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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education


New CNSTAT Logo

 — April 2019 — 

 

 People News
We note with sadness the recent deaths of members of the CNSTAT and federal statistical communities:

  • Alan Krueger, who died at age 58, March 16, 2019. He was James Madison professor of political economy and founding director, Princeton University Survey Research Center, Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Princeton University. He held a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He served as President Clinton’s chief economist at the Department of Labor, and as assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy and chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the Econometric Society, and the Society of Labor Economists. He received the Kershaw Prize from the Association for Public Policy and Management for “distinguished contributions to public policy analysis by someone under the age of 40,” the Mahalanobis Memorial Medal from the Indian Econometric Society, and, jointly with former CNSTAT member David Card, the IZA Prize in Labor Economics from the Institute of Labor Economics. He served on the CNSTAT panel that produced the 2005 report, Beyond the Market: Designing Nonmarket Accounts for the United States. 
  • Joan Rosenblatt, who died at age 92, December 5, 2018. She held a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the University of North Carolina. She began her career with the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in 1956, rising to director of computing and applied mathematics, before retiring in 1995. She was a fellow of the of the AAAS, American Statistical Association (ASA), and Institute of Mathematical Statistics. She received a Federal Women's Award, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal, and a Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award. She served on the National Academies Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS).
  • Joan Van Nostrand, who died at age 74, January 22, 2019 at the age of 74. She held a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Southern California. In her early career, she held several positions at the National Center for Health Statistics, focusing particularly on long-term care and nursing home issues, and directing the International Collaborative Effort on Aging, managing a team of researchers from 12 countries. She later served as director of research for the Office of Rural Health Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services. She was a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.


We welcome William Beach as head of a principal statistical agency; he was confirmed as commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), March 13, 2019 for a four-year term. He was previously vice president for policy research at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University; chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee, Republican staff; and Lazof Family fellow in economics at The Heritage Foundation and founding director of the Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. He has a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University, Topeka, KS; a master’s degree in history and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a Ph.D. in economics from Buckingham University in Great Britain. William (Bill) Wiatrowski, who served as acting commissioner of BLS since the departure of Eric Groshen in January 2017, continues in his position as deputy commissioner.

We welcome Mary Bohman to a new position with a principal statistical agency; she was named deputy director of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, March 18, 2019. Before joining BEA, she spent more than 20 years with the Department of Agriculture in numerous positions, leaving her mark on research involving international trade, farm competitiveness, and data-driven policymaking. Most recently, she served as associate administrator of the Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Prior to that, she was administrator of USDA's Economic Research Service, a principal statistical agency, where over a seven-year period she led initiatives to strengthen the quality of the agency's research and statistics, increase accountability through the development of metrics, and boost employee engagement through improved communications. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a Ph.D. from the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of California, Davis. BEA's deputy position has been vacant since the retirement of Sarahelen (Sally) Thompson in the fall of 2018.

We congratulate Eric Wanner, president of the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) from 1986 to 2013, on receiving the 2019 Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology from the American Sociological Association. Under Eric’s leadership, RSF funded the CNSTAT panel that produced the 2013 report, Nonresponse in Social Science Surveys: A Research Agenda.

We congratulate the following members of the CNSTAT and federal statistical communities on their inclusion in a special section of the March 2019 issue of ASA’s Amstat News, “Celebrating Women in Statistics + Data Science,” during Women’s History Month:

