Messsage From the Chair
First, let me again thank you for the privilege of chairing the Statistics Section. It is an honor to work with the leadership team we have this year and to follow in the footsteps of others over the past 100 years. What a celebration we had in San Diego for our 100th Anniversary! I know that all who were there had a great time. Special thanks are due to Marcia Testa for organizing the celebration (along with her committee of planners) and to Larry Moulton for the expanded and innovative booth in the exhibit area (along with those who staffed the booth).
As we head into our second century, we and APHA have a challenge to keep our membership up in these harder economic times. APHA is already experiencing some loss of members. I think our Section can do several things in this regard. One is to recruit new members. Bill Pan has suggested recruitment booths at several meetings of statisticians throughout the year, and we are checking into the cost of doing so and whether our budget can handle it. A second challenge is to retain membership. Recruitment and retention hinge on offering services and opportunities not available elsewhere.
Over the years I have personally benefited from APHA services and opportunities: to present papers, to recruit new employees, to interact with other public health statisticians and other professions, and to serve APHA and my profession through my Section and on APHA Committees, Councils and Boards. I have found all of this to be very rewarding.
I also think we need to provide statisticians with other reasons to belong to APHA as opposed to other organizations. One way would be to develop a public health statistics research agenda. This would help distinguish us from other statistical areas and legitimize us as a group. If you have ideas for such an agenda, I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, think about presenting a paper at the meetings this year in Philadelphia to start off our new century right!
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100th Year Celebration of the Statistics Section
At the 2008 APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego, the Statistics Section celebrated our 100th anniversary. We are the oldest active section in APHA. In 1906, Dr. Cressy Wilbur wrote a resolution to the Governing Board of APHA at the Mexico City Annual Meeting calling for the creation of a Vital Statistics Section. The formation of the Section was completed at the Atlantic City Annual Meeting in June 1907. At the 1908 Annual Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the inaugural address by its first chair was given by John N. Hurty, State Health Commissioner of the Indiana State Board of Health (1896-1922). The Section eventually abbreviated its name to “Statistics Section” to emphasize its multidisciplinary scope.
In the 2008 Opening Session of the San Diego Annual Meeting, which was attended by thousands of APHA members, the 100th anniversaries of the Statistics Section and the Health Administration Section were recognized in a short presentation of plaques to the chairs of those Sections by APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin. We continued our celebration at the Section Booth and by combining the Tuesday Section meeting with a cocktail party and dinner dance. More details and pictures of these events are in the following articles.
Statistics Section Booth
This year, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary Celebration, our Section ordered a “triple-wide” booth, i.e. a 30-foot expanse of convention space. It was a regular three ring circus, with the following attractions and giveaways:
1) nice comfy sofa;
2) the traditional try-your-luck roll-and-keep-the-dice;
3) iPod-like calculators with our name emblazoned on them;
4) genuine M&Ms with our name on them;
5) water bottles and travel mugs with our name, for Section members and new members;
6) commemorative poster of “100 Years of Excellence” provided by APHA;
7) 10-foot celebration banner;
8) 8-foot timeline poster;
9) Who We Are poster with pics, quotations, and top 5 reasons to join our Section (#1: We are honestly significantly different);
10) the 100% Confident poster we’ve had for the last 5 years, ever since we were 95% Confident of making it to 100 years;
11) tons of tasty cupcakes with “100” on them;
12) full-size stand-up cutout photo of Lowell Reed, providing many photo-ops with him;
13) “tea-test” competition to guess how many teabags were in a plastic pitcher—object was to provide the smallest interval estimate that covered the true value.
Particular thanks go to Amy Donaldson, Amy Ferketich, and Bill Pan for their contributions to the booth.
Dr. Marcia Testa and Dr Lowell Reed ‘sitting down’ on the job
As for the tea-test competition: the answer is 159 teabags. The mean of the lower limits (51 entries) was 156, mean of the upper limits 191, i.e. biased high. The contest was won by Beth Hedt with the interval: [140, 160]. She won a copy of Applied Spatial Statistics for Public Health Data by Lance Waller and Carol Gotway (thanks Wiley for the donation!) . Runner-up Diane Ballerino-Regan won two SAS books (thanks SAS!): by Pharmaceutical Statistics Using SAS by Dmitirenko et al, and SAS for Mixed Models, Second edition by Littell et al.
Videos of the booth, and of our Sunday Business meeting, are on YouTube.com — both may be found with the search term: APHA Statistics.
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Spiegelman, Section and Student Awards and Lowell Reed Lecture
Before the Lowell Reed Lecture the Spiegelman, Section and Student awards were presented.
The Spiegelman award was presented to Hongyu Zhao, professor of public health, Department of Biostatistics, Yale University. He is the Director of the Yale Center for Statistical Genomics and Proteomics. The research at the Center involves the development of mathematical, statistical and computational methods to address scientific questions raised in molecular biology and genetics.
Dr. Hongyu Zhao with Spiegelman Award
The Statistics Section Academic Award was presented to Bruce Levin for his contributions to the development of innovative designs for clinical trials of medical interventions and HIV, his success in promoting a focus on participant safety in behavioral trials, and his commitment to educating public health students.
Bruce Levin with Academic Award
Louie Woolbright received the Statistics Section Government Award for his dedication to the study of maternal and child health through the analysis, interpretation and reporting of mortality and risk factor data at the state level and his leadership role in the Alabama vital statistics reporting system.
Louie Woolbright with Government Award
Marcia Testa received the Industry Award for her leadership in Phase V Technologies, Inc., an organization she co-founded through which she focuses on research related to quality of life and health services delivery, for her longstanding service to the Statistics
Section and her commitment to teaching biostatistics to public health students.
Marcia Testa receiving the Industry Award
Bethany Hedt received the Student Award for her presentation Large county – lot quality assurance sampling. Health surveys for local and regional program management.
Bethany Hedt receiving the Student Award
The Lowell Read lecture was presented by Stanley Lemeshow, PhD, dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health. The title of his lecture was Assessing the scale of continuous covariates in logistic regression modelling.
Lowell Reed Lecturer Stanley Lemeshow, PhD
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Section Officers 2008-2009
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
Gov. Council: Frank Potter
Action Board: Amy Ferketich
Membership: M. Bazle Hossain
Sec. Awards: Amy Ferketich
Webmaster: George Stukenborg
Booth: Larry Moulton
Student Representative: Megan Price
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