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Statistics
Section Newsletter
Winter 2004

Message from the Chair

 
Andrew White, PhD, MPH
APHA activities should be rooted in sound science. Multi-disciplinary cooperation and evidence-based decision-making lead to the successful blending of science and policy.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Inside of APHA there is an all too evident tension between advocacy and science. In the public arena, APHA is needed as a unifying voice for public health science and advocacy. Our association needs a strong statistical presence to be effective and credible. This nation’s core public health concerns inherently involve statistical issues in information collection, management, analysis, interpretation and presentation.

The statistical faculty members in schools of public health have focused more narrowly on methodological research and participation in professional societies that deal with such research (the International Biometric Society and the American Statistical Association are two examples). Are those quantitatively inclined less interested or willing to apply their knowledge and skills to today’s tough public health problems? I don’t think so. They are merely distracted by opportunities to publish in more “prestigious” journals and to garner more generous grant and contract support in competing areas.

When push comes to shove, and the nation calls on biostatisticians for help, they respond enthusiastically. This is evidenced by their willing participation in dozens of National Research Council and Institute of Medicine studies as volunteers. Established under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences, both organizations attract some of the best statistical talent to work on problems at the interface of public health policy and statistics (Search for you favorite topic at <http://www.nap.edu/>).

Do these professionals pass on what they learn about applying statistics to policy to their students and colleagues? I suspect so, but many fail to take the next step of exposing non-statistical students and professionals to the important lessons of applying statistical thinking to tough policy problems. Right now the human genome, drug research, and laboratory statistics seem more attractive.

I submit that participating in the Section’s annual meeting activities is a place to learn and practice two-way communication with non-quantitative practitioners facing eminent(but possibly unrecognized) statistical problems. In addition, it is a place to meet and associate with fellow statisticians, epidemiologists, and other quantitatively minded professionals who work in the trenches of applied public health issues.

We have made a good beginning in reaching out to the other APHA sections by sponsoring two continuing education courses in each of the last two years at the annual meetings. The target audience for these courses has been the non-statistician. They have been some of the best attended courses at the meetings. In addition, we work with other sections in the Inter Sectional Council, and on the Governing Council of the association.

This is the third year of Jay Glasser’s formal service as APHA’s president-elect, president, and now, past-president. A stalwart member of the Statistics Section and a teaching biostatistician, he has carried our message to the very top of APHA. He is a skilled communicator who can bridge the gap between the technical and non-technical arenas.

How can we continue to break out of the pigeon-hole in which the non-quantitative practitioners, policy- makers, and citizens have kept us? Are we doomed to suffer like the professional historians? A recent article in the Washington Post noted that attending a conference of historians is filled with insightful analyses of important and relevant issues, but hidden under the cloak of stultifyingly dull academic presentations.

Again, we are moving in the right direction thanks to our participants in the annual meeting program. Our sessions have proven popular and with careful crafting, assembly, titling, and outreach they have attracted a broader audience over the past 2-3 years.

Our section has suffered, along with all other APHA sections and members, from several years of administrative and financial difficulties at the national office. Under the new executive director, Georges Benjamin, MD, MPH, the national office has executed a complete turnaround in efficiency and effectiveness. They have also hired a wonder person, Fran Atkinson, to work a liaison among sections and the national organization. Fran has a calm, can-do, customer satisfaction approach that is marvelously effective. She has been a pleasure to work with and has resolved many long standing issues regarding our finances, our membership records, and our communications with our own members. I thank Deborah Ingram, Peter Imrey, Mike Stoto, Marcia Testa and Charity Moore in particular for helping Fran understand and work on solving our problems.

In this new era, both in the administration of the association and with renewed national recognition of the importance of properly funding public health, the time is indeed ripe to further the aims stated in the opening paragraph.

Let us continue the membership campaign that was begun last year during our 95th anniversary. We are working to make membership more attractive, but we need you, the section members, to be the voices and faces of the section in presenting a compelling case to your colleagues to join us in our worthy endeavors.

I close with some good news and invitations to action:

● Please read the following article about a smashing success for our multi-year effort to enhance the Mortimer Spiegelman Endowment.