  • Karen Kafadar, chair and commonwealth professor, University of Virginia, and president of ASA, who served on CNSTAT, as chair of CATS, and on several National Academies study committees on such topics as forensic evidence and eyewitness identification.
  • Jeri Mulrow, vice president and director of statistical sciences at Westat, who formerly served as principal deputy director, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and deputy director, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.
  • Polly Phipps, senior statistician, BLS, who has developed tools to evaluate quality at early and late stages of questionnaire design and instrument design models.
  • Nancy Potok, chief statistician of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, who was previously deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau and has held other federal statistical positions during her career.
  • Cynthia Rudin, professor of computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and statistics, Duke University, who is currently serving on CATS and the Committee on Law Justice in CNSTAT’s parent Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.
  • Stephanie Shipp, research professor in the Social and Decision Analytics Division of the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative, University of Virginia, who held positions at BLS, the Census Bureau, and NIST.
  • Also honored in this issue are “trailblazing women in statistics + data science,” including:
  •  Molly Orshansky (1915-2006), who, as an analyst with the Office of Research and Statistics in the U.S. Social Security Administration, developed the poverty thresholds that became the basis for the U.S. official poverty measure (see the 1995 CNSTAT report, Measuring Poverty: A New Approach).
  • Elizabeth (Betty) Scott (1917-1988), professor of statistics, University of California, Berkeley, who contributed to space and weather research, including the ozone depletion and its link to skin cancer. She was one of the original members of CNSTAT, serving from 1972 to 1977.

 Publication News Header 

A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, the final report of a consensus panel chaired by Greg Duncan (University of California, Irvine) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc.; the Foundation for Child Development; the Joyce Foundation; and the William T. Grant Foundation, was released in prepublication format on Thursday, February 28, 2019, at 11 am. EST. Free PDFs are available here; printed copies will be available shortly.

Capable, responsible, and healthy adults are the foundation of any well-functioning and prosperous society, but in this regard the future of the United States is not as secure as it could be. This is because millions of American children live in families with incomes below the poverty line. A wealth of evidence suggests that a lack of adequate family economic resources compromises children’s ability to grow and achieve success in adulthood, hurting them and the broader society as well. Recognizing this challenge to America’s future, Congress asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a comprehensive study of child poverty in the United States, and to identify evidence-based programs and policies for reducing the number of children living in poverty by half within 10 years. In its report, the committee (organized under the Board on Children, Youth, and Families and CNSTAT) concludes that poverty causes negative outcomes for children, especially if it occurs in early childhood or persists through a large part of childhood. Studies estimate that child poverty costs the nation roughly between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion annually in terms of lost adult productivity, the increased costs of crime, and increased health expenditures. The report identifies two packages of policies and programs that could reduce child poverty in the United States by half within 10 years, at a cost far lower than the estimated costs it bears from child poverty
 


A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, released February 28, 2019
Methods to Foster Transparency and Reproducibility of Federal Statistics, released December 2018
Improving Data Collection and Measurement of Complex Farms, released October 2, 2018.
Letter Report on the 2020 Census (released August 17, 2018)
Improving Health Research on Small Populations: Proceedings of a Workshop, released May 4, 2018.
Reengineering the Census Bureau’s Annual Economic Surveys, released May 3, 2018.

Reminder: PDF versions of CNSTAT and National Academies reports are available for free download at The National Academies Press website, http://www.nap.edu. The download site asks for your e-mail and a password. If you don’t have an NAP account and don’t want to have one, then provide your e-mail and click “I don’t have an account;” on the next page click “accept NAP policies” and “log in as guest”.

Reminder: Slides from previous CNSTAT public seminars are available on the CNSTATpublic seminars and symposia page. Presentations and posters from the Big Data Day event on May 11, 2018, are available here. Presentations from the October 19, 2018 seminar Leveraging and Integrating Data for Disasters are available here.

 

