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June 2007


WSS Board Annual Open Meeting

The June meeting of the WSS Board is the one meeting per year that is open to all members. This is the "changing of the guard" with both the outgoing and incoming board members, and a good opportunity to put a face with the names on the back page of the newsletter. So, grab your lunch, and come join us on Tuesday June 26 at 12:30 pm in the BLS conference center.

To attend the open board meeting at Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will need to:

  1. E-mail name, affiliation, and name of seminar to wss_seminar@bls.gov (underscore after 'wss') at least 2 days in advance of the seminar or call 202-691-7524 and leave a message.

  2. Bring a photo ID.

BLS is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave NE. Take the Red Line to Union Station.

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2007 Annual Dinner

The WSS Annual Dinner will be held Wednesday, June 27, 2007, at China Garden in Arlington, VA. Further details appear on the last page of this issue. Francesca Dominici of Johns Hopkins University and winner of the Gertrude M. Cox Award will be out Guest Speaker.

As always,this event provides a great opportunity to spend time with friends and make new acquaintances. We look forward to seeing you there!

Download the flyer (pdf) to register for the dinner and to find our more.

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Happy 50th Anniversary, National Health Interview Survey

Registration has opened for the National Health Interview Survey's 50th anniversary Commemorative Conference to be held on Monday, June 25, 2007 in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2007; the NHIS has been fielded continuously since 1957. To mark the occasion, NCHS is holding a one-day conference on June 25, 2007 at its site in Hyattsville, Maryland (in Metropolitan Washington, D.C.). See conference information at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhis/nhis_fifty.htm and watch that site for updates.

Poster Contest winners: Congratulations to our NHIS Poster Contest winners!! We have chosen the winners and will post them on the above Web site soon. The winning posters will be presented at the conference.

Registration and conference information: There will be no registration fee for the conference, but we are asking those who wish to attend to submit a registration form AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, as space is limited, and that will also expedite entry to the NCHS building when you arrive. Please obtain a copy of the registration form from the above-mentioned Web site and return it to us as instructed.

Conference Program:

Some highlights of the conference program include:

  • Stories from the Field: Insiders' tales of what it's like to be an NHIS interviewer
  • A conversation with NCHS Directors: Musings and memories from the present NCHS Director and four former NCHS Directors
  • Did we really used to do that? Changes over time in the way the NHIS learned about peoples' race and ethnicity
  • A talk on "Federal statistics, values, and the NHIS" by Bob Groves, Research Professor at the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan
  • Presentations by the winners of our NHIS Poster Contest
  • A lunchtime demonstration of the administration of the NHIS questionnaire
  • A birthday cake reception
  • And much more! See the full program at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhis/nhis_fifty.htm.

Maps anddirections: The NCHS building is located at 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782. See the NCHS Web site for maps of the area, directions for getting to NCHS (including Metro information), and parking information: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/hyatdir.htm.

Entry to the NCHS building: Visitors must proceed through a security check, sign in with the security guard personnel, and obtain a visitor's pass. Visitors should pre-register for the conference to expedite their entry. Persons who are not U.S. citizens are not permitted inside the NCHS building unless they have previously applied for and received permission to enter. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact Brenda LaRochelle at least 3 weeks before the conference to make appropriate arrangements.

If you need help or information, contact: Brenda LaRochelle, BlaRochelle@cdc.gov, 301-458-4686

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Arthur Kennickell to Receive the 2007 Julius Shiskin Award

Arthur B. Kennickell, Senior Economist and Head of the Microeconomic Surveys Unit at the Federal Reserve Board, will receive the 2007 Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics. The award recognizes Dr. Kennickell for his leadership of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances and his achievements as an international expert on the design and implementation of household economic surveys. Through his efforts, the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) has become the world's pre-eminent wealth survey. Dr. Kennickell becomes the 33rd person to be honored with this award, which is given for outstanding innovation in economic statistics research and applications. He will be honored at separate events this year hosted by the three organizations sponsoring the award: the Washington Statistical Society at its annual dinner on June 27 and the Business and Economics Section of the American Statistical Association and the National Association for Business Economics at their annual meetings later this year.

Dr. Kennickell manages the SCF, a triennial survey of U.S. households sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board. The SCF is designed to provide detailed information on households' balance sheets and their use of financial services, as well as on their incomes, pensions, labor force participation, and demographic characteristics. The need to measure financial characteristics for all households imposes special requirements on the sample design for the survey. The survey is expected to provide reliable information both on attributes that are broadly distributed across the population such as home ownership and on those that are highly concentrated in a relatively small part of the population for example, ownership of closely held businesses. To address this requirement, the SCF employs a dual-frame sample design consisting of both a standard, geographically based random sample and a special over-sample of relatively wealthy families. Dr. Kennickell has made significant contributions to the theoretical basis and the methodology for the implementation of such a complex survey design.

