Section Newsletter
Fall 2009

Message from Chair Jim Leeper

Greetings to Statistics Section members.  Everything is looking great for our meeting in Philadelphia.  A big thank you to Bill Pan for putting together a wonderful program for our Section.  You can see details elsewhere in this newsletter, but we have a wide selection of topics from disease surveillance/health program monitoring, vital statistics, health insurance issues, cancer epidemiology, racial disparities, mental health to genomics and others; virtually something for everybody, including members from outside the Section.  And do not forget our Student Research Competition session first thing Monday morning.  We have a distinguished set of Section and Spiegelman award winners, thanks to Amy Ferketich and the Spiegelman Award Committee.  These awards will be presented in our Tuesday afternoon session.  Thanks again to Martin Weinrich for the wonderful slate of candidates for all of our open Section leadership positions and thanks to those of you who voted.  As past-chair after the Philadelphia meeting, I will be looking for candidates for the coming year, so if you are interested, please let me know.  This year to stimulate people to visit Section booths, APHA is conducting a “scavenger hunt” where attendees need to gather information from booths to answer questions.  Our booth will be participating.
So everything is lined up for a successful meeting in Philadelphia.  We will have our usual Social Hour and Business Meeting on Tuesday evening, Nov. 10, followed by dinner at a local night spot.  Thanks to Marcia Testa for organizing these “food events.”  So all we need is YOU to make this another memorable event as we head into our second 100 years as a Section!  I am looking forward to seeing everyone there.    

Statistics Section Program Starts on Monday

We start the Statistics Section program at the APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia with a series of scientific sessions on Monday.  For the first time we have two sessions which were planned by both Statistics and Epidemiology. 

Times and locations for the Statistics Section Scientific presentations are now available on the APHA Web site Scheduler.  If you have never used it, check it out. You can set up your personal schedule which will include room numbers and links to the session papers and abstracts.  You can also obtain information about other sessions our Section co-sponsors. It can help you make better selections!! 

Our scientific sessions begin on Monday morning with:

    3064 - Statistical Issues & Challenges with Health Insurance Surveys
     3065 - Statistics Section Student Research Competition
     3163 - Disease Surveillance and Health Program Monitoring Part I: Challenges from Public Health Practitioners to Statisticians and Technology Developers  (Jointly organized by the Statistics and Epidemiology Sections)

Five sessions on Monday afternoon are:

     3260 - Disease Surveillance and Health Program Monitoring Part II: Novel Quantitative Methods (Jointly organized by the Statistics and Epidemiology Sections)
     3362 - What Should the U.S. Vital Statistics System look like in the 21st Century?
     3363 - Innovative Biostatistical Applications and Methods, Part I
     3439 - Demographic Methods & Analysis in Public Health Research
     3440 - Innovative Biostatistical Applications and Methods, Part II

Tuesday - the Big Day

Tuesday is our biggest day.  We celebrate sciencific research; we celebrate our history; then we celebrate at the social hour/meeting and into the evening.  As usual, scientific sessions are presented on Tuesday morning, while the afternoon is devoted to presenting Section and Spiegelman awards, the Lowell Reed Lecture and Special Annual Statistics Methods session.  The early evening brings good fellowship at the Social Hour and a short (usually very short) business meeting.  Come and enjoy meeting old friends and making new ones!

The Tuesday morning sessions are:

    4069 - A History of U.S. Statistical Citizens: From the Politics of Average to the Politics of Difference
     4070 - Who gets Health Insurance? A statistical perspective
     4133 - Advances in Cancer Epidemiology & Risk Assessment
     4134 - Practical Topics in Statistics
     4163 - Statistical Monitoring of Water Quality Data for Population Health Surveillance
     4164 - Statistics Section Poster Session

Tuesday afternoon:

     4323 - Lowell Reed Lecture (Ron Brookmeyer);  Spiegelman and Statistics Section Awards
     4395 - Special Annual Statistical Methodology Session: Challenges in Genomics Research
      444  - Statistics Section Social Hour & Business Meeting

After the Social Hour and meeting the group goes out to dinner at a local night spot.  It always caps off a delightful day!

Wednesday Wraps It Up

The scientific presentations concludes with three session on Wednesday:

     5085 - Techniques to Analyze Racial Disparities
     5136 - Survey Research: Methods, Analysis & Study Design
     5192 - Statistical Techniques in Mental Health Research

The listing of the individual paper in all sessions can also be viewed online at

See you in Philadelphia.

Feels Good to be 100


At the General Session of the 2008 APHA Annual Meeting, the Statistics Section was presented with a plaque commemorating the Section’s 100th Year Anniversary. 


To insure that the plaque will be around for another 100 years, the Section Counsel requested that it be hung in APHA headquarters.  The plaque hangs on the first floor of the APHA building at 800 I Street, NW Washington, DC 20001.  It is in Conference Room C on the ground floor of the building (NE corner).  This room is often used as auxiliary space for Executive Board and other regular meetings held at APHA headquarters, and thus on display to a large number and variety of APHA members, volunteers and staff.    The plaque celebrating the 100th Year Anniversary of the Health Administration Section is also hung in the same area.

