, and founding co-editor of Statistics in Medicine. The title of Dr. Colton’s lecture was Ten Commandments for a Successful Career in Statistics


One of the highlights of the Annual Meeting is the invited Methods Session, organized by the previous year's Spiegelman Award winner, who, in 2005, was Dr. Rebecca Betensky.  Dr. Betensky organized an exciting session focusing on methods for screening cancer onset and recurrence.  Invited speakers were Drs. Jeremy Taylor, Steven Skates, and David Freedman.

100th Anniversary Celebration!

Cressie L. Wilbur,


Anniversary Logo

In 1872, APHA was founded with vital statistics as the foundation since there was a clear need to improve disease classification, surveillance and vital events registration. In 1906, citing the need to develop a closer working relationship among registration officials, to promote more effective systems of vital statistics, to aid the adoption of uniform registration systems and to publish statistical data, Cressy Wilbur lobbied for the formal creation of a Vital Statistics Section at the APHA Annual Meeting in Mexico City.  Dr. Wilbur achieved final approval and formation of the Section during the 1907 Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, and the first official year of the APHA Statistics Section was completed in 1908. 


The 136th APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego (Oct. 25-29, 2008) will mark the 100th Anniversary of the Statistics Section.  The Statistics Section has formed a 100th Anniversary Celebration Committee led by Marcia Testa ( and Larry Moulton ( to plan celebration activities and gala events.  If you are interested in getting involved or would like information, please contact Marcia or Larry.

Statistics Section Members Survey

For the first time in over a decade, the Statistics Section will administer a survey to its members.  It is crucial that we maximize response rates in order for our section to better understand how the Statistics Section can improve in order to respond to the needs of our members.  I encourage you to fill out this survey.  E-mail notification of surveys will begin in October 2007.

134th APHA Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., Nov. 3-7, 2007

For the second time in four years, the APHA Annual Meeting will be held in our nation’s capital.  The theme for this year’s meeting is “Politics, Policy and Public Health” to emphasize the role politicians and policies have in transitioning research into action.  We have an exciting list of sessions planned by Martin Weinrich, a student session organized by Larry Moulton, invited sessions (see below) and our annual methods session, which was organized this year by Francesca Dominici.  All sessions sponsored by the Statistics Section are listed in the table at the end of this article (locations are TBA).   Additional information pertaining to speakers, paper titles, and abstracts are available online at the APHA Annual Meeting Web site:


Invited Sessions

This year we are happy to sponsor two invited sessions on Monday, Nov. 5.  The first, Person-Centered Approaches for Longitudinal Data Analysis, organized by Jichuan Wang, will demonstrate different approaches to modeling growth trajectories or health-related outcomes.  The second, The NHIS: 50 Years of Progress, organized by Michael Davern, will highlight the 50th Anniversary of the National Health Interview Survey and give attendees a better sense of the broad range of uses of the NHIS data. 


Lowell Reed Lecture

The Statistics Section is excited to announce that Dr. Scott Zeger, the Frank Hurley–Catharine Dorrier Professor and chair of the Department of Biostatistics at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, will present the Lowell Reed Lecture.  The title of Dr. Zeger's lecture is: “Biostatistics: Reflections on what Lowell Reed might have thought about where it is and where it is headed.


Sessions Sponsored by the Statistics Section

Session Number



Monday, Nov.  5, 2007


Applied Topics in Health Survey Methodology

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.


Invited Session: Person-Centered Approaches for Longitudinal Data Analysis in Public Health Studies

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


Innovation in Biostatistical Methods and Applications

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.


Applications of Statistical Methods to GIS-Based Analyses of Public Health Problems

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.


Novel Applications of Health Survey Methodology

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.


Invited Session: The National Health Interview Survey: 50 Years of Progress

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov.  6, 2007


Student Paper Session Featuring Johns Hopkins University

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.


Statistics Poster Session

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.


Lowell Reed Lecture; Spiegelman and Statistics Section Awards

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.


Special Annual Statistical Methodology Session: Accounting for Confounding in Observational Studies

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov.  7, 2007


Statistics, Measurement, Health Outcomes, and Public Policy

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.


Uses of Path Analysis, Factor Analysis , and Item Response Theory in Public Health Research

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.


Modeling Techniques for Health Outcomes Research

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.