Plenary Speakers

Charles Rothwell

Director, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NCHS Director Charles Rothwell
Charles Rothwell is Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the nation’s principal health statistics agency and a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is the Center’s seventh director since its inception in 1960. At NCHS, Mr. Rothwell directs a comprehensive program of statistical activities designed to monitor the health of the nation and produce the information needed for research, policy, and programs.

Prior to becoming NCHS Director, Mr. Rothwell was Director of the NCHS Division of Vital Statistics and led a national effort to speed up mortality reporting using new automated systems that allow for real time surveillance. During his tenure at NCHS, Mr. Rothwell served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Lieberman working primarily on health and education issues, worked with the National Science Foundation on their Digital Government Initiative to build partnerships between academia and Federal statistical agencies, and served as a member of the IT Board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Advanced Technology Program. Mr. Rothwell came to NCHS in 1987 as the Associate Director of NCHS and he was responsible for bringing new IT and data dissemination technologies to the agency. In February 2013, Mr. Rothwell was selected from a field of 62 nominees as one of the five Top Leaders in Federal Service.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Rothwell worked in the state health department in North Carolina and founded the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps, reaching the rank of Captain. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the 2011 recipient of the Hal Dunn Award in Biostatistics. Mr. Rothwell received his bachelor of science degree in Physics from the Virginia Military Institute, his master of science degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis from the University of North Carolina and a master of business administration degree from the University of Maryland.

Plenary Session I: Health Disparities and Health Equity

Irma E. Arispe, Ph.D.

Division Director, Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Irma Arispe
Irma Arispe is the Director of the Office of Analysis and Epidemiology (OAE) at CDC’s NCHS. She comes to NCHS having served as Section Research Manager overseeing the public health policy portfolio at the Congressional Research Service and, before that, as Associate Director (AD) for Life Sciences and Acting AD for Behavioral Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

This is Dr. Arispe’s second position in NCHS. Previously, she served as Associate Director for Science in NCHS’ Division of Health Care Statistics. While there, she was responsible for overseeing scientific issues ranging from data policy to human subject protection to review and clearance of scientific products related to findings derived from the National Health Care Survey, NCHS’ family of provider and establishment-based surveys that collect information on ambulatory, inpatient, and long-term care.

Dr. Arispe received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (now the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Prior to NCHS, Dr. Arispe worked as Director of Evaluation Research at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Other experience includes work at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s predecessor, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research; the Group Health Association of America; and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Dr. J. Nadine Gracia
Dr. J. Nadine Gracia is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at HHS. The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities. Under Dr. Gracia’s leadership, the Office of Minority Health oversees the implementation of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities.

A pediatrician with training in epidemiology, Dr. Gracia previously served as Chief Medical Officer for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. There, she provided policy and programmatic leadership for a portfolio that included child and adolescent health, climate change, disaster preparedness, environmental health, global health, Haiti recovery, and the White House Council on Women and Girls. She led the development of the HHS 2012 Environmental Justice Strategy.

Dr. Gracia is a former White House Fellow, serving at HHS in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Office of the Secretary. She also served as a policy advisor in the Office of the First Lady, assisting in the development of the Let’s Move! Initiative to solve childhood obesity.

An honors graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Gracia received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh and holds a master of science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed postgraduate training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she was Chief Pediatrics Resident. She served as a clinical instructor and general pediatrics research fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, conducting research on community risk factors for violence. Dr. Gracia is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A first-generation Haitian-American, Dr. Gracia is an advocate for minority and underserved populations and lectures nationwide on health disparities and health equity. She has been named one of The Grio’s 100 History Makers in the Making and one of Washington’s Powerful Women by BET. Dr. Gracia is a National President Emeritus of the Student National Medical Association and a past Postgraduate Physician Trustee of the National Medical Association.

Plenary Session II: The Federal Statistical System: Joining Forces to Meet Future Data Needs and Challenges (Panel Discussion)

Katherine K. Wallman

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

Katherine Wallman
Katherine Wallman currently serves as Chief Statistician at the United States Office of Management and Budget. In this capacity, she oversees and coordinates U.S. federal statistical policies, standards, and programs; develops and advances long-term improvements in federal statistical activities; and 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 involved in the production of national statistics, strengthening the interface between academic and government statisticians, and enhancing the statistical literacy of the public.

Ms. Wallman, 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 founding member of the International Association for Official Statistics. In 1992, she served as President of the American Statistical Association. Ms. Wallman, who was elected to serve as Chairperson of the United Nations Statistical Commission during 2004 and 2005, is currently completing her second term as Chairperson of the Conference of European Statisticians, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

John H. Thompson

Director, U.S. Census Bureau

John H. Thompson
John H. Thompson is the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. As Director, Mr. Thompson will oversee preparations for the 2020 census and preside over more than 100 other censuses and surveys, which measure America’s people, places, and economy and provide the basis for crucial economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate.

A statistician and executive, Mr. Thompson had been President and CEO of NORC at the University of Chicago since 2008. He served as the independent research organization’s Executive Vice President from 2002 to 2008. NORC, previously known as the National Opinion Research Center, collaborates with government agencies, foundations, education institutions, nonprofit organizations and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in key areas including health, education, criminal justice, energy, substance abuse, mental health, and the environment.

Mr. Thompson had a distinguished career at the Census Bureau from 1975 to 2002 before joining NORC. As an Associate Director, he was the senior career executive responsible for all aspects of the 2000 census. Prior to that, Mr. Thompson served as Chief of the Decennial Management Division. He worked in the Statistical Support Division from 1987 to 1995 and in the Statistical Methods Division from 1975 to 1987.

A longtime leader in the social science research community, Thompson is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association and past chair of the association’s Social Statistics Section and Committee on Fellows. He served as a member of the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academy of Sciences. He participated as a member of the CNSTAT panel on the design of the 2010 Census Program of Evaluations and Experiments and the panel to review the 2010 census.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Virginia Tech.

Barry D. Nussbaum

Chief Statistician, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President-elect of the American Statistical Association

Barry D. Nussbaum
Barry D. Nussbaum is the Chief Statistician of the EPA, and Chief of the Analytical Products Branch of EPA’s Office of Environmental Information in Washington, DC. His work has included statistical analyses leading to new emissions programs, support for enforcement cases, the phasedown of leaded gasoline, the regulation of fuel additives, and the assessment of motor vehicle emission control tampering. For these efforts, he received two EPA Silver Medals for Superior Service.

Outside of EPA, Dr. Nussbaum served as chair of the Statistics in the Environment Section of the American Statistical Association in 2000. He also survived two terms as the Treasurer of the Ravensworth Elementary School PTA. Dr. Nussbaum has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and both a master’s and a doctorate in Operations Research (with minors in statistics and economics) from George Washington University. He has also taught graduate statistics courses for George Washington University and Virginia Tech.