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National Conference on Health Statistics

Plenary Speakers

Opening Plenary Session I:
Improving Public Health: Data Informing Policy and Action

Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Data for Public Health Needs

CDC Director Thomas FriedenThomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, became Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in June 2009. Previously, he served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since January 2002. One of the world′s oldest and largest public health agencies, the department has an annual budget of $1.7 billion and more than 6,000 staff. During his tenure, the number of smokers declined by 350,000, teen smoking decreased by half, and New York City became the first place in the United States to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants, rigorously monitor the diabetes epidemic, and require certain restaurants to post calorie information prominently. Under Dr. Frieden′s leadership, the department established the largest community electronic health records project in the country. Dr. Frieden also chairs the New York City Board of Health.

A physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, Dr. Frieden is especially known for his expertise in tuberculosis control. Dr. Frieden worked for CDC from 1990 until 2002. He began his career at CDC as an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the New York City Health Department. In that role, he led a program that rapidly reduced tuberculosis, including reducing cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, by 80 percent. He then worked in India for five years where he assisted with national tuberculosis control efforts. The program in India has now treated more than 10 million patients and has saved more than one million lives. Dr. Frieden also served as Director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and Assistant Commissioner for the New York City Health Department from 1992 to 1996.

Dr. Frieden speaks Spanish and graduated from Oberlin College. He received both his medical degree and master′s of public health degree from Columbia University and completed infectious disease training at Yale University. He has received numerous awards and honors and has published about 200 scientific articles.

 

Edward J. Sondik, Ph.D.

Director, National Center for Health Statistics

Responding to the Need for Data

NCHS Director Edward SondikDr. Sondik serves as Director for the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NCHS is the principal health statistics agency of the United States, responsible for monitoring the nation's health through a wide-ranging program of research and analysis in health and vital statistics, epidemiology, and related health and statistical sciences. NCHS is also one of the designated statistical agencies of the United States, which together provide information on the United States on a variety of critical sectors. Dr. Sondik's duties include directing a wide ranging program of vital statistics and survey research to monitor the health of Americans, to anticipate and plan for future data needs and to develop the technologies and analytic tools necessary to meet the nation's health statistics needs. As NCHS Director, Dr. Sondik serves on the Interagency Committee on Statistical Policy, whose membership consists of the leaders of the designated federal statistical agencies.

Dr. Sondik also serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on Health Statistics, providing technical and policy advice on statistical and health information issues. In this capacity he also serves on the HHS Data Council, the body that reviews DHHS data policy and related issues.

Dr. Sondik received BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut and the Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. From 1971 to 1976 he was on the faculty of the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University. From 1976 to 1982 he was on the staff of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. In 1982 he joined the National Cancer Institute and held several posts from Chief of the Biometrics and Operations Research Branch to Deputy Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, as well as Acting Director, NCI. In 1996 he was appointed Director, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC and Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Health Statistics.

 

Plenary Session II:
Taking Stock of the Nation: The Federal Statistics System

Katherine K. Wallman

Chief Statistician, U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Katherine WallmanKatherine Wallman currently serves as Chief Statistician at the United States Office of Management and Budget. In this capacity, she provides policy oversight, establishes priorities, advances longterm improvements, and sets standards for a Federal statistical establishment that comprises more than 70 agencies spread across every cabinet department and accounts for more than $5 billion in annual expenditures. As the Chief Statistician of the United States, Ms. Wallman represents the U.S. Government in international statistical organizations, including the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. During her tenure as the United States’ Chief Statistician, Ms. Wallman has increased collaboration among the agencies of the U.S. statistical system, fostered improvements in the scope and quality of the Nation’s official statistics, strengthened the protections for confidential statistical information, and initiated changes that have made the products of the system more accessible and usable.

Prior to assuming the position of Chief Statistician in 1992, Ms. Wallman served for more than a decade as Executive Director of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, a coalition of organizations concerned with fostering communication among users and producers of federal statistics and improving the utility and accessibility of the Nation’s statistical resources. Earlier in her career, Ms. Wallman worked for several years in the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, as well as in the National Center for Education Statistics. Her special interests include increasing cooperation between the several levels of government in the production of national statistics, strengthening the interface between academic and government statisticians, and enhancing the statistical literacy of the public.

