Washington Statistical Society
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September 2005



The initiation of electronic voting was a huge success. A record 357 voters (more than double the best turnout in recent years) cast their ballots and elected:

Jill Montaquila

Methodology Program Chair
Don Malec

Representative at Large
Nancy Bates
Larry Cox

Tom Broene

Congratulations are also in order for the WSS members who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Association:

  • Alan H. Dorfman, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Jeffrey S. Passel, Pew Hispanic Center
  • Susan Schechter, Office of Management and Budget
  • Iris M. Shimizu, National Center for Health Statistics
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Dues Reduction Redux

For the second year in a row, the WSS Board of Directors has voted to lower the Sociey's annual dues. Effective January 1, 2006 (that is, for membership years beginning on or after that date), the annual dues will be $7 for full (ASA) members and $9 for associate members. The new figures reflect a $3 reduction below current dues. The reductions this year and last were made possible by the transition to nearly full electronic delivery of the newsletter.

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Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology
2005 Research Conference
November 14-16, 2005

The 2005 Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM) Research Conference will be held November 14-16, 2005 at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia. The Conference provides a forum for experts from around the world to discuss and exchange current research and methodological topics relevant to Federal government statistical programs. Each day of the conference will offer papers on a wide range of topics including the use of advanced technologies for survey design and data collection, processing and dissemination, data mining, data warehousing and metadata, treatment of missing data, improving coverage and response rates, confidentiality and disclosure issues, record linkage, sample design and estimation, cognitive research and usability testing, and data quality. Technical demonstrations on a variety of applications will run concurrently on the second day of the conference. Applications include systems for data warehousing, data analysis, clerical review, and data dissemination. Sessions feature papers and demonstrations by government, private sector, and academic researchers from six countries. In the opening plenary session Miron Straf of the National Academies of Science will discuss "A National Statistical System in a Rapidly Changing World." All paper sessions will include an open discussion and some sessions will include a formal discussion.

Conference Fee: Registration is $150.

For a copy of the advance program and registration information please refer to http://www.fcsm.gov/events/#upcoming.

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Third International Conference on Establishment Surveys
June 18-21, 2007
Hyatt Regency Montreal
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Cosponsored by: American Statistical Association, ASA Section on Survey Research Methods, ASA Section on Government Statistics, International Association of Survey Statisticians, and Statistical Society of Canada

We invite you to submit proposals for invited paper sessions for presentations to the third International Conference on Establishment Surveys (ICES-III) by December 1, 2005. The ICES-III Program Committee will review the proposals and notify session organizers by the end of February, 2006 if their proposal has been accepted or not. The deadline for contributed papers (including topic contributed sessions) will be June 15, 2006.

Details on how to submit the proposal can be found at:

Invited sessions will have four slots of twenty five minutes each. These will be used for three 25-minute presentations, followed by a 15-minute formal discussion, and a ten-minute floor discussion.

The first International Conference on Establishment Surveys (ICES-I) in 1993 convened more than 400 experts in the area of surveys of businesses, farms and institutions. This conference set the stage by formally documenting the state of the art in 1993. In 2000 a second conference took a forward look at methods for surveying businesses, farms and institutions.

The Conference will also include:

  • Three short courses on Monday, June 18
  • A keynote speaker and reception on Monday evening
  • Poster sessions, and software demonstrations throughout the conference
  • Following the conference, a CD ROM of all presented papers will be sent to all Conference participants

Montreal is a city rich in history, art, culture, and learning and sports. It combines the smarts of North America with the laid back insouciance of Europe, high tech and high style. The city's architecture too is an artful mix of old and new, with graceful historic structures lovingly preserved and merged with the cool lines of the 21st century. The visual arts flourish here at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musee D'art Contemporain, and hundreds of top-notch local galleries.

All Conference activities will be held at the Hyatt Regency Montreal. The Hyatt Regency Montreal web site is http://montreal.hyatt.com/. (Hotel reservations will be open on March 1, 2007.)

Attendees from outside Canada, and this could include United States passport holders, must ensure they have the proper travel documents e.g., passport, visa to enter and leave Canada.

Further Conference information can be accessed on the ICES-III Web link provided above.

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As the outgoing President of the WSS, it is both a duty and my privilege to present the following report summarizing the year's activities. I want to thank the many WSS members who contributed to our accomplishments.

John L. Czajka


The major focus of the WSS continues to be its program of seminars, short courses, quantitative literacy activities, and special events. For the year the WSS program sections organized 37 sessions. Methodology had 21. Economics had 5. Agriculture and Natural Resources had 3. Social and Demographic had 2, as did Defense and National Security. Data Collection Methods, Quality Assurance, Statistical Computing, and Public Policy had 1 each. Several of the methodology sessions were devoted to issues in human rights. Because of the quality of these sessions and their strong attendance, the WSS will establish a program section on human rights.