In addition to managing the SCF, Dr. Kennickell has contributed significantly to the professional statistics literature on such methodological topics as sample design, nonresponse effects, weighting design, techniques for imputations for missing observations, disclosure security, and data quality. He has also written insightful articles about the nature of the SCF data, as well as articles that have interpreted the economic meaning of the survey results. These articles have substantially enhanced the understanding of policymakers, professional statisticians, economists and the general public. As a consequence, the SCF is the authoritative source of information on the ownership and distribution characteristics of U.S. household wealth, and the standard of quality against which household surveys around the world are compared.

In recognition of his achievements and extraordinary expertise, Dr. Kennickell has advised government and non-governmental organizations, both in the United States and abroad, on the design and implementation of household surveys. In recent years he has played an active international role, serving as a member of the steering committee of the Luxembourg Wealth Study since 2004, and as an advisor to the European Central Bank since 2006. Dr. Kennickell was elected a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1998, served as the member of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology since 2002 and as a member of the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research since 2004. He also has been a member of the editorial board of the Review of Income and Wealth since 1994.

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Announcement of the 2007 WSS Election

The 2007 WSS election will be held online from Monday, May 7th through Friday, June 8th. Instructions on voting will be sent to members the first week of May. Below are the candidates for this year's election. All WSS members are urged to vote once the balloting begins. The results will be announced at the WSS Annual Dinner on June 27th.

Candidates For President (select one)

Mel Kollander, SciMetrika, LLC

Mel Kollander serves as the Director of D.C. Operations and Chief Survey Methodologist for SciMetrika, LLC. Previously he served as the head of the Survey Methods Unit of the National Centre for Social Research in London, the founder and Director of Temple University's Institute for Survey Research Washington Office, and the Senior Statistician, Manager, and Principal Survey Methodologist for the USEPA. While with EPA, he spent six years as an advisor to the World Health Organization and Kuwait Government. Kollander is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, a member of the International Association of Survey Statisticians, a member of the American Statistical Association, and member of the Washington Statistical Society, where he served on the board as video librarian for six years and currently serves as co-chair of the Agriculture and National Resources Program. He was the 2006 recipient of the Washington Statistical Society President's Award.

Kollander received a BS in Statistics and Operations Research from New York University in 1962 and an MA in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1964. He has served as guest lecturer, written chapters for several books, published papers and participated in workshops. He was the lead author of the EPA's Survey Management Handbook—this manual is now in its second edition and is used as a guideline for EPA staff and contractors when conducting surveys. He serves as Chair of the Bronx High of Science DC Chapter and Treasurer of the NYU Stern School DC Chapter.

Karol Krotki, RTI

Karol Krotki is currently Senior Research Statistician at RTI where he has worked since 2003. He is Manager of the Survey Research Program in the Statistics and Epidemiology Unit. Prior to RTI, he worked at various private, government, and international organizations primarily as a survey statistician.

Karol received his Ph.D. in Sociology (Population Studies) and a Masters in Statistics from the University of Michigan. He studied sampling and survey theory and practice under Dr. Leslie Kish and he has over 30 years of experience in most phases of survey methodology, especially sampling and statistical analysis. He has been a member of ASA for over 30 years and a member of WSS for over 10 years during which term he served as Methodology Section Chair in 1996-1998. He was also President of AAPOR-DC in 1999 and serves on the AAPOR Education Committee.

Candidates for Survey Methodology Section Chair (select one)

Keith Rust, Westat

Keith Rust is a Vice President and Associate Director of the Statistical Group at Westat, where he has been for over 20 years. He is also a Research Professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the ASA and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He has previously served on the executive committees of both the Survey Research Methods and Social Statistics Sections of the ASA. He was formerly a member of the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences, and was Chair of the Committee's Panel on Alternative Census Methodologies for the 2000 Census.

Robert Baskin, AHRQ

Robert Baskin is a senior mathematical statistician with over 20 years of experience in project management for a full range of statistical projects and a broad range of statistical consulting. At the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), he is responsible for statistical consulting across the Agency and for conducting statistical research. Since joining AHRQ, Dr. Baskin has worked on a variety of statistical projects including estimating random effects models using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), evaluating the impact of imputation on variance estimation for MEPS expenditure data, and carrying out numerous statistical consulting projects relating to healthcare research and policy. Dr. Baskin has consulted on a range of statistical issues within AHRQ including variance estimation using complex survey data, Bayesian modeling, predictive inference, and sample size determination. Dr. Baskin holds a BA in mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a PhD degree in statistics from the University of Florida.

Before joining AHRQ, Dr. Baskin worked at Westat where he was associated with projects such as evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign; sample redesign for the Drug Abuse Warning Network; and regulatory support for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water. In previous work for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dr. Baskin supervised and took part in statistical work related to the Consumer Price Index.