Official Hanging of Plaque

Andy White, Deborah Ingram and Bill Pan were at the official hanging of the plaque. 

Next time you are at APHA headquarters on business or to visit, request to see the plaque.

Call for Invited Sessions for 2010 Meeting

Karl E. Peace, chair-elect and 2010 Statistics program chair, is responsible for setting up the Statistics Section scientific sessions for the 2010 APHA Annual Meeting in Denver.  He requests that you send him topics and possible speakers that you would like to have considered for the Statistics Section contribution to the 2010 APHA annual meeting program.  Also, please identify possible moderators for each topic. 

This is an excellent time to suggest a topic and speakers for an invited session.  Remember, you may be one of the speakers and/or the moderator.  You can e-mail him or speak to him at the Philadelphia meeting.  However, you may need to hurry.  There are limited slots for next year's invited sessions, and they are frequently filled before the Annual Meeting ends.  His e-mail addresses are: or .

This is also a good time to consider submitting a paper for one of next year's contributed paper sessions.  Watch for the Section and APHA announcements for the submission period for contributed papers.  It starts shortly after the New Year. 

APHA Action Board

Amy Ferketich, our representative to the APHA Action Board, sent us the following information about the Board. 

The Action Board is charged with organizing the grassroots and grasstops advocacy activities of the Association.  The Board members are representatives from Sections, SPIGS, Caucuses and State Affiliates and each person serves a three-year term.  Members are expected to participate in conference calls, attend both the mid-year and Annual or communications). 

The mid-year meeting was held on May 18 and 19, and at that meeting Dr. Benjamin reported on some of APHA’s legislative priorities, which include public health funding, health reform, transportation issues, global climate change legislation and FDA regulation of tobacco products.  More information about these priorities can be found at:  

Election Results

This summer, the Section elected Karl Peace to be chair-elect; Gerald Arnold to be secretary-elect; Dan Freeman and Brisa Sanchez to be Section Councilors; and Mike Stoto in a tie-breaker to be Governing Councilor.  Anyone interested in a elected position in the Statistics Section or in being nominated to an APHA appointed position, please let Bill Pan, the 2010 chair, or Karl Peace, the 2010 chair-elect, know at the November meeting or by e-mail.

Around the Statistics Section

Three Working Groups

Karl Peace, 2010 chair-elect, would like to form three working groups with the Statistics Section: I. Statisticians becoming more involved in policy making; II. Statisticians becoming more involved in evidence-based public health practice; and III. Educating non-statisticians on using statistical thinking to facilitate better public health decision making.  Please contact him indicating your interest in becoming a working member of these groups.  Karl Peace can be contacted at either: or


Each year the Section Chair nominates members for various APHA Boards including AJPH, Science and Education Boards.  This year James Lepeer’s nomination of Jeffery Wilson to the AJPH Editorial Board was successful.  Jeffery Wilson is associate professor of biostatistics, Department of Economics and director, Data Management and Biostatistics Core, NIH Center.  Congratulations, Jeffery!


Jenine Harris, PhD, assistant professor of community health, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, had fun working on an article using new stochastic network methods for citation analysis.  If you are interested in seeing this methodology you can read the article, “Forty Years of Secondhand Smoke Research: The Gap Between Discovery and Delivery.”  It is free on the AJMP Web site –

Around APHA

Annual Meeting Registration

APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition - Register for the meeting and make your hotel reservation soon (housing closes Oct. 9). Note: Presenters must be individual members of APHA to present their paper(s) and must register in advance for the meeting. Session organizers and moderators are also required to be members and pay the appropriate registration fee. Hope to see you in Philadelphia!

APHA Career Guidance Center

Don't miss this opportunity! Sign up now for a one-on-one or a group session with a professional career coach at the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition. These coaches can guide you in strategizing the next phase of your career and help you define your goals. Select a 45-minute individual session or a 90-minute group session. The group sessions are designed according to your career needs. To see which session best fits for you, please read about each coach's experience and education before setting an appointment. If you have never experienced coaching before, this is a wonderful introduction to what may become a useful service for your career!
This is the link to the Career Guidance Center:


APHA Press has three books in production of interest to epidemiologists and other health professionals that will be available at the Annual Meeting: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, 3rd edition, by Patrick Remington, Ross Brownson and Mark Wegner, and two books by Steven S. Coughlin, Ethics in Epidemiology and Public Health Practice, 2nd Edition and Case Studies in Public Health Ethics, 2nd edition. 

Section Officers for 2008-2009


Chair:                 Jim Leeper

Chair-elect & Program Chair:  Bill Pan

Past-chair:          Martin Weinrich

Secretary:           Janet Eyster

Sec.-elect:          Marcia Testa

Sec. Council:       George Stukenborg
                         Al Ozonoff  
                         Dedun Ingram
                         Elizabeth Zell
                         Diane Makuc
                         Brisa Sanchez

Gov. Council:       Frank Potter
                        Amy Ferketich

Action Board       Amy Ferketich

Membership:       M. Bazle Hossain

Sec. Awards:      Amy Ferketich

Webmaster:        George Stukenborg
Booth:               Larry Moulton

Student Representative: Megan Price