The short course committee hosted two courses. The first was entitled "Sample Survey Methods: Recent Developments and Applications," and was presented by Sharon Lohr. The second was a reprise of a 2004 short course on "Privacy, Confidentiality and the Protection of Health Data: A Statistical Perspective on the HIPAA Privacy Rule," and it was presented by Jacob Bournazian, Steve Cohen, Al Zarate, Donna Eden, Phil Steel, and Neil Russell.

During 2004-2005 WSS members and other professionals in the Washington Metropolitan Area participated in a number of quantitative literacy-oriented activities. Of note were events such as the Girl Scout-sponsored Eco Expo, planning for national engineers week, science fair judging, and annually sponsored competitions such as the Curtis Jacobs prize for statistics projects and the poster competition. During the year more than 20 adults were been involved.

Lastly, as it did two years ago, the WSS once again cosponsored the biennial CDC/ATSDR Symposium on Statistical Methods. This, the 10th Symposium, was held in the Washington area for the first time and had as its topic, "Statistics and Public Health Policy." The two-day Symposium was preceded by a one-day short course, "Nonsampling Error in Survey," presented by William Kalsbeek. The WSS handled registration and other arrangements for the two events, which drew more than 160 attendees.


Our most far-reaching accomplishment this year was the conversion of the monthly newsletter from about half-and-half hard copy and electronic copy delivery to almost fully electronic delivery. This transition will be completed over the summer, when the WSS will update its electronic delivery list to include nearly all of its current membership and eliminate former members who have not responded to requests to renew. In addition, we will establish and implement procedures for updating the mailing list each month to add new members and identify current members who have failed to renew. Welcoming letters will be sent to the new members, and reminders will be sent to the old members whose dues have not yet been received. Until now, the WSS has used hard copy delivery as the default mode for new members, relying on the ASA's monthly mailing labels as the vehicle for adding new members and removing former members who have not requested electronic delivery.


As President, I was invited to make a presentation to the ASA Board of Directors at its mid-March meeting. I discussed the WSS program, its participation in numerous awards, and its initiatives in fuller electronic distribution of the newsletter and the implementation of electronic voting. In addition, as part of a series in the Amstat News featuring the six ASA districts and their chapters, the April issue included an article on the WSS, which is the sole chapter in District 2. Glenn White and Carolee Bush joined me in preparing the article.


The WSS continued to participate in several awards, several of which were announced at the annual dinner. The WSS President's Award was given to Courtney Reiser, Linda Atkinson, and Michael L. Cohen. David Marker received the Past President's Certificate. The Julius Shiskin award for economic statistics was presented to Dr. W. Erwin Diewart of the University of British Columbia. The Roger Herriot award winner will be announced at the Joint Statistical Meetings. The Curtis Jacobs Award was given to Mike Hulse, a student at Oakton High School. The WSS poster competition for elementary and secondary school students had winners in three grade groups. WSS outstanding graduate students were named by four local universities. They are Carol Chang, George Mason University; Fenhua He, The George Washington University; Souhila Kada, American University; and Courtney Kennedy, the University of Maryland. The third annual Gertrude M. Cox Statistics Award, sponsored by RTI International, was presented to Dr. Thomas R. Belin of UCLA. Lastly, the 14th annual Morris Hansen lecture, made possible by a grant from Westat, was presented by Dr. Jennifer Madans of the National Center for Health Statistics.


The election results for terms of office beginning July 1 appear on page 1 of this newsletter. I want to thank and commend Past-President David Marker for the strong slate that he assembled. In addition to these elected positions, Andrew White was appointed to succeed Carolee Bush as Vice Chair for District 2 on the ASA Council of Chapters Governing Board. Andy's three-year term will begin January 1, 2006.

Treasurer's Report

The WSS Treasurer, John Finamore, reports that at the end of June the WSS held $34,047 in total assets. Most of these funds were donated or otherwise acquired to support specific awards or activities, including the Hansen lecture, Gertrude Cox Award, Shiskin Award, and the CDC Symposium. The remaining, general funds totaled $9,369.


Finally, the WSS board's decision to reduce the annual dues by $3, following a $2 reduction last year, was reported earlier in this newsletter.

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Email Delivery

If you did not receive this issue electronically and you have not notified us that you wish to receive the newsletter in hardcopy, please send your preferred email address to svm@mitre.org and indicate that this is your address for the WSS newsletter. To continue to receive the newsletter in hard copy, contact the WSS secretary at courtney.nreiser@census.gov or (301) 763-4142.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the November issue of the WSS NEWS should be submitted no later than September 27, 2005. 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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