Candidates for WSS Representatives At Large (select two)

Johnny Blair, Abt Associates

Johnny Blair is Abt Associate's Senior Survey Methodologist and Director of Abts' Cognitive Testing Laboratory. Over the course of his career, he has managed survey operations, designed surveys for both population and business establishment research, and conducted methodological research in several areas, including sampling for rare populations, measurement error in proxy reporting, and the design and the analysis of cognitive interviews for pretesting. He has served on committees for the National Academy of Sciences, American Statistical Association and NCES, among others. From 1994-1999, he served on the editorial board of Public Opinion Quarterly.

His publications include "Survey Pretesting: Do Different Methods Produce Different Results?" (with Stanley Presser), "Aspects of Data Quality in Cognitive Interviews: The case of verbal reports," (with Frederick Conrad), "Dual Frame Web-Telephone Sampling for Rare Groups" (with Edward Blair), and the book Designing Surveys: A guide to decisions and procedures 2nd edition (with Ronald Czaja).

Jeri Metzger Mulrow, NSF

Jeri Metzger Mulrow is a Senior Mathematical Statistician at the National Science Foundation where she provides a broad range of statistical and survey expertise to the Division of Science Resources Statistics. She has been a member of the Washington Statistical Society for 20 years and has served on the WSS board on the Short Course committee and as Social Chair.

Jeri has worked in academia, government and the private sector gaining a broad view of statistical applications. She has held positions at Ernst & Young (Senior Manager in the Quantitative Economics and Statistics Group), NORC, IRS Statistics of Income Division, NIST and the University of Southern Illinois. She is an active member of the ASA serving on the Committee of Sections Governing Board.

Brian A. Harris-Kojetin, OMB

Present Position: Statistician, U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2001. Former Positions: Senior Project Leader, Arbitron Inc., 1998-2001. Research Psychologist, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1992-1998. Degrees: Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Minnesota. Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Religious Studies, University of Denver. Fields of Major Statistical Activities: Survey methodology, survey nonresponse, data quality, confidentiality. Publications: "Implementing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002" (with Katherine K. Wallman) Chance, 2004. "Exploring the relation of economic and political conditions with refusal rates to a government survey" (with Clyde Tucker), Journal of Official Statistics, 1999. Proceedings of the Section on Survey Research Methods, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. ASA Activities and Offices Held: Government Statistics Section Program Chair 2005, ASA Survey Review Committee, WSS Public Policy Chair, Roger Herriot Award Committee.

Joy Sharp, BTS

Joy Sharp is a statistician at the Research and Innovative Technology Administration where she has worked for last six years as part of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). She is currently co-manager of the Commodity Flow Survey and has been actively involved in the design, development and management of several passenger travel and freight surveys. In addition, she has 12 years experience working on health, housing and income surveys at the U.S. Census Bureau, and two years of experience as a consultant while working for the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Survey Research Center. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Mathematics from Jacksonville State University and an M.S. in Survey Methodology from the University of Maryland.

Candidate for Secretary (select one)

Chris Moriarity, NCHS

Chris Moriarity is a Mathematical Statistician in the Division of Health Interview Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Chris previously worked at the Census Bureau from 1986 to 1993, in the Office of Research and Methodology at NCHS from 1993 to 2002, and at the Government Accountability Office from 2002 to 2005. He served on the FCSM subcommittee that produced Statistical Policy Working Paper 31, "Measuring and Reporting Sources of Error in Surveys". He received a Ph.D. in Statistics from The George Washington University in 2001.

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Pew and JEHT Foundation Target Statistics and Mathematics Fields with $2 Million in Grants

The Pew Center on the States (www.pewcenteronthestates.org), a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the JEHT Foundation have announced $2 million in grants available to help diagnose how well U.S. elections are run and plan pilot projects to be conducted in 2007 and 2008.

The request for proposals (RFP) is part of a larger Pew initiative called Make Voting Work. Make Voting Work is focused on improving the accuracy, convenience, efficiency and security of U.S. elections. Proposals will be accepted through June 4, 2007.

Statisticians and mathematicians are key target audiences for the RFP and are strongly encouraged to apply. Pew believes that these experts can help diagnose core problems by identifying ways to effectively audit election results, measure the accuracy or identify anomalies in voter registration lists, and make other contributions.

For more information please visit www.pewcenteronthestates.org to read the RFP or FAQ with details on how to apply and get connected with potential partners.

The Pew Center on the States point of contact is Scott Cody, Research Director (scody@pewcenteronthestates.org).

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SRMS Continuing Education Courses
JSM 2007, Salt Lake City

The SRMS is pleased to co-sponsor the following two short courses during the Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City.

