News about activities of the Washington Statistical Society
A Chapter of the American Statistical Association

October 1997



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The 1997 Morris Hansen Lecture

The Washington Statistical Society is pleased to announce the seventh in the annual series of lectures to honor the memory of Morris Hansen. This lecture series is made possible by a grant from WESTAT, where Morris Hansen was senior statistician for 20 years, and chairman of the Board of Directors at the time of his death.

The seventh Morris Hansen Lecture will be presented by Norman M. Bradburn. Dr. Bradburn currently serves as senior vice president and director of research at the National Opinion Research Center and as the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology, Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago. For the past four years, he has chaired the Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council/ National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bradburn, a leader in raising statisticians' awareness of the importance of cognitive issues in survey design and methodology, is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the International Statistical Institute, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Three WSS Members Elected Fellows of the American Statistical Association


A round of applause goes out to three WSS members who were recently elected Fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA). This honor goes to:

Cynthia Z.F. Clark, Associate Director for Standards and Methodology, U.S. Bureau of the Census: For contributions to statistical research in government; for mentoring and training efforts to rebuild the government statistical workforce; and for leading change at the Census Bureau.

Steven B. Cohen, Ph.D., Director of Statistical Research and Methodology, Center for Cost and Financing Studies, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research: For contributions to the design of national health care surveys and to statistics on medical expenditures; and for research on sampling and non-sampling errors in national surveys.

James T. Massey, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (awarded posthumously): For innovative development and design of complex sample surveys; for contributions to telephone survey methodology and the acceptance of telephone surveys; and for outstanding service to the profession.

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Phil Kott Receives Medal

Phil Kott, Chief Research Statistician, Research Division, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and who served as the 1996-97 President of WSS, received one of the four 1997 Distinguished Achievement medals awarded by the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics and the Environment at its annual meeting.

The medals are to highlight and emphasize the cross-disciplinary focus of statistics and the environment. Awards focus on distinguished contributions made by academic, governmental, and industrial statisticians, and statistical scientists, working on environmental problems.

The inscription for Phil's award was: For his outstanding contributions to the concepts, applications, and the initiatives for environmental statistics. For his outstanding and innovative statistical support to the Pesticide Data Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, improving the dietary risk assessments of the U.S. EPA.

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SIGSTAT Meetings

SIGSTAT is the Special Interest Group in Statistics for the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) and the Washington Operations Research and Management Science Council (WORMSC). It meets on the second Wednesday of each month.

The October meeting of SIGSTAT features a demonstration of Data Desk for Windows. The meeting is on October 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 in Room 1208, 1301 New York Ave, NW. Data Desk has been available on the Mac platform for years and just recently became available on Intel platforms.

This is the last meeting of SIGSTAT at the New York Ave address. In November my Agency is moving to 1800 M St, NW and future meetings will be in the 2nd Floor Conference Room.

SIGSTAT will not meet in November.

The December meeting of SIGSTAT features a demonstration of ActivStats. The meeting is on December 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 in the 2nd Floor Conference Room, 1800 M St, NW.

Directions to the meeting site and the full schedule is available at http://www.ers.usda.govsigstat/Members/SIGS page of First-time attendees should contact Charlie Hallahan at 202-694-5051 (after October 24) or to leave their name for gaining entrance to the building.

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Call For Ideas For ASA '98

The ASA meetings in Dallas, Texas (" . . . the thrill of a lifetime") on August 9 - 13, 1998 will revolve around the theme, Statistics and Policy. The Government Statistics Section is searching for ideas and organizers for both invited and special contributed sessions following this theme. If you or your colleagues have suggestions, please contact Pat Doyle by e-mail (

Given the chosen theme and the geographic location of WSS with its large contingent of statisticians, policy makers, and policy analysts supporting the administration of federal policy, Pat hopes WSS will generate lots of outstanding suggestions for next years' program. The Government Statistics Section is coordinating its program with the Social Statistics and the Survey Research Methods sections of ASA. Hence, if you think your ideas are better suited for those other sections, Pat will gladly pass them along.

So  .  .  .  Keep those ideas and proposals coming!

