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Section Newsletter
Spring 2011


Message from the Chair

Message from the Chair


As some of you know, Karl Peace had to resign as chair of the Statistics Section for health reasons. I was elected by the Section Council to replace him at the end of March. I would like to recognize Karl for his accomplishments as chair-elect and chair of our Section. He worked hard last year to create an outstanding Statistics Section program at the APHA Annual Meeting. The sessions were interesting and well attended. We will do our best to continue the good work that Karl performed for the Section.


Membership continues to be a concern, both within the Statistics Section and also broadly at APHA. This year at the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., we will again man our booth and offer incentives for individuals to join the Statistics Section. We continue to discuss the possibility of recruiting at the annual meetings of other organizations for statisticians. 


I encourage our current Section members to serve as recruiters as well.  Often, we can be successful at recruiting new members by simply discussing the organization and all it has to offer with our colleagues and students. I have benefited both personally and professionally through my experiences as an APHA member.  I have served on the Statistics Section Council, the Action Board and the Governing Council. These service activities have given me the opportunity to meet many interesting individuals working in different areas in public health. I have also enjoyed discussing current public health topics with my colleagues through our policy review activities.


I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C.  As you will see in this newsletter, we have an excellent program planned. I hope you can attend our Section activities on Tuesday, Nov. 1. That is the day we will have the awards session, business meeting and social, and Section dinner.


Amy K. Ferketich, PhD

Chair, Statistics Section

Status of Section Name Change

Status of Section Name


In 1907 the Vital Statistics Section was formed. Forty-one years later the name changed to the Statistics Section. During the 2010 APHA Annual Meeting in Denver, we had an in-depth discussion of the relevance of the name “Statistics” in light of the Association of Schools of Public Health naming Biostatistics as one of the five core competencies for obtaining an MPH. A recommendation was made to explore the possibility of changing the name of our Section to Biostatistics to be consistent with the ASPH guidelines. This past winter we distributed a Zoomerang Survey to gather feedback from our Section members; I have summarized the findings below, noting the more substantive or repeated responses.


·         We received 54 responses out of roughly 400  total members (13.5 percent response rate).

·         Forty-one people supported the change of our section name to Biostatistics (76 percent).

·         Eight people voiced general support but noted potential disadvantages of a name change (15 percent).

·         Five people disagreed with the name change (9 percent).


Among the people who agreed with the change, these comments were made:

·         Biostatistics is also used by CEPH and Preventive Medicine Review Boards.

·         More applicable to biostatistics students.

·         APHA is a public health institution and biostatistics is more consistent with the practice of statistics in public health.

·         The change is long overdue.


Among the people who noted positives and negatives, the following comments were made:

·         Not a big difference between biostatistics and statistics.

·         Potentially discourage members who are not “biostatisticians”.

·         Statistics is inclusive and has clear meaning.


Among the people who disagreed, these comments were made:

·         Statistics is more general and covers a wider audience.

·         The name change would limit subject matter to areas in academic biostatistics departments.

·         Accreditation requirements do not always bear directly on the practice of public health.

·         Biostatistics is too narrow – public health statistics has broadened to include environmental sciences, climate change, data mining, predictive modeling.

·         Since we are part of APHA, our mission is sufficiently implied and does not need to be reiterated.


Alternative names suggested:

·         Public Health Statistics

·         Statistics and Biostatistics

·         Statistics for Health


While the overwhelming majority of members who responded to the survey would support the name change, in light of potential drawbacks, the Section Leadership and Counsel believes it may be prudent to try to obtain a larger response from our members to ensure our future actions are representative of the Section.  We will do this through another round of data gathering – this time via multiple venues: Zoomerang, a Booth survey at the Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., and expanded discussion at the Business Meeting.  Anyone may feel free to send me ( or Amy Ferketich ( comments at any time.  


As the oldest Section in APHA, we have many reasons to ensure that the name change proposal is given just discourse. Our Section has a broad diffusion of interests in and applications of statistical practice in public health that serves as both a strength and weakness: we are able to attract a broad range of quantitative experts, but our small size potentially impedes collective activities.  What we name ourselves may ultimately be less important than our general agreement to promote sound statistical practice in public health, as stated in our mission; however, we need a name that is inclusive, broad, appropriate, and forward-thinking.  As a soccer (or futbol) player, my vote would be Statistics FC!


William Pan

Assistant Professor

Duke University,

Nicholas School of Environment & Duke Global Health Institute

Statistics Section Awards

Statistics Section Award Citations, APHA, 2010

Lawrence Moulton, PhD (Academic): For his unwavering commitment to statistical training and mentoring of students from all walks of life, his dedication to the development of statistical methodology applied to cluster randomized trials, vaccine research, and prevention of tuberculosis and HIV, and his many contributions to the Statistics Section of APHA.

