Washington Statistical Society
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April 2004


Message From The President

We have very good news. The WSS Board of Directors has voted to lower dues by $2 a year. Full WSS membership for members of the ASA will now be $10, while associate membership (non- ASA members) will become $12. Student membership will remain $4. This reduction was based on a review of our finances, and will go into effect in July of 2004.

A review of our finances found that over 80 percent of our current expenses are due to mailing hard copy newsletters to those who have not asked for electronic mailings. The only way we can afford this reduction of dues, is by eliminating hard copy newsletters by the end of this calendar year. The electronic version is identical to the hard copy, but arrives much quicker. We believe that the overwhelming majority of our members have access to a computer, either at home, at work, or through a friend who can print out a copy for you. If you currently receive the hard copy version, please send your email address and ASA membership number (if you are an ASA member) to Vince Massimini, our electronic newsletter distributor, at svm@mitre.org, as soon as possible. (The ASA membership number is a 4 to 6-digit number that appears on the labels of your Amstat News and WSS newsletters which allows us to uniquely identify you on our membership list.) Each month, Vince sends out the newsletter in the text of an email, along with a pdf attachment version. This newsletter is also posted on our website at www.csc.gmu.edu/~wss/.

Some people have not provided email addresses in the past due to concerns about spam and other unwanted use of their email address. Rest assured, the WSS will not share your email address with anyone else. If you are a WSS member who does not have access to a computer or prefer to continue to receive the newsletter by regular mail please contact our secretary, Courtney Reiser, at 301-763- 4142.

We will re-examine our finances based on the number of members who still request mailed newsletters. Based on how many switch to electronic mail, we hope to further reduce dues, possibly just for those receiving the newsletter electronically.

If anyone has concerns or comments about these changes, please contact me at 301-251-4398, or at davidmarker@westat.com. I'd appreciate hearing from you by May 15th.

To summarize: Dues are going down $2. If you are currently getting the electronic newsletter and not the hard copy, do not do anything. If you currently are receiving both the electronic version and the hard copy, please let Vince know if t is ok, and we will remove you from the hard copy list.

If you are willing to switch to electronic, contact Vince Massimini. If you want to stay with regular mail, contact Courtney Reiser.

Thank you,
David Marker

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Herriot Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are sought for the 2004 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics. After the sudden death in May 1994 of Roger Herriot, an Associate Commissioner for Statistical Standards and Methodology at the National Center for Education Statistics, the Washington Statistical Society, the Social Statistics and Government Statistics Sections of the American Statistical Association established an award in his memory to recognize individuals who develop unique approaches to the solution of statistical problems in Federal data collection programs.

The award is intended to reflect the special characteristics that marked Roger Herriot's career.

  • Dedication to the issues of measurement;
  • Improvements in the efficiency of data collection programs; and
  • Improvements and use of statistical data for policy analysis.

The award is not limited to senior members of an organization, nor is it to be considered as a culmination of a long period of service. Individuals at all levels (from entry to senior), Federal employees, private sector employees, and employees of the academic community, may be nominated on the basis of the significance of the specific contribution.

The recipient of the 2004 Roger Herriot Award will be chosen by a committee of representatives of the Social Statistics Section and Government Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association and a representative of the Washington Statistical Society. Roger Herriot was associated with and strongly supportive of these organizations during his career. The award consists of an honorarium of $1,000.00 and a framed citation.

Joseph Waksberg (Westat), Monroe Sirken (National Center for Health Statistics), Constance Citro (National Academy of Sciences), Roderick Harrison (U.S. Census Bureau), Clyde Tucker (Bureau of Labor Statistics), Thomas Jabine (SSA, EIA, CNSTAT), Donald Dillman (Washington State University), Jeanne Griffith (OMB, NCES, NSF), Daniel Weinberg (U. S. Census Bureau), and David Banks (FDA, BTS, NIST) are previous recipients of the Herriot Award.

