Washington Statistical Society
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October 2004



The balloting results are in and the following people were elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington Statistical Society:

President-elect - Clyde Tucker
Treasurer - John Finamore
Methodology Program Chair - Jonaki Bose
Representatives at Large - Michael Sinclair and Leslie Wallace

A round of applause goes to the following individuals who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Society (ASA). This honor goes to:

R. Raymond Bosecker, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA
Jai Won Choi, National Center for Health Statistics
Michael P. Cohen, Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Trena Ezzati-Rice, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Susan Hinkins, NORC
Partha Lahiri, University of Maryland
David Marker, Westat
Tom Petska, Statistics of Income Division, IRS
Eric Slud, University of Maryland
Mike Stoto, RAND Corporation
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2003-04 Year In Review

Being President of the WSS this last year has been a wonderful experience. We had a very busy and successful year, which could not have been accomplished without the great number of volunteers, especially the members of the Board of Directors.

The WSS held 30 sessions, 4 quantitative literacy activities, and 5 special events. The sessions included 14 sponsored by Methodology, 4 by Economics, 3 by Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the others by Quality Assurance, Short Courses, Public Health and Biostatistics, and Statistical Computing. Paul Biemer of RTI gave the Hansen Lecture. The two short courses were "Privacy, Confidentiality, and the Protection of Health Data: A Statistical Perspective on the HIPPA Privacy Rule" and "Analysis of Complex Survey Data."

The annual dinner was a great success, with Alan Zaslavsky of Harvard University giving the keynote speech and receiving the Gertrude M. Cox award. Jeri Mulrow was the recipient of the WSS' ASA Chapter Service Award, which is only presented every third year.

In the September 2003 newsletter I said my hope for the year was to "Expand our Influence." We had 5 special events that focused on this theme. In October, we had "The Role of Statistics in Achieving the Dream, 40 years since Dr. Martin Luther King's speech." In December we held the 6th WSS QA in Government Symposia. In April we presented the first WSS Special Award for Excellence in Reporting Statistics to John Berry. In May we held a panel discussion of "The Role of Statistics in Desegregation" on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Finally in June, the President's Invited Session featured Andrew Kohut of the Pew Center for the People and the Press. I look forward to the WSS continuing to reach out and share our expertise on issues that will arise in the future.

Over 1,100 (non-unique) people attended WSS sessions during the year!

We also took the lead in supporting bills in Congress to establish a Bureau of Environmental Statistics within the EPA, getting the ASA and the ASA Section on Statistics and the Environment to write additional letters of support.

We took a hard look at our expenses and found we could lower dues by $2 per year. We also re-examined electronic newsletter distribution and found that if we can eliminate paper newsletters to all but those who really have no other option, we can lower dues much more. We began the process of switching to electronic elections, which will hopefully be in place for our elections next spring.

Finally, the WSS was honored to have 11 of the 56 people who were named Fellows of the ASA in 2004. Congratulations to all, and thanks again to everyone who helped make this a great year for the WSS.

David Marker

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The 2004 Morris Hansen Lecture

The Morris Hansen Lecture will occur from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 at the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building of the Department of Agriculture. The title of this year's lecture is "Bridging the Gap: NCHS's Experience Transitioning to the 1997 Standards for Collecting Data on Race and Ethnicity." The speaker is Jennifer Madans of the National Center for Health Statistics. The discussants are Clyde Tucker of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Robert Hill of Westat, Inc. The contact is Roger Tourangeau at 301-314-7984 or email at RTourang@Survey.umd.edu. Further details on the lecture will appear in the November issue of the WSS NEWS.

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Reminder to Paper Newsletter Recipients

As announced in our April newsletter, the WSS is working toward eliminating hard copy newsletters except for those members who do not have access to email or who express a preference to continue the hard copy version. Fewer than a dozen members have expressed a preference for the hard copy version, but we continue to mail several hundred copies each month at a cost of about a dollar per copy. You can help speed the conversion by sending a note to Vince Massimini (svm@mitre.org), our electronic newsletter distributor, with your email address and ASA member number, which appears in the upper left corner of your WSS newsletter mailing label. The electronic newsletter is sent in the text of an email and as a pdf attachment. Joining the electronic distribution list will also give you access to time-sensitive announcements that are not available to hard copy newsletter recipients. Be assured that the WSS does not share its email list. If you wish to continue receiving the newsletter in hard copy, please contact our secretary, Courtney Reiser, at 301-763-4142.