Elizabeth R. Zell, PhD (Government): For active participation and contributions to the Statistics Section of APHA and the American Statistical Association and for effective leadership in statistics applied to public health, especially for her accomplishments to advance immunization and vaccine safety research and practice to save lives, both nationally and internationally.

Charles A. DiSogra, DrPH, MPH (Industry): For his outstanding leadership and innovative advancements in address-based sampling survey methods, his original contributions to the development of computational metrics for online panels, and his dedication to the statistical excellence of the Knowledge Networks probability-based Web panel as a research tool for public health and other scientific disciplines.


Amy K. Ferketich, PhD

Chair, Statistics Section

2011 Speigelman Award

2011 Speigelman Award

Sudipto Banerjee received an MS and PhD in statistics from the

University of Connecticut. Prior to this he received a B.S. (Honors)

from Presidency College and an M.STAT from the Indian Statistical

Institute, both in Calcutta (now called Kolkata), India. He is currently

a tenured Professor of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health,

University of Minnesota Twin Cities. His research focuses upon

statistical modeling and analysis of geographically referenced datasets,

Bayesian statistics (theory, methods and applications), statistical

computing/software and the melding of numerical/physical models with

field data from industrial hygiene. He has published over sixty

peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and has

co-authored a book titled "Hierarchical Modeling and Analysis for

Spatial Data". He has overseen the development of several spatial

software packages within the R statistical framework. In 2009 he was

honored with the Abdel El Sharaawi Award from the The International

Environmetrics Society -- accorded to a young investigator (below the

age of 40) every year who has made outstanding contributions to the

field Environmetrics. Sudipto is also an elected member of the

International Statistical Institute and is an inductee of the Pi chapter

of the Delta Omega National Honor Society. Sudipto was also a recipient

of one of the National Institute of Health's ARRA Challenge Grants in

2009 to develop statistical models for assessing the impact of climate

change on health effects.


Amy K. Ferketich, PhD

Chair, Statistics Section



Lapouse Award for 2011

Ezra Susser to receive Rema Lapouse Award for 2011

Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and professor of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, has been selected to receive the 2011 APHA Rema Lapouse Award. The Rema Lapouse Award, presented annually to an exemplary scientist in the field of psychiatric epidemiology who has made significant contributions to the scientific understandings of the epidemiology and control of mental disorders, is granted by the APHA Mental Health, Biostatistics and Epidemiology Sections. The award will be presented during the APHA Annual Meeting by former Rema Lapouse awardee and Rema Lapouse Awards Committee Chair Dr. C. Hendricks Brown. The APHA Annual Meeting will take place beginning Oct. 29, 2011 through Nov. 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Susser received his MD and MPH from Columbia University in 1982. He obtained his DrPH a decade later from the same university. One theme in Dr. Susser’s early research was to study the course of psychoses and the potential for partial or full recovery. He contributed to the understanding of ICD-10 Acute and Transient Psychotic Disorders by showing that these conditions had a tenfold higher incidence in developing than developed countries, that they often persisted for 2-4 months before full recovery, and that they differed from other nonaffective psychoses in their subsequent course in both developed and developing countries. These results are being used for revision of Acute and Transient Disorders in ICD-11. 

A related series of studies pertained to the relationships between homelessness and mental illness and the improvement of services for homeless people with psychotic disorders. Together with Elie Valencia and Sarah Conover, he developed and tested (in a randomized controlled trial) Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrence of homelessness among people with severe mental illness.  CTI is now being adapted for a variety of contexts (e.g. former prisoners returning to the community; new users of services; indigenous peoples), in many locales spanning the United States, Europe, Australia, and Latin America. 

This early work provided the foundation for his long-term and ongoing commitment to global mental health, with a primary (though not exclusive) focus on the care of people with psychoses.  Since 1995, he has been involved in supporting programs of community care in Argentina and South Africa. Later this work  extended to other countries in Latin America, to Central Asia, and most recently, to other countries in Africa. A second theme in his early research was the investigation of prenatal exposures that might influence the development of schizophrenia in adulthood.  He discovered a relationship between exposure to famine in early gestation and onset of schizophrenia in adulthood. He is exploring the pathways that might explain this association, including the interplay between genes and this environmental exposure (genetic epidemiology is also a longstanding interest and now extends to epigenetic studies).

Currently, he is working together with Norwegian investigators to study neurodevelopmental disorders in a pregnancy cohort of approximately 110,000 births in Norway. This work naturally extended to a more general interest in life course epidemiology, and studies examining several points along the life course and health outcomes in multiple domains. He has also promoted and developed the use of sibling comparisons in epidemiology, which are particularly useful for the investigation of prenatal exposures. 