Latent Class Analysis of Survey Error, Saturday July 28 - Paul Biemer will present a statistical framework for modeling and estimating classification error in surveys. The course begins by examining some of the early models for survey measurement error. Then these models are cast in a general latent class modeling (LCM) framework where the true values of a variable are assumed to be unobserved (latent) and a survey response constitutes a single indicator of the latent variable. The course covers the basic concepts of the classical measurement error model, particularly as it applies to categorical data, and how to construct the likelihood functions for a range of latent class models and determine their identifiability. The course will introduce the students to the EM software for fitting a wide-range of LCMs which can be downloaded from the Web at no charge.

Individuals in government, universities, business and nonprofit organizations who are involved in the development, implementation or evaluation of surveys will find this course useful. The course content is accessible to anyone having an intermediate background in statistics and sampling methods.

Modeling and Data Analysis for Complex Surveys, Sunday July 29 - Jay Breidt and Jean Opsomer will present this one day short course. The course will review the main aspects of surveys that affect data analysis and model fitting, including stratification, clustering, calibration, survey weights, nonresponse and imputation. The students will acquire a thorough understanding of the issues involved in model fitting and analysis for survey data and will become aware of the statistical issues related to informative designs and their effect on estimates. The course will describe and compare model-based and design-based approaches to estimation and inference with complex survey data, review available software, and illustrate with example data sets.

This course is aimed at researchers with a basic background in statistical theory and methods who need to analyze complex survey data. No previous background in survey sampling is assumed.

For more information about the content to be covered in each of these courses refer to http://wwww.amstat.org/meetins/jsm/2007/onlineprogram, or contact Leyla Mohadjer at leylamohadjer@westat.com.

Anyone who has suggestions for short course topics or is interested in finding out more about how to submit a proposal to teach a short course at a future JSM conference should contact Leyla Mohadjer at leylamohadjer@westat.com.

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26 Courses on Program Research and Evaluation
July 16-28, 2007
George Washington University Education Center
Arlington, VA

Details at: http://www.evaluatorsinstitute.com/current_program_dc_2007.php or call 302-644-0990.

Courses are provided by The Evaluators' Institute and taught by highly acclaimed scholar/researcher/practitioners from three countries.

Plenty of opportunities each day to interact and network with 80-130 high-level individuals who are on the ground and doing the real work of analyzing important policies and programs. Participants have come from over 70 countries plus all the United States and represent government agencies, international organizations, nonprofits, consulting firms, universities, school systems, churches, medical centers, and more.

All courses count toward one/more Certificates for Professional Evaluators. One can earn the first-level Certificate in Evaluation Practice in less than a year and attendance at three programs.

For info on the Certificate program, see http://www.evaluatorsinstitute.com/certificate_program_overview.php or contact the TEI Director.

Courses are offered in San Francisco in January each year, Chicago in April, and in the Washington, DC, area in July.

Call us to hold space for you while you are getting your paperwork through your system. Call as soon as you can since many of the July courses are more than half full.

Hope to see you soon.

Midge Smith

MFSmith, PhD, Director
The Evaluators' Institute

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Students' Corner

On April 28th,I attended the Mid-Atlantic Probability and Statistics Day held at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). As the name implies, the event is more or less local based and universities in the area rotate to host the event every one and a half years (as far as I understand). It was a small-size conference with about 100 attendees and was a very good arena for students to make oral and poster presentations.

Besides the invited speakers' presentations, there were twelve student oral presentations and eight poster presentations that were contributed by nine students. It was such a great opportunity to learn about the type and quality of dissertation research that students in other universities are doing. I also enjoyed talking with presenters of poster sessions about their research as well as about their graduate programs.

These student presentations were evaluated by panels of judges who are faculty members or working statisticians, and the Student Award winners were selected. The winners are:

Oral presentation:

1st place: Seunggeun Hyun (NICHD/UNCC)
2nd place: Sheng Luo (Johns Hopkins University)
3rd place: Aarti Gupta (UMBC)

Poster presentation:

1st place: Will Gretes and Justin Newcomer (UMBC)
2nd place: Ravi K. Siddani (UMBC)
3rd place: Fatma Shebl (UMBC)

Congratulations to all the winners!

Youcan find more details about this event at: http://www.umbc.edu/circ/hosting/ProbStatDay2007/index.html.

If you are looking for opportunities to present your dissertation research or projects, look out for the next Mid-Atlantic Probability and Statistics Day!

Finally, Iwould like to acknowledge tremendous efforts made by all the organizers to make this event successful: especially Prof. Bimal Sinha at UMBC, who was the contact person for the event, and the graduate students at UMBC who volunteered to help organize this event.

That's all I have for this month. If you have any feedback on this column or ideas of topics for future issues, please send an email to me at hikawa@gwu.edu.

Hiro Hikawa
The George Washington University

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the Summer issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than July 5, 2007. E-mail items to Michael Feil at michael.feil@usda.gov.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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