● Come to the heart of policy territory at the 2004 Annual Meeting to be held Nov. 6-10 inside the beltway in Washington, DC. This is a chance to rub elbows with lots of people who engage in the science and policy of the public health of our nation on a daily basis. The deadlines for abstract submissions have been extended to Monday, February 9th for Statistics. There are rolling deadlines for other Sections through Friday, February 13th. Check <http://apha.confex.com/apha/132am/oasys.epl> for further information.

● Contact me or any other member of the Section Council if you want to contribute time to section activities and especially if you have creative ideas about furthering our goals.

Thank you,
Andy White

Mortimer Spiegelman Award Endowment

I am delighted to announce the success of the Section’s multi-year effort to substantially increase the funds supporting the annual Mortimer Spiegelman Award. Almost 60 donors, including many Spiegelman awardees, Section officers, and other Section members, have donated over $47,000 to support continuation of the Award into the indefinite future. We are especially grateful to Professor Gary G. Koch of the Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the fifth Spiegelman medallist, whose anonymous offer of a major donation was used to assist the fund-raising effort, and whose actual contribution more than matched donations from other sources.

The Mortimer Spiegelman Award was established posthumously to honor demographer, actuary, and biostatistician Mortimer Spiegelman (1901-1969) by his sisters, Anna and Julia Spiegelman, and maintained during their lives by their further donations. Since 1970, the Section has presented this award annually to an outstanding statistician under age 40 who has made substantial professional contributions pertinent to public health. The 34 Spiegelman medallists constitute a remarkable group of leading biostatistical scientists, whose careers subsequent to the Award have continued to be extraordinary and whose accomplishments, with Spiegelman’s, lend the award its high prestige.

When our recent fund-raising efforts began, the balance of the Spiegelman endowment was under $9000, with two medallions then on-hand. Income was no longer sufficient to support the annual costs of the medallion and certificate. It was clear that, without additional funds, annual depletion of the endowment would lead to termination of the Award. Faced with this prospect, the Section leadership committed to raising additional funds, with target of increasing the supporting endowment to $50,000 or more. This level was expected to ensure sufficient earnings to cover costs of medallion, certificate, and protect against inflation, thus allowing continuation indefinitely. We also hoped to modestly enhance the award by such measures as a one-year gift APHA membership, support of recipient’s travel costs to APHA, and/or changes to the award ceremony. At the present time these secondary goals seem unrealistic in light of historically low interest rates, but we believe that the primary goal of preserving this Award to benefit future generations of health statisticians has been achieved.

Specifically, when remaining pledges are fulfilled by mid-year, we expect to have raised the level of the endowment above $55,000 and to have six medallions on hand for future recipients. Contributions, including an in-kind donation of medallions, have come from 17 Spiegelman recipients, 12 Section officers, 27 additional Section members, and three institutions associated with recipients or officers. Donors are listed below by broad levels of contribution, anonymously if requested. We expect to include this list at the 2004 Statistics Section Awards Session, and to acknowledge Professor Koch’s donation, with those of the Spiegelman sisters, in future announcements of the award.

The response to this effort, amounting to over $100 per Section member, has been gratifying to those of us involved not just because our target was reached, but because the response symbolizes shared commitment to both the discipline of Biostatistics and to the broad enterprise of Public Health. Donations at all levels have been important, both by virtue of the funds provided and by demonstrating Section commitment sufficient to meet the criteria of Professor Koch’s challenge donation.

Very special thanks are due to Janet Eyster, Chair of the Spiegelman Endowment Committee, and Dedun Ingram, 2001 Section Chair. Their work in stimulating and organizing our efforts, and tracking donations, was indispensable. Thanks also to Gary Cutter, Section Chair when efforts began; Craig Turnbull, who elicited Professor Koch’s offer, brought it anonymously to the Section leadership, and served initially as intermediary; to Past-Chair Mike Stoto for his support; and to APHA staff Julie Ishe, Seemin Pasha, Elaine Lynch, Fran Atkinson, and Alan Baker, for help in tracking donations and complying with APHA policies on donations.