For more information, contact Phillip S. Kott, Chair of the Roger Herriot Award Committee, 703-235-5211 x 102 or pkott@nass.usda.gov

Nominations must be submitted by April 15. Electronic submissions, via pdf, are permissible. Alternatively, nominations may be mailed to Phillip S. Kott, USDA/NASS, Room 305, 3251 Old Lee Highway, FAIRFAX, VA 22030-1504.

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Stat Day at the University of Maryland, College Park
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Statistics Consortium at the University of Maryland, College Park, will sponsor a Statistics Day on April 20, 2004. The event will be co-sponsored by the Office of Research and Methodology, National Center for Health Statistics, and by the Joint Program in Survey Methodology.

The Stat Day will feature a "Tutorial on Bootstrap Methods with Applications in Complex Surveys" by Professor Randy Sitter, Simon Fraser University, and two lectures for a broad audience by Professors Bradley Efron, Stanford University (Discussant: Professor Carl Morris, Harvard University), and C.R.Rao, Pennsylvania State University (Discussants: Professor Bradley Efron and Dr. Fritz Scheuren, Vice President, NORC).

Pre-registration is required to attend the tutorial. The late afternoon lectures by Professors Efron and Rao are open to the public and registration is not required. The stat day will end with a reception for the presenters and the audience. Food and drinks will be served.

Please visit the UMD Statistics Consortium web site at http://www.statconsortium.umd.edu for updates and details.

Please visit for directions to University of Maryland @ College Park http://www.uga.umd.edu/visit/direct.html.

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Spring Research Conference
11th Annual Spring Research Conference on Statistics in Industry and Technology:
Statistics on Data Streams for Scientific Research and mplementation
May 19-21, 2004
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Maryland

The Spring Research Conference (SRC) is an annual conference jointly sponsored by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences of the American Statistical Association. The SRC provides a continuing forum for promoting statistics in engineering, technology, industry, information and physical sciences. The conference presentations are aimed at statisticians and researchers from corporations, government laboratories, and academic institutions, who use statistics in these disciplines.

Plenary Speakers

  • James Filliben, NIST, "The World Trade Center Collapse: The Critical Role of Statistics"
  • Robert L. Jacobsen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, "Statistical Issues in Particle Physics Experiments"
  • Vijayan N. Nair, University of Michigan, "Statistical Issues in Network Tomography"
  • Donna F. Stroup, Centers for Disease Control, "Measuring the Burden of Disease and Disability"
  • Edward Wegman, George Mason University, "Visualization in Statistics"

Short Course

Barry I. Graubard, National Cancer Institute, "Analysis of Complex Surveys"
Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Please note: Registration for the short course does not require Conference registration.

Registration and Additional Information

Registration for the conference is $185 for non-students and $70 for students. The registration fee covers handouts, coffee breaks, lunches on Wednesday and Thursday, and social events. To register, or for more information, please visit http://www-math.cudenver.edu/SRC2004/, email SRC@math.cudenver.edu, or contact one of the Conference Chairs:

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WSS Short Course:
Privacy, Confidentiality, and the Protection of Health Data: A Statistical Perspective on the HIPAA Privacy Rule

April 27, 2004
Registration Due By April 16, 2004

A number of developments - requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, NIH requirements for data sharing plans for large grants, together with the proliferation of electronic data and the technical means for intrusions into those data - have intensified the need for guidance from statisticians skilled in data protection. In response to a number of requests, the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) and members of the Confidentiality and Data Access Committee (CDAC) are planning a workshop on Privacy, Confidentiality, and the Protection of Health Data -- A Statistical Perspective.

Over the past several decades, a significant body of research has emerged to form what has come to be known as Statistical Disclosure Limitation Techniques. These methods have not been widely disseminated in the health-related areas and yet are very applicable. The purpose of this WSS short course is to provide a basic understanding of the techniques and procedures employed by statisticians and others, to assess disclosure risk in statistical tabulations and electronic data and to minimize this risk to produce analytically useful information. Examples will be drawn from a wide variety of health and medical sources. In addition, the short course will present a review of legal issues related to the confidentiality of health data and, for those cases where a useful data product cannot be safely released or shared, a description of the various means of restricted access currently in use. As part of the course, extensive documentation will be provided to all attendees.