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Mid-Atlantic Regional Probability & Statistics Day

November 13, 2004

This year's Mid-Atlantic Regional Probability and Statistics Day will be held Saturday, 13 November 2004, at the Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, located approximately midway between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. This informal meeting provides an opportunity for professionals in academia, government, business and industry to meet and communicate recent findings and discuss common interests. Informal talks on all aspects of probability and statistics are invited, including discussions of preliminary and on-going work. Participation by graduate students is also encouraged.

For more information, contact:

Joseph D. Warfield
The Johns Hopkins Universit
Applied Physics Laboratory, Room 24-E135
Laurel, MD&nbps; 20723-6099
phone: (240) 228-5580/Washington and (443) 778-5580/Baltimore
e-mail: joseph.warfield@jhuapl.edu
fax: (240) 228-8240

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Federal Committee On Statistical Methodology Statistical Policy Seminar

Achieving Statistical Quality in a Diverse and Changing Environment
December 15-16, 2004

The Seventh in a Series of Seminars Hosted by COPAFS (The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics)

Participants will Include Statistician, Economists, and Managers, as well as Others in the Broader Statistical Community who Share an Interest in the Quality of Federal Data

Support Provided by:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Energy Information Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Social Security Administration
  • Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Census Bureau


  • Standards for Statistical Surveys
  • Agency Initiatives to Monitor Survey Quality
  • Recent Advances in Measuring Quality Assurance
  • Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?
  • Integrated Survey Designs: Analytical Enhancements Achieved Through Linkage of Surveys, Administrative and Secondary Data
  • Telephone Surveys in a Changing Environment
  • Incentives in Government Surveys: Practices and Perspectives
  • Web Surveys: A Research Agenda For a Changing Environment
  • Advisory Panels: Seeking user Feedback to Improve the Quality of Statistical Programs
  • Researcher Access to Confidential and Micro Data From Home Institutions
  • Data Mining: Policy Implications and Applications
  • Tools, Policy, and Procedures for Survey Improvement

Keynote Address: Richard Kulka, Research Triangle Institute

Location: The Holiday Inn Select, 8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland

Cost: $150.00 per person

For Further Information, Contact the COPAFS Office at:
Phone: 703-836-0404, Fax: 703-684-3410 and Email: copafs@aol.com

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SIGSTAT Topics for Fall 2004

October 13, 2004 - R for the non-S Experts, Speaker: Mike Fleming

With the rise in popularity of Linux, there has occurred a concurrent rise in popularity of free software. This popularity arises not necessarily because the software is free, but because of the free software's usually unsurpassed reliability and utility. R is recognized for the same reasons. Its popularity comes from the highly successful S language which it emulates and from a very active international community of accomplished statisticians who develop R for the statistical analyst, in fact, the developer of S, John Chambers a fellow at Bell Labs, is a core developer of R. This presentation will explain how R can be installed and will offer a brief tutorial on getting started with emphasis on demonstrating the ease of making graphs of data..

November 10, 2004 - ODS Statistical Graphics, Speaker: Linda Atkinson

On an experimental basis in SAS 9.1, a number of SAS/STAT procedures support an extension to the Output Delivery System (ODS) to create statistical graphics as automatically as tables. This facility is referred to as ODS Statistical Graphics (or ODS Graphics for short). With ODS Graphics, a procedure creates the graphs that are most commonly needed for a particular analysis. Using ODS Graphics eliminates the need to save numerical results in an output data set, manipulate them with a DATA step program, and display them with a graphics procedure.

December 8, 2004 - PROC MIXED - Part 7: Generalized Linear Mixed Models, Speaker: Charlie Hallahan

We continue with the topic begun in October 2003. In the June 2004 meeting, the difference between general linear models and models using generalized estimating equations (GEE's) was covered. The available correlation structures in PROC GENMOD were discussed and GENMOD was used to fit a longitudinal data model. To wrap up this topic, the concepts behind generalized linear mixed models are discussed and a longitudinal data model is fit using the GLIMMIX macro.

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 December 2004 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than October 26, 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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