Peter B. Imrey, 2002 Section Chair


21st Century Spiegelman Endowment Donors

$10-99
Anonymous
Anonymous
L. Adrienne Cupples
Paul M. Densen
Richard M. Dudley
Patricia A. English
Eun Sul Lee
Charity G. Moore
Iwao M. Moriyama
Paula K. Roberson
Ira Rosenwaike
Sandra S. Smith
Craig D. Turnbull
Jean F. Williams

$100-249
Anonymous
Anonymous
Ron Brookmeyer
Kimberly C. Burke
Bradley P. Carlin
Linda S. Chan
Paula Diehr
Manning Feinleib
Ralph F. Frankowski
Daniel H. Freeman, Jr.
Stephen W. Lagakos
Marta S. Mendiondo
W. Michael O'Fallon
Joanne Pascale
Louise M. Ryan
Patrick E. Shrout
Jeremy M.G. Taylor
Martin C. Weinrich

$250-499
Anonymous
Anonymous
Kerrie E. Boyle
Joseph G. Ibrahim
Deborah D. Ingram
James D. Leeper
Christine A. Stidley,
Scott L. Zeger and Joanne Katz


$500-999
Abdelmonem A. Afifi
Peter Bacchetti
Gary R. Cutter
Priscilla H. Guild,
Lawrence H. Moulton,
Margaret S. Pepe
Earl S. Pollack
Margaret L. Watts

$1000-$1999
Norman E. Breslow
Mitchell H.Gail
Peter B. Imrey
Jane A. Menken
Edward B. Perrin
Michael A. Stoto
Marcia A. Testa
Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Department of Biostatistics, in-kind)
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (Office of Biostatistics)

$2000-4999
Janet T. Eyster

$5,000-25,000
Gary G. Koch

Michael Newton is 2003 Spiegelman Award Winner

 
Dr. Xihong Lin, 2002 award winner arranged the Scientific Session and congratulates Michael Newton, 2003 award winner.
The Statistics Section was pleased to honor Michael Newton, PhD, Professor, Departments of Statistics and Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, as the 2003 Spiegelman Award Winner. Newton received his BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from Dalhousie University in 1986 and his PhD in Statistics in 1991 from the University of Washington-Seattle. Since then, he has been with the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he holds appointments in the Departments of Statistics and Biostatistics & Medical Informatics.

Newton studies theory, methodology, and application of statistical inference in the biological sciences. Cancer biology has been a source for projects on the analysis of genomic and transcriptional abnormalities. Newton has also studied statistical problems in the phylogenetic analysis of molecular sequences. Computational problems have been a focus of his research; he has contributed to the implementation of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods for Bayesian analysis and to the implementation and theory of bootstrap sampling. Further, Newton has developed new methods of nonparametric Bayesian analysis. When he's not working on statistics you may find Newton pursuing his interests in the art of juggling.

The recipient of the award organizes the Biostatistical Methods Session the year following receipt of the award, serves on the Spiegelman Award Selection Committee for three years following receipt of the award and serves as chair of the selection committee during the third year following receipt of the award.

Past Spiegelman Award Winners 1970-2003

1970 Ed Perrin
1971 P. A. (Tony) Lachenbruch
1972 Manning Feinleib
1973 Joseph Fleiss
1974 Gary Koch
1975 Jane Menken
1976 A. A. Afifi
1977 David Hoel
1978 Ross Prentice
1979 Mitchell Gail
1980 Norman Breslow
1981 Robert F. Woolson
1982 Joel Kleinman
1983 J. Richard Landis
1984 Stephen Lagakos
1985 John Crowley
1986 Anastasios Tsiatis
1987 L. J. Wei
1988 Thomas Fleming
1989 Colin B. Begg
1990 Kung-Yee Liang
1991 Scott L. Zeger
1992 Ronald S. Brookmeyer
1993 Martin A. Tanner
1994 Louise M. Ryan
1995 Christopher J. Portier
1996 Jeremy M. G. Taylor
1997 Margaret S Pepe
1998 Peter Bacchetti
1999 Danyu Lin
2000 Brad Carlin
2001 Daniel Weeks
2002 Xihong Lin
2003 Michael Newton

Nominations for 2004 Spiegelman Award Due April 1

Since 1970, the Statistics Section of the APHA has presented the Mortimer Spiegelman Award to an outstanding public health statistician under age 40 (See previous article for list of past winners). The award serves three purposes: to honor the outstanding achievenments of both the recipient and Spiegelman; to encourage further involvement in public health of the finest young statisticians; and to increase awareness of APHA and the Statistics Section in the academic statistical community. The Section is actively seeking recommendations for 2004 potential award candidates.

The Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association invites formal nominations for the 2004 Mortimer Spiegelman Award honoring a statistician aged 40 or younger who has made important contributions to public health. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of health statistics, broadly defined. To be eligible, a candidate must have been born in 1964 or later. Send a nominating letter and the candidate¹s CV to the Spiegelman Award Committee Chair, Daniel E. Weeks, Department of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, A302A Crabtree Hall, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. E-mail inquiries may be made to weeks@pitt.edu. The nominator should include one or two paragraphs in the nominating letter that describe how the nominee's contributions relate to public health concerns. We will accept a maximum of three supporting letters per nomination. Nominations for the 2004 Award must be submitted by April 1, 2004.

A copy of this announcement may be found at:
http://watson.hgen.pitt.edu/~dweeks/spiegelman/2004_Spiegelman.html

Daniel Weeks Contact Information: Phone (412) 624-5388, Secretary (412) 624-9951. E-mail: .

Statistics Section Booth: Celebrating 95 Years—We’re 95 percent Confident We’ll Make it to 100!

 
Statistics Section Booth at 2003 APHA Annual Meeting
At the Annual Meeting this year, the Statistics Section sponsored a booth celebrating our 95th year as a section of the American Public Health Association. The main goal of the booth was to attract new Statistics Section members. Forms were available at the booth for people interested in changing their primary section of their APHA membership. If a person changed their primary section to Statistics, he/she was entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of Gerald van Belle’s “Rules of Thumb” book. Also, anyone could throw in a business card for a chance at a second "Rules of Thumb" book. There were over 500 dice at the table for people to take and explore the wonders of probability. Rumor has it that some of the statisticians manning the booth got carried away and started doing empirical probability tables. From the booth, we enlisted 11 new primary members, 13 new secondary, and an additional 50 people dropped in business cards for the drawings. The winners of the books were Amy Donaldson from the Intermountain Injury Control Research Center and Ismaila Biodum Ramon from the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. Thanks to all the volunteers who manned the booth during the conference, and special thanks to Gerald van Belle for contributing two copies of his book, Martin Weinrich for his contribution to paying booth expenses, and to Larry Moulton for handling the booth arrangements and creating the poster. It was a great success—which we will repeat at next year’s meeting in DC!
Last year’s Winter Newsletter asked all current members of the section to inform their colleagues, students, and existing members about the long history and tradition of the APHA Statistics Section in hopes of recruiting new APHA Statistics Section members. We would like to thank all members who made efforts to recruit people into the Section, and we ask each of you to do the same this year. Please try to recruit at least one new member and encourage them to attend the annual meeting in Washington, DC, in 2004. If you know someone who is not a member of APHA and has interest in the practice of Public Health statistics, have them visit <http://www.apha.org/membership> to learn more about joining APHA and the Statistics Section.

2004 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC

 
DEADLINE ALERT: APHA Annual Meeting Abstracts Deadline Extended -- due MONDAY, February 9, 2004.

To submit an abstract to the STATISTICS Section go to: <http://apha.confex.com/apha/132am/stat.htm>.

To obtain instructions and general information regarding abstract submission go to: <http://apha.confex.com/apha/132am/oasys.epl>.

To obtain information about the November, 2004 Annual Meeting, go to: <http://apha.org/meetings/>.

Mark your calendars early for the 2004 APHA Annual Meeting which will be held Nov. 6-10, 2004, in Washington, DC. The theme for 2004 will be “Public Health and the Environment.” As in previous years, the Statistics Section will sponsor approximately 12 sessions, including the Lowell Reed Lecture, the biostatistical methods session, a student paper session, poster sessions, and a variety of invited and contributed sessions.