A third theme in his early research was cross-cultural research. This interest is now expressed in three main threads of research. First, he is deeply involved with Dutch investigators who are elucidating the causes of the high incidence of psychosis among certain immigrant/ethnic minority groups in The Hague. Second, he has initiated together with Jonathan Burns (University of Kwazulu-Natal) the groundwork for what they plan to be the first incidence study of psychoses in Africa. Third, cross-cultural work is central to the Global Mental Health Program noted earlier. During Dr. Susser’s nine year tenure as Chair of Epidemiology, he was the lead author of the only current (other than edited) textbook on psychiatric epidemiology. In addition, one of his top priorities was to create the capacity in the department to respond to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Among other things, he encouraged and recruited faculty and students, fostered the development of global HIV/AIDS programs (led by others) which are now world renowned, and was a steadfast advocate. He also worked on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in people with severe mental illness.

Currently, in addition to co-leading a Global Mental Health Program, Dr. Susser heads the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies, which fosters collaborative research and intellectual exchange among investigators studying developmental origins in birth cohorts across the globe. Imprints brings together multiple disciplines, and the seminars are sponsored jointly by the Department of Epidemiology, the Institute of Human Nutrition and the Department of Neurodevelopmental Neuroscience at the Psychiatric Institute.  A NIDDK training grant emerged from this process (PIs Debra Wolgemuth, IHN, and Ezra Susser). It is designed to train basic scientists and population health researchers in the arena outside their parent discipline (e.g. train basic scientists in population health), to facilitate effective collaboration with investigators in the “other” arena.  He is also involved in numerous other training programs, perhaps most notably, as co-director of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program at ColumbiaFinally, Dr. Susser is president of the American Psychopathological Association in 2012, arguably the professional organization most closely related to psychiatric epidemiology and public mental health (not counting specific sections of larger bodies such as the Mental Health Section of APHA).

Nicole Marie Cano
Clinical Research Coordinator University of Miami,
Miller School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology

and Public Health Center for Family Studies

2011 Action Board Meeting

Action Board Meeting


The Action Board had its annual mid-year meeting on May 16 and 17.  The APHA Government Relations staff presented the Public Health ACTion Campaign: Campaign.htm.  Through this campaign, APHA is encouraging its members to advocate for public health funding, transportation policies that promote health, and child nutrition and wellness policies.  The PHACT website has a downloadable campaign toolkit that provides information about how to contact your local Senators and Representative to schedule an in-person meeting, how to find out where town hall meetings will be held and what types of questions to ask, and how to write a Letter to the Editor.


I would like to thank Amy Clark, Jim Leeper, Bill Pan, Karl Peace, and Mike Stoto for helping with the APHA new policy review and APHA policy archiving process this year.  A total of 28 new policies were proposed, and 27 were proposed for archiving. 


Amy K. Ferketich, PhD

Statistics Section Representative to the Action Board

APHA Book Publications Update

Update on APHA Book Publications – June 2011

I am very pleased to announce that there are a number books in production as well proposals for books that have been accepted, and work on them is under way.  Furthermore, several authors of current products will be available to sign their books at the fall APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

APHA members of all Sections are encouraged to using existing, new and emerging products in their academic courses. These resources are also very relevant to policy, prevention, advocacy and client care initiatives. Please encourage your colleagues to use these timely and evidence-based resources.  Go to the APHA website to find out more: 

We are also looking for new proposals for books. If you have an idea for a book, please send a few paragraphs describing the idea, intended audience and your qualifications to Nina Tristani, Director of Publications, APHA,



o        Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States, Authors: Robert D. Bullard, PhD; Glenn S. Johnson, PhD; and Angel O. Torres, MCP

Books at Printer in June

·         Megacities and Public Health, Omar Khan, MD, MHS

·         Public Health Management of Disasters, 3rd edition, Linda Landesman

Books Currently in Production

  • Injury Prevention for Children and Adolescents: Research Practice, and Advocacy, 2nd edition, Karen D. Liller, PhD
  • School–Based Health Care, Terri Wright, MPH and Jeanita Richardson, PhD

Books in Development

  • Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 20th Edition
  • Control of Communicable Diseases Lab Book
  • Compendium of Methods for the Examination of Foods, 5th Edition
  • Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition
  • Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 22nd edition


·         Communicating Public Health Information Effectively is now on Kindle.

Co-sponsored Books

Jossey-Bass: Emerging Infectious Diseases published in April 2011.


Jones and Bartlett Learning books to be published before the 2011 Annual Meeting: Essentials of Biostatistics in Public Health, Essential Case Studies in Public Health: Putting Public Health into Practice, Global Health 101, Field Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Epidemiology in Women's Health, Essentials of Health, Culture and Diversity, Epidemiology of Chronic Disease, Introduction to Air Pollution Science, and Essentials of Program Planning and Evaluation.


APHA is also co-publishing with Wiley, Designing Healthy Communities by Richard Jackson.  The book is a companion to a PBS series to air this fall.