This one-day course, scheduled for April 27, 2004, will cover five areas:

  1. Legal issues relating to the confidentiality of health data;
  2. Assessing disclosure risk;
  3. Statistical disclosure limitation techniques to minimize disclosure risk;
  4. Example of disclosure limitation techniques used to protect health-related data sets; and
  5. Restricted access procedures. >

    About the Speakers:

    • Donna Eden - Office of General Counsel, Health and Human Services
    • Alvan O. Zarate - Confidentiality Officer, National Center for Health Statistics
    • Philip Steel - Statistical Research Division, Census Bureau
    • Jacob Bournazian - Energy Information Administration, Chair of the Confidentiality and Data Access Committee (CDAC)
    • Steve Cohen - Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vice Chair of the Confidentiality and Data Access Committee (CDAC)

    Who Should Attend:

    Professionals (epidemiologists, sociologists, demographers, etc.) who may be called upon to develop disclosure protection in compliance with the HIPAA privacy rule, NIH data sharing requirements, or other situations.

    Schedule for Course:

    The course will be held all day April 27, 2004. Registration will begin at 8:30 A.M. and the class will run from 9 A.M to 4:30 P.M.. There will be coffee and Danish in the morning before class and at the morning break, with beverages and cookies in the afternoon. Lunch will also be provided.


    BLS Conference Center (near Union Station Metro stop)
    Postal Square Building
    2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20212-0001


    WSS Members - $70
    ASA Members - $85
    Other registrants (except students) - $100
    Full-time students - $25

    Please make check payable to Washington Statistical Society. Mail, FAX, or e-mail the registration form (pdf) and send payment by April 16, 2004 to:

    Mary V. Seidenberg
    Support Staff
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
    Gaither Road Rockville, Maryland 20850
    E-mail: mseidenb@ahrq.gov
    Phone Number: 301-427-1650
    Fax Number: 301-427-1276 540

    For more information on this course, please contact the WSS short-course co-chairs:

    Sylvia Dohrmann (SylviaDohrmann@westat.com)
    Trena M. Ezzati-Rice (tezzatir@ahrq.gov)

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    SIGSTAT Topics for Winter 2004

    April 14, 2004: PROC MIXED - Part 6: Generalized Linear Models & Generalized Linear Mixed Models

    Continuing the topic begun in October 2003, the difference between general linear models and models using generalized estimating equations (GEE's) is covered. The available correlation structures in PROC GENMOD are discussed and GENMOD is used to fit a longitudinal data model. Finally, the concepts behind generalized linear mixed models are discussed and a longitudinal data model is fit using the GLIMMIX macro.

    May 5, 2004: Introduction to using Enterprise Guide for Statistical Analysis

    This demo begins with a quick tour through the layout and purpose of Enterprise Guide (EG) as a menu-based interface to SAS procedures. Emphasis will be on the statistical capabilities of EG. In particular, a set of data will serve as a case study for performing exploratory data analysis, estimating a multiple regression model, and examining graphical diagnostics for the model fit. The demo will show how code generated by EG can be customized, stored, and rerun, and custom reports saved with the Document Builder.

    SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the CPCUG, the Capital PC User Group, and WINFORMS, the Washington Institute for Operations Research Service and Management Science.

    All meetings are in Room S3031 (Food Safety and Nutrition Room), 1800 M St, NW from 12:30 to 1:30. Enter the South Tower and take the elevator to the 3rd floor to check in at the guard's desk.

    First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan, 202-694-5051, hallahan@ers.usda.gov and leave their name. Directions to the building and many links of statistical interest can be found at the SIGSTAT website, www.cpcug.org/user/sigstat/

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    Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

    Items for publication in the June 2004 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than April 27, 2004. 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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