The Statistics Section invites the submission of individual abstracts, groups of abstracts (Special Interest Sessions), and student abstracts (Student Paper Session) related to:
· Behavioral Statistics
· Biostatistical Methods in Public Health Research and Practice
· Bioterrorism, Counterterrorism and Biomedical Surveillance I: Methodology
· Bioterrorism, Counterterrorism and Biomedical Surveillance II: Applications and Data
· Disability, Functional Health Status and Rehabilitatiion Statistics
· Evaluation of Public Health Preparedness Programs
· Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Methods for Health Data Analysis
· Information Systems and Data Mining Applications In Public Health
· Innovations in Biostatistical Methods and Applications
· Measurement Methodology for Public Health Research and Evaluation
· Multi-level Analysis for Evaluating Individual and Census Trait Characteristics on Preterm Delivery
· Quantitative Methods for the Surveillance of Emerging Infectious Diseases
· Statistical and Data Analysis Issues for Environmental Health Research
· Statistical and Data Analysis Issues for Epidemiological Research
· Statistical and Data Analysis Issues for Health Services Research
· Statistical and Modeling Techniques for Health Outcomes Research
· Statistical Issues in Drug Development and Safety Surveillance
· Statistical Issues in Genetics and Genomics Research
· Tracking Healthy People 2010
· Web-based and PC Methods in Public Health Evaluation and Research
· Z: Methods, Topics, Special Sessions General Category (submit here if your topic is not listed above)


The Statistics Section sessions primarily focus on the development and application of new statistical methods in public health. We are also interested in new information systems and database methodologies and applications for collecting, storing, mining and analyzing large public health and medical databases. Routine analyses of data should be submitted to the Section or Special Interest Group related to the subject matter of the analysis. If you are an individual presenter and you do not find your specific topic listed, please submit under the category Z: Methods, Topics, Special Sessions General Category (submit here if your topic is not listed above).

Submit Individual Abstracts according to the online instructions. The Statistics Section is also accepting abstract submissions for a Student Research Session. Students wishing to be considered for this session should submit online an abstract and also a two-page summary of the paper. The author must be a member of the Statistics Section. A letter from a faculty member attesting to the author's student status must also be provided to the Program Chair. The Statistics Section also invites the submission of proposals for Special Interest Sessions pertinent to the "Public Health and the Environment" theme of the upcoming 132nd Annual Meeting. Submit individual abstracts for a Special Interest Session according to the online instructions. It is best if the Special Interest Session organizer (in advance of submitting the abstracts) submits a written proposal for the session by mail or e-mail to the Program Chair. If approved, a special session will be created for your topic and will appear in the list of topics for the Statistics Section.


The proposal should include
1. the organizer's full mailing address, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers;
2. session title;
3. a brief (1-2 pages) overview describing the purpose, relevance and importance of the proposed session;
4. topics and participants, including the proposed presiders(s), titles of each presentation, full names of all authors, with full names of presenters underlined (as in the on-line abstract); and
5. a time schedule within the session (begin the session at 0:00 hrs and end it at 1:30).
A presentation at a Special Interest Session may be up to 30 minutes in length. We suggest that Special Interest Sessions allow time for a discussion. All Special Interest Session proposals and abstracts will be peer reviewed.


Program Planner Contact Information:
Marcia A. Testa, MPH, PhD
Department of Biostatistics
Harvard School of Public Health
655 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: (617) 432-2818
Fax: 781-237-4407
testa@hsph.harvard.edu

Diener-West, Pascale and Ash are 2003 Annual Award Winners

 
Marie Diener-West, Joanne Pascale and Arlene Ash receive 2003 Statistics Section Awards
Each year the Statistics Section presents three awards to Section members who have made outstanding contributions to statistics and public health. Each award winner is chosen from a different membership population representing affiliations with academia, government and industry/non-governmental organizations. Section members had the special privilege of honoring three new award winners during the November 2003 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

From academia, Marie Diener-West, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, was chosen for her outstanding contributions to Biostatistics and Public Health through excellence in teaching, advising, and mentoring in the health sciences, and in collaborative research through clinical trials.

This year’s government award winner, Joanne Pascale, MA, United States Census Bureau, was recognized for her contributions to Biostatistics and Public Health through steadfast support to the Statistics Section of APHA and for excellence in work on survey quality at the Census Bureau.

Arlene Ash, PhD, MA, Boston University School of Medicine, was given an award for outstanding contributions to Biostatistics and Public Health through excellence in research and practice in risk adjustment, in developing and evaluating models for health-based payment, and for using health care data to improve the medical management of populations.

Nominations for 2004 Statistics Section Awards Due April 1, 2004

Nominations for the 2004 Statistics Section Awards should be submitted by April 1, 2004. Nominate an individual in each of the following areas: 1) academia, 2) government and 3) industry/non-governmental organizations. Send nominations to Martin C. Weinrich, PhD, Professor of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, 555 S. Floys Street, Suite 4063 Louisville, KY 40202, or e-mail <martin.weinrich@louisville.edu>.