Proposals for invited sessions are due to Pat by October 15, 1997. Contact Pat for a list of information to accompany each proposal. Ideas for special contributed sessions can be submitted at any time between now and February 1, 1998, the deadline for submission of abstracts to ASA.

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Washington Statistical Society Video Library

WSS maintains a library of VHS video tapes which can be borrowed free-of-charge for short periods of time. You can obtain selections from an introductory statistics course called "Against All Odds." It consists of 26 half-hour separate videos. We also have video tapes of the annual Morris Hansen Lectures as well as a brief history of the American Statistical Association. If you are interested in borrowing a tape, please contact WSS' Video Librarian Mel Kollander. He can be called at 202-973-2820 or reached by e-mail at

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Letter From The President

It is the practice for the President of WSS to write a letter to the membership at the beginning of his or her year of office. I would like to take this opportunity to invite and encourage each of you to contribute to, and participate in, WSS activities. Thanks to the efforts of past President Phil Kott and an extremely energetic and dedicated Board, the WSS is a very vibrant organization. Nevertheless, there is no doubt more we could do for the benefit of our members. We welcome your suggestions, your offers of help, and your active participation.

A major activity for the WSS is its extensive and highly successful lunchtime seminar program. We hold around 50 seminars each year on a wide range of topics. In addition we run a number of short courses that are well received by the membership. The program chairs listed at the end of the Newsletter arrange these activities, and they are always looking for ideas. I encourage you to contact them to make suggestions for topics and/or speakers that you would like to see included in the program and, equally important, to attend and participate in these events.

Through its Quantitative Literacy work, WSS is making valuable contributions to improving the future understanding of statistics by the public. Our QL activities include visiting classrooms, running Saturday afternoon workshops for Girl Scouts, judging science fair and statistical project competitions, helping teachers learn statistical concepts, and assisting with curriculum development. If you are interested in volunteering your services for any of these activities -it need take only a few hours each year - please contact Carolyn Carroll at 703-352-1712.

With around a thousand members, the WSS is probably one of the largest local statistical associations in the world. However, its membership still falls short of its potential for the greater Washington area. I urge you to bring WSS to the attention of colleagues and friends who might be interested in our activities. I also encourage any nonmember reading this Newsletter to apply for membership. I believe that WSS membership is attractive since we provide a good deal for our members and our dues are modest.

Another way for members to help the Society is to take the Newsletter by e-mail. Many members currently do so, with a substantial savings in costs for the Society. I strongly urge all others who are able to receive the Newsletter by e-mail to do so. Simply send a message to Vince Massimini ( with your name, organization and Internet address (if you are an ASA member, if possible please also include your ASA membership number). The greater the number of members who take the Newsletter by e-mail, the stronger our financial position will be.

I have listed some obvious ways in which you can help WSS. You may have other ideas for ways in which WSS can serve its members. If so, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact me or one of the members of the Board. I can be reached at 301-251-8253 or at The wider the involvement of the full WSS membership in our activities, the more successful we will be.

Graham Kalton
President, 1997-98

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President's Annual Report for 1996 - 1997
Phillip S. Kott, Past President of WSS

The President of the Washington Statistical Society has one of the easiest jobs in the world. He or she has to preside over Board meetings (bringing goodies to eat is a strictly optional tradition) and (s)he has to write an annual report. Part of this report is a financial statement, which in fact the Treasurer prepares (thank you Carolyn). Another part is a summary of the year's seminars and programs. Robby Sangster, our arrangement's co-ordinator, has provided the information on the table below.

In principle, the President also organizes the President's invited seminar. Fortunately for me, Carolee Bush and the gang over at the Public Policy Committee did all the work on this year's seminar. Being in Canada at the time, I couldn't even attend. Past President, Ron Fecso, filled in for me.

I did choose the recipients of the Presidents' Awards for service to the Society, which are given out at the annual dinner. This was done after consultation with Ron, hence the placement of the apostrophe in "Presidents' Award." The Awards went to Mike Feil, executive editor of this Newsletter, and Jill Montiquila, our Social Arrangements Committee. Jill handles all the details for events like the holiday party and annual dinner. I was extraordinarily lucky that no one had given these two outstanding contributors the award before I got the chance.

