Director's Corner: Welcome to Inside NCHS
I celebrated a milestone recently—I have been an employee of the federal government for 35 years. For the last 16 of those years, I have been Director of NCHS. It has been an astonishing tenure, to say the least; full of change, challenge, and progress.
A substantial need for timely, accurate data existed when I joined NCHS, and that need is even greater today. So far this year, we’ve published 16 Data Briefs covering as many different health topics; several significant, in-depth reports; journal articles; and our annual Health, United States. By year’s end, we will have published more than 100 scientific reports, public-use data files, and many other examples of state-of-the-art research. To me, that is a breathtaking level of productivity.
We research and report on nearly all aspects of American health from beginning to end, with an ever-growing number of stops in between. We emphasize exploring new methods for maximizing the scientific value of our population-based surveys through data linkage, and embrace the latest technological advances to develop new research and reporting tools.
Which brings us to this, our newest publication. Inside NCHS is an opportunity for us to report on what goes on behind the research and reporting. It’s designed to go beyond the numbers to provide insights into the work we do, the collaborations that make it possible, the people that make it happen, and the issues that confront us in the course of fulfilling our mission.
Each issue will feature articles that discuss the stories behind noteworthy reports, the processes by which we collect our data, what the experts have to say, and the challenges we overcome to get this vitally important information out to our stakeholders. We will keep you up-to-date on our people—the milestones they reach, the honors they receive, and the changes that inevitably occur.
Inside NCHS will also provide a forum to inform you about the important issues that we face, with topics ranging from the annual budget to ensuring confidentiality in an increasingly insecure world.
Perhaps most importantly, Inside NCHS gives you an opportunity to let us know your thoughts. What articles would you like to read? What reports are vital to you? What topics interest you the most? How can we improve our products, including this newsletter?
I hope you enjoy this first issue of Inside NCHS, and I look forward to your comments.
Edward J. Sondik, Ph.D.
Director, National Center for Health Statistics