Highlights of 2003 Annual Meeting Scientific Sessions and Social Events

 
Moscone Center, San Francisco -- A statistician can never have enough fingers to solve those large database problems
Statistics Section Scientific Sessions

The Statistics Section sponsored 12 Sessions at the 2003 Annual APHA meeting in San Francisco. During the first day of presentations, two morning sessions focused on current public health issues and tracking Healthy People 2010. The noon session was on multi-level analysis of racial disparities in preterm birth rates and individual and neighborhood characteristics. Afternoon sessions dealt with biosurveillance issues and classification issues in public health policy. These sessions were well attended and were co-sponsored with multiple APHA sections and Caucuses including Community Health Planning and Policy Development, HIV/AIDS, School Health Education and Services, Medical Care, Public Health Education and Health Promotion, Epidemiology, and the Socialist Caucus.

Tuesday morning sessions focused on health services research and clinical methods and education. Two poster sessions on Tuesday were well attended. Topics covered in the poster sessions were spatial analysis and mapping, data mining, report cards, and survey, epidemiologic, and clinical methods. Tuesday afternoon sessions included the Lowell Reed Lecture, a statistical methodology session on bioterrorism, and the Statistics Section Business Meeting.

The final day featured a morning session on the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance (ABCS) System and the noon session on Web and PC methods in public health statistics.

Statistics Section Award Luncheon, Annual Business Meeting, Social Hour and Dinner

The Tuesday afternoon APHA Statistics Section Lowell Reed Lecture and Award Session is traditionally preceded by an informal luncheon at a nearby restaurant, given by the Section officers and councilors in honor of that year’s awardees. This year the luncheon was held at The Garden Terrace, a café in the San Francisco Marriott.

The Social Hour and Business meeting in San Francisco was well attended (n=26!) . Mike Stoto, 2003 Section Chair, gave a summary of from Sunday’s council meeting and Frances Atkinson, <frances.atkinson@apha.org>, stopped by to introduce herself as Manager of Section Affairs for APHA. Section Governing Council representatives, Frank Potter and Carol Redmond, gave reports on the issues and decisions made during the Governing Council meetings.

After the Social Hour and Business meeting, some of the more adventurous folks set out to find the Fly Trap Restaurant at 606 Folsom Street. From earlier comments throughout the day, I had gathered that some of my colleagues were a bit suspicious about the food quality of a place named after a device used to kill insects. Fortunately, it was a great success. The Fly Trap serves traditional San Francisco fare and has accorded high acclaim from many culinary critics, includingGourmet and Bon Appetit. The atmosphere was elegant and upbeat. Next year, Stuart Gansky (Secretary Elect) will be making the arrangements for the dinner—Good luck to you, Stuart!

Attendance of Scientific Sessions Sponsored by the Statistics Section at the 131st Annual APHA meeting in San Francisco

 
Deborah Ingram presents to a "standing room only" crowd at APHA Annual Meeting. Michael Stoto (sitting) chaired the session.
Over the past few years, members of the section council noticed that the sessions sponsored by the Statistics Sessions had very high attendance. In fact, at times people have been turned away from the session because the room filled to capacity with people sitting and standing. At the most recent meeting in November, I recall people sitting in the aisles between chairs during entire sessions. Andy White, chair of the section, agreed to count the number of attendees in each session sponsored by the Statistics Section so that we as a section will have data to support any efforts made to get higher capacity rooms for our sessions.

The results for the meeting in November 2003 are as follows:

The maximum number of people at any given time throughout each 90 minute session ranged from

o 22 to 77 on Monday (5 sessions)

o 31 to 55 on Tuesday (3 sessions excluding the Business meeting)

o 23 to 39 on Wednesday (2 sessions).

During three of Monday’s sessions, attendance was as high as 77. Attendees were standing during all three sessions, and an average of 18 people were turned away per session because the rooms were too small.

The Statistics Section Council is delighted that attendance of the sessions is so high. The Section Chair will take these data to the planning meeting for the next APHA Annual meeting in hopes of getting bigger rooms to accommodate all of those wanting to attend the exciting statistical and methodological sessions sponsored by the Statistics Section.