Ms. Wallman, twice honored as a Presidential Meritorious Executive, is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Founder Member of the International Association for Official Statistics. In 1992, she served as President of the American Statistical Association, and in 2007 she was honored with the association’s Founders Award. Ms. Wallman, who served as Chairman of the United Nations Statistical Commission during 2004 and 2005, has recently completed her second term as Chairman of the Conference of European Statisticians, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and has been elected to continue her service on the organization’s Bureau.

 

Robert M. Groves, Ph.D.

Director, U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau Director, Robert GrovesPresident Barack Obama nominated Robert M. Groves for director of the U.S. Census Bureau on April 2, 2009, and the Senate confirmed him on July 13, 2009.  He began his tenure as director, July 15, 2009.

Groves had been director of the University of Michigan Survey Research Center and research professor at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.

He was elected a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1982, elected a member of the International Statistical Institute in 1994, and named a national associate of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, in 2004. He was the Census Bureau’s associate director for Statistical Design, Methodology and Standards from 1990 to 1992.

In 2008, he became a recipient of the prestigious Julius Shiskin Memorial Award in recognition for contributions in the development of economic statistics.

Groves has authored or co-authored seven books and more than 50 articles. His 1989 book, “Survey Errors and Survey Costs,” was named one of the 50 most influential books in survey research by the American Association of Public Opinion Research. His book, “Nonresponse in Household Interview Surveys,” with Mick Couper, written during his time at the bureau, received the 2008 AAPOR Book Award.

Groves has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and master’s degrees in statistics and sociology from the University of Michigan. He also earned his doctorate at Michigan.

He and his wife, Cynthia, have two college-age sons — Christopher at Purdue and Andrew at Northwestern.

 

Constance F. Citro, M.A., Ph.D.

Director, Committee on National Statistics, The National Academies

Constance CitroDr. Citro is director of the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), a position she has held since May 2004. She previously served as acting chief of staff (December 2003–April 2004) and as senior study director (1986–2003). She began her career with CNSTAT in 1984 as study director for the panel that produced The Bicentennial Census: New Directions for Methodology in l990. Dr. Citro received her B.A. in political science from the University of Rochester, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Yale University. Prior to joining CNSTAT, she held positions as vice president of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and Data Use and Access Laboratories, Inc. She was an American Statistical Association/National Science Foundation/Census research fellow in 1985–1986 and is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. For CNSTAT, she directed evaluations of the 2000 census, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, microsimulation models for social welfare programs, and the NSF science and engineering personnel data system, in addition to studies on institutional review boards and social science research, estimates of poverty for small geographic areas, data and methods for retirement income modeling, and a new approach for measuring poverty. She coedited the 2nd–4th editions of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency and contributed to studies on measuring racial discrimination, expanding access to research data, the usability of estimates from the American Community Survey, the National Children’s Study research plan, and the Census Bureau’s 2010 census program of experiments and evaluations.

 

Plenary Session III: Measuring Health

Michael C. Wolfson, Ph.D.

Canada Research Chair, Population Health Modeling/Populomics, Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa

Michael WolfsonDr. Michael C. Wolfson is currently Canada Research Chair, Population Health Modeling/Populomics, Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa. Until recently, Dr. Wolfson was Assistant Chief Statistician, Analysis and Development, at Statistics Canada.  This included responsibility for analytical activities generally at Statistics Canada, for health statistics, and for specific analytical and modeling programs.   Prior to joining Statistics Canada, he held a variety of positions in central agencies including the Treasury Board Secretariat, Department of Finance, Privy Council Office, House of Commons, and Deputy Prime Minister's Office with responsibilities in the areas of program review and evaluation, tax policy and pension policy. In addition to his federal public service responsibilities, Dr. Wolfson was a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program in Population Health from 1988 to 2003.  His recent research interests include income distribution, tax/transfer and pension policy analysis, microsimulation approaches to socio-economic accounting and to evolutionary economic theory, design of health information systems, and analysis of the determinants of health.  Dr. Wolfson received his B.Sc. in computer science and economics from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. in economics from Cambridge University in 1977.

 

 

2010 National Conference on Health Statistics, Charting the Course

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