Thank you for supporting APHA Books and promoting these products.

Norman Giesbrecht, PhD, Chair, APHA Publications Board

APHA Conventions Department Message

APHA Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for the APHA 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 - Nov. 2, 2011.  More than 1,000 cutting edge, scientific sessions will be presented by public health researchers, academicians, policy-makers and practitioners on the most current public health issues facing the nation today. For registration and more information about the Annual Meeting, visit


Our Section will have a strong presence at the meeting. View the sessions sponsored by our Section in the interactive Online Program ( ). Search the program using keyword, author name or date. Don’t forget to visit the Section and SPIG pavilion in the Public Health Expo next to Everything APHA to speak to a Section representative.


Natasha Williams

Component Affairs Coordinator

American Public Health Association

Student Scholarships for Annual Meeting

Need-based scholarships available for students to attend Annual Meeting

APHA is proud to announce the availability of need-based scholarships, sponsored by External Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc., for student members to attend the 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2011. Twelve students will be granted registration and up to a $500 stipend to use toward food, lodging and transportation. An additional four students will be given Annual Meeting registration only. Recipients of the scholarships will be chosen based on financial need and essay. As part of the award, students will be strongly encouraged to attend at least one Section business meeting.


Please inform the student members of your Section about this unique opportunity! Visit: for complete details and application. Please contact Pooja Bhandari at with any questions.

Pooja Bhandari
Component Affairs Assistant

APHA Green Goals for 2011

New Goals for APHA 2011 -- Less Trash!  Less Plastic!


The 2011 APHA Annual Meeting theme "Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies" gives APHA members an opportunity to build on the 2009 and 2010 themes of Water and Social Justice as public health priorities.


Green Goals.  The Food and Environment Working Group, the Environment Section's 100th Anniversary Committee, and APHA are setting goals to reduce waste and promote a sustainable, just, and healthy food and water system.  

Got Trash?  We encourage everyone at APHA 2011 to increase efforts to reduce trash, especially paper and plastic.


 The Diversion Rate (the recycling/trash ratio) in DC at APHA 2007 was 34 percent.

The Diversion Rate in Denver at APHA 2010 was 52.75 percent

Can we achieve a Diversion rate of 75 percent at APHA 2011?


 -- The D.C. Convention Center’s water fountains and food service sinks provide filtered water! Bring your own refillable bottle to the conference to cut down on plastic waste.


 -- Plan events using local resources and services that encourage wise use of water and other resources. If you need advice or suggestions, contact us:


--  Buy food sourced from sustainable producers and distributors. 


-- If using disposables, use compostable products and use the facility compost program. Label containers so compostables do not go into the waste stream.


-- Take advantage of the D.C. Convention Center's Green Initiatives


-- Learn more about APHA 2011 Environmental Initiatives:


Be an Ambassador of public health and social justice in your own community.   Share information about  the social justice, public health and environmental problems caused by bottled water and water privatization, especially disposable plastic water bottles.  Use the "Resources and References" below and on the Food and Environment Working Group’s Facebook page:


Share ideas for waste reduction at APHA 2011 programs, scientific sessions, events and exhibits.  Send your questions and suggestions to Ellie Goldberg and join the conversation on the Food and Environment Working Group’s Facebook page




The APHA Food and Environment Working Group is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across APHA Sections, housed in the Food & Nutrition and Environment Sections. Colleagues work together to protect public health by promoting and cultivating a safe, healthy, just and sustainable food system.


If you would like to work with us toward these goals, contact Rebecca Klein,, Working Group membership is open to all APHA members.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  Resources and References ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bottled Water Myths


Bottled Water: Get the Facts 


Blue Gold, Maude Barlow





For more information contact: Ellie Goldberg, 617 965-9637

The Food and Environment Working group is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across APHA Sections, housed in the Food & Nutrition and Environment Sections, and open to all APHA members to join. Through the Working Group, colleagues work together to protect public health by promoting and cultivating a safe, healthy, just and sustainable food system.

A copy of this announcement can be found at:


Rebecca Klein, MS

Project Director
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Bloomberg School
of Public Health

Public Health and Transportation

Public Health and Transportation

These are exciting times when considering the many ways our transportation systems impact health and equity in our communities. Congress extended the current federal surface transportation bill until Sept. 30, 2011, and Congressional committees are aiming to draft a new transportation bill before this latest extension ends.

Want to learn more about the connections between transportation, equity and health? View our archived webinar series, subscribe to the monthly transportation and health eNewsletter that offers an array of new events and updates, and download the newly released online public health and transportation toolkit and accompanying resources today.

We also invite you to send a message to your members of Congress urging that they ensure that strong public health provisions are included in the federal surface transportation reauthorization. For more information, visit

Eloisa Raynault,                                                                                              Transportation, Health and Equity Program Manager