Continuing Education Courses at the 131st APHA Annual Meeting Sponsored by the Statistics Section

As part of its efforts to support statisticians in public health practice, the Statistics Section sponsored three Continuing Education Institutes at the 131st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, Nov. 15 - 19, 2003.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, Mike Stoto offered a half-day course in "Statistical Methods for State and Local Public Health Data." This was aimed at public health practitioners and introduced participants to statistical methods appropriate for state and local public health data and address practical aspects of their use. Topics included: 1) issues in the development and use of state and local public health data for community health indicators reports, performance measurement and public health report cards; 2) surveillance and outbreak detection for bioterrorism and emerging infections; and 3) privacy and confidentiality in the public release of state and local public health data.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, Andrew Lawson (University of South Carolina) and Richard Hoskins (University of Washington) offered a full-day, in-depth "Introduction to Spatial Epidemiology and GIS." This Institute targeted public health practitioners needing to develop surveillance and assessment support and activity in their health department using the principles of spatial epidemiology and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The purpose of this Institute was to provide an introduction to the geographical analysis of disease incidence and indicate how to use that information to communicate with policy-makers and a community. The first half of the program focused on basic concepts within spatial epidemiology: relative risk, confounders, ecological bias, control diseases, expected rates, and standardization of mortality and morbidity rates and ratios. The second half of the course was designed to introduce participants to the use of a GIS for public health disease surveillance, and health status, risk factor assessment.

Back for a third year by popular demand, Tom Lang, MA, offered a session on Sunday, Nov. 16, on "Interpreting and Reporting Public Health and Medical Research: Techniques and 13 Key Questions." This was for persons interested in becoming more informed consumers of public health and biomedical literature. Several techniques and tools for critically appraising the literature were presented, including perspectives to reading the literature, checklists for authors and readers, and references to aide readers. The bulk of the workshop was structured around a series of 13 general questions about the purpose, design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of a research study.

For 2004, we will likely offer these three institutes again, plus add a new one on a methodological topic in epidemiology, such as multi-level models. Please send comments and suggestions to Mike Stoto, <mstoto@rand.org>.

These short Institutes were co-sponsored by the Epidemiology Section and the American Statistical Association. More details on the entire continuing education program can be found at <www.apha.org/meetings/continuing_ed.htm>. These Institutes offer a valuable opportunity for public health professionals to efficiently broaden their expertise on key areas of public health practice.

The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program Accepting Applications

Program: The Scholars Program brings talented African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native college seniors and recent graduates to Washington, DC, where they work in congressional offices and learn about health policy. The application deadline is
Jan. 30, 2004.

Purpose: The Kaiser Family Foundation established the Scholars Program to honor the legacy of late U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who was a Foundation Trustee, and to expand the pool of students of color interested in the field of health policy.

Structure: Through the nine-week program (June 1 - July 30, 2004), Scholars gain knowledge about federal legislative procedure and health policy issues, while further developing their critical thinking and
leadership skills. In addition to an internship in a congressional office, Scholars participate in seminars and site visits to augment their knowledge of health care issues, and write and present a health policy research paper. The program is based at Howard University.

Eligibility: Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens who are members of a racial/ethnic minority group and will be seniors or recent graduates of an accredited U.S. college or university in the fall of 2004. Candidates are selected based on academic performance, demonstrated leadership potential and interest in health policy.

Compensation: Scholars receive approximately $5,000 in support, which includes a stipend, daily expense allowance, airfare and lodging.

Additional information: Application forms and additional information about the Program are available online at <http://www.kff.org/docs/topics/jordanscholars.html>. All application materials are due by Jan. 30, 2004. For further information, contact program manager Jomo Kassaye at 202-865-4827 or <jkassaye@huhosp.org>.

Call for Officer Nominations and Current Statistics Section Officers and Council Members

Call for Officer Nominations – Due February 13, 2004

The Council is requesting current members consider running for a leadership position in the Section. Duties of officers and council members can be viewed in the Winter 2003 Statistics Section Newsletter <http://www.aphastat.org/>.

Nominations for offices should be submitted by Feb. 13, 2004, to Mike Stoto, PhD, <mstoto@rand.org>,
Phone: 703-413-1100 x5472.