One trend I have noticed during my tenure on the Board troubles me. WSS and its Board is increasingly being dominated by survey statisticians like myself. This phenomenon parallels a decrease in the visibility public health statisticians in the Society. One small thing I did to counteract this was help organize a seminar by Don Berry an accomplished, and recently controversial, biostatistician from Duke University. A description of Don's talk can be found in the September Newsletter. A helpful future sign for WSS is that Dwight Brock of the National Institute of Aging, who has a foot in both the survey and public health worlds, is our new President-Elect.

Through little fault of my own, Graham Kalton, our new President, takes over a vibrant organization with a lot to offer its members and the community at large. I know he will do a great job and make my tenure look bad by comparison. I wish him the best anyway.

1996 Program Year Summary

Agriculture and Natural Resources:
1 seminar, 21 attended
Data Collection Methods:
4 seminars, average 59
5 seminars, average 21
12 seminars, average 23
Public Health & Biostatistics:
3 seminars, no data
Public Policy:
3 seminars, 79 average
Quality Assurance:
1 seminar, 45 attended
Social and Demographic Statistics:
3 seminars, 37 average
Statistical Computing:
2 seminars, 37 average
Total persons attending WSS seminars:
1057, 31 average

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editors

Items for publication in the November 1997 WSS NEWS should be submitted no later September 30, 1997. E-mail items to [Michael Feil] or [Fran Chevarley]. FAX items to Michael Feil at (301) 443-4045.

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WSS People

Graham Kalton (301) 251-8253
Past President
Phillip Kott (703) 235-5211 ext. 102
Dwight Brock (301) 496-9795
Elizabeth Sweet (301) 457-4865
Carolyn Shettle (703) 306-1780

Vice Chair for District 2 of
Council of Chapters

Andrew A. White (202) 334-2511
Council of Chapters Representative
Ron Fecso (703) 235-5211 ext. 142
N. Clyde Tucker (202) 606-7371
Sandra West (202) 606-7384
Alan R. Tupek (703) 306-1780
David Marker (301) 251-4398

WSS Program Chairs
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Bill Iwig (202) 720-3895
Stan Freedman (202) 426-1099
Linda Atkinson (202) 219-0934
Art Kennickell (202) 452-2247
Karol Krotki (202) 944-5243
Brenda Cox (202) 484-4231
Public Health and Biostatistics
Trena Ezzati-Rice (301) 436-7022 ext. 133
Rene Gonin (301) 517-8084
Public Policy
Carolee Bush (202) 366-6946
Phil Ross (202) 260-5244
Quality Assurance
Amrut Champaneri (202) 268-2299
Glenn White (202) 327-6414
Statistical Computing
Bob Jernigan (202) 885-3170
Mike Fleming (703) 235-5213 ext. 170
Social & Demographic Statistics
Michael Horrigan (202) 606-5905
Edith McArthur (202) 219-1442
Short Courses
Roberta Sangster (202) 606-7517
Fritz Scheuren (703) 549-1120
Data Collection Methods
Brad Edwards (301) 294-2021
Linda Stinson (202) 606-7528

Bill Arends (202) 720-6812
WSS NEWS Editors
Michael Feil (301) 443-4234
Fran Chevarley (301) 436-7093 ext. 153
Electronic Mail
Michael L. Cohen (202) 334-3765
Michael Greene (703) 247-1575
S.V. (Vince) Massimini (703) 883-5893
Renee Miller (202) 426-1117
Antionette Martin 202) 426-1110
Fritz Scheuren (703) 549-1120
Quantitative Literacy
Carolyn Carroll (703) 352-1712
Science Fair
Lee Abramson (301) 415-6180
Mel Kollander (202) 973-2820
Social Arrangements
Jill Montaquila (301) 517-4046
Local Arrangement
Wendy Rotz (202) 874-0969
WSS Historian
Michael P. Cohen (202) 219-1917
WSS Committee on ASA Fellows
Brenda Cox (202) 484-4231

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First posted September 30, 1997
Last modified October 1, 1997

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