Current Statistics Section Council Members

For more Statistics Section information go to <http://www.aphastat.org>, which takes you to the APHA Statistics Section Web site.

Officers:
Chair: Andy White, PhD
Chair-elect: Marcia A. Testa, MPH, MPhil, PhD
Secretary: Charity G. Moore, MSPH, PhD

Section Council:
Secretary Elect: Stuart Gansky, DrPH
Immediate Past Chair: Mike Stoto, PhD

Brenda W. Gillespie, PhD (2004)
Elizabeth R. Zell, M Stat (2004)
J. Jackson Barnette, MA, PhD (2004)
Janet T. Eyster, PhD (2005)
Martin C. Weinrich, MA, PhD (2005)
Deborah D. Ingram, PhD (2006)
Craig D. Turnbull, PhD (2006)

Governing Council:
Carol K. Redmond, MS, ScD (2005)
Diane M. Makuc, DrPH (2006)

Jossey-Bass Publishers Seeking Reviewers

Jossey-Bass Publishers, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, seeks reviewers for book proposals in Evaluation and Research Methods. Reviewers are “paid” with free books from the publisher. If you are interested, wish more details, or have suggestions, please directly contact the editor Andy Pasternack at <apastern@josseybass.com>.

Keep your E-mail Address Up to Date in APHA’s Directory

To receive e-mail notification that your Section or SPIG newsletter is online, and to receive other infrequent but important notices, APHA must have your correct e-mail address. You can provide or update your e-mail address yourself with the APHA’s online membership directory at <www.apha.org/intro_private.cfm>. Be sure to leave the decline box unchecked—this allows the Statistics Section to be able to send information to you about the section.

You will only need your user name (personal APHA Member ID) and password (first initial of your first name followed by your last name, e.g.: password for Joe Smith is “jsmith”). You can find your APHA Member ID number on the very top of all mailing labels for your subscriptions to the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Health. You can also click on a link on the Members Only page, <www.apha.org/private>, to have your Member ID e-mailed to you.

Call for Nominations : American Statistical Association Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award

The newly created Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award (EISRA) of the American Statistical Association encourages and recognizes members of the communications media who best display a commitment to statistics and to advancing the role of the media in the science of statistics in public life. The Award rewards outstanding, innovative, and influential communications of important statistical information to a broad segment of the general public. The award consists of a $500. prize, an inscribed plaque, and a proclamation that describes the accomplishments leading to the award. The award will be announced at a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Toronto, Canada, in August, 2004.

The 2004 EISRA Selection Committee is Donald A. Berry, Ph.D. (chair), University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center M. Elizabeth Halloran, M.D., D.Sc., Emory University John Rolph, PhD, University of Southern California Eligibility Writers, commentators, reporters, radio announcers, sports information personnel, promotions/marketing personnel, and photographers are eligible, regardless of medium, to receive the Award. Organizations that offer or use communications media as their primary product are eligible for the Excellence in Statistical Reporting Award. Uses of the media to promote the sale of commercial products are ineligible. Writers and organizations may nominate themselves, and others are encouraged to nominate contributions that exemplify the selection criteria listed below.

Selection Criteria: The award can be given for a single statistical presentation or for sustained worthy contributions that bring credit to the statistical profession. Consideration will be given to:
-- Correctness, clarity, fairness, brevity, and professionalism
-- Importance, relevance and overall effectiveness in affecting the intended audience
-- Impact on the growth, and national or regional exposure, of statistics
-- Appreciation of and emphasis on the statistical aspects of a particular issue or event
-- Excellent coverage of research on statistics or statistical issues

Nomination
ASA members and media members are eligible to nominate any individual or organization that fits the above criteria. Works published, broadcast, or televised during the twelve (12) months ended March 31, 2004, are eligible. Nomination forms are available from the Public Affairs Office of the American Statistical Association or from the web at http://www.amstat.org/comm/EISRA/. Nominations should be accompanied by supporting documentation. For nominations of organizations, please include the name, address, and telephone number of a representative of the nominated organization who would be an appropriate initial contact for the Award Committee. Nominations are due April 1, 2004.

Please send nominations to:
Professor M. Elizabeth Halloran
Department of Biostatistics
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
1518 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta GA 30322 USA
Or electronically: mehallo@sph.emory.edu