 Event Other News
We call your attention to this March 21, 2019, Eureka Alert! press release from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Calling time on ‘statistical significance’ in science research:
Scientists should stop using the term 'statistically significant' in their research, urges this editorial in a special issue of The American Statistician published today. The issue, Statistical Inference in the 21st Century: A World Beyond P<0.05, calls for an end to the practice of using a probability value (p-value) of less than 0.05 as strong evidence against a null hypothesis or a value greater than 0.05 as strong evidence favoring a null hypothesis. Instead, p-values should be reported as continuous quantities and described in language stating what the value means in the scientific context.
Containing 43 papers by statisticians from around the world, the special issue is expected to lead to a major rethinking of statistical inference by initiating a process that ultimately moves statistical science - and science itself - into a new age. In the issue's editorial, Dr. Ronald Wasserstein, Executive Director of the ASA, Dr. Allen Schirm, retired from Mathematica Policy Research, and Professor Nicole Lazar of the University of Georgia said: "Based on our review of the articles in this special issue and the broader literature, we conclude that it is time to stop using the term 'statistically significant' entirely. "No p-value can reveal the plausibility, presence, truth, or importance of an association or effect. Therefore, a label of statistical significance does not mean or imply that an association or effect is highly probable, real, true, or important. Nor does a label of statistical non-significance lead to the association or effect being improbable, absent, false, or unimportant. For the integrity of scientific publishing and research dissemination, therefore, whether a p-value passes any arbitrary threshold should not be considered at all when deciding which results to present or highlight." Articles in the special issue suggest alternatives and complements to p-values, and highlight the need for widespread reform of editorial, educational and institutional practices.

We call your attention to the 2019 FedCASIC Workshop, which will be held at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on April 16-17, 2019. The workshop will focus on all forms of computer-assisted survey information collection of interest to federal agencies. More information is available at the 2019 FedCASIC website.


 

 CNSTAT Meetings

CNSTAT holds three regular meetings each year, with its spring and fall meeting dates following a set formula; our May meetings are always the Thursday–Friday preceding Mother’s Day and our October meetings are always the second-to-last Thursday–Friday of the month. Here are the next three meetings:

CNSTAT’s 139th meeting will be held May 9-10, 2019, at the National Academy of Sciences Building at 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. On the 10th, the meeting will feature a luncheon with statistical agency heads (members of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, ICSP), followed by a public seminar on National Statistics for Public Policy: Linkages among Federal, State, and Local Data, which will begin at 1:30 pm, with refreshments and end with a reception at 4:30 pm.

CNSTAT’s 140th meeting will be held October 17-18, 2019, at the National Academy of Sciences Building at 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. On the 18th, the meeting will feature a luncheon with statistical agency heads (members of the ICSP), followed by a public seminar, beginning with light refreshments at 1:30 pm and ending with a reception at 4:30 pm.

CNSTAT’s 141st meeting will be held February 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. It will be in retreat format; it will not have a public seminar or agency head lunch.

              

 

 AP Header


Unless otherwise noted, meetings are in Washington, D.C., and include open sessions. For further information, contact Brian Harris-Kojetin at BKojetin@nas.edu or Rebecca Krone at RKrone@nas.edu. . Projects are listed by sponsor agency, beginning with federal departments. Also see the CNSTAT web site under “Our Work.”

CNSTAT Core Sponsors

Challenges and New Approaches for Protecting Privacy in Federal Statistical
Programs: A Workshop
Sponsors: CNSTAT Core Sponsors
Duration: August 2018–December 2019
Study director: Nancy Kirkendall; project assistant: Jillian Kaufman
Chair: Jerome P. Reiter (Duke University)
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings
Upcoming meeting: Workshop scheduled for June 6-7, 2019
See this site for more information



Department of Agriculture

Consensus Panel on Improving Consumer Data for Food and Nutrition Policy Research
Sponsor: Economic Research Service (Consumer Data and Nutrition Research [CDNR] Program)
Duration: October 2017–December 2019
Study director: Christopher Mackie; senior program officer: Nancy Kirkendall; associate program officer: Michael Siri
Chair: Marianne Bitler (University of California, Davis)
Publication planned: Consensus report is being drafted
Upcoming meetings: Fifth meeting scheduled for May 20, 2019, in Chicago, IL

Workshop on Model-Based Methods for Producing Estimates of Livestock with Appropriate Measures of Uncertainty
Sponsor: National Agricultural Statistics Service
Duration: September 2014–September 2019
Study director: Nancy Kirkendall; project assistant: Anthony Mann
Chair: Eric Slud (University of Maryland and U.S. Census Bureau)
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings
Upcoming meeting: Workshop scheduled for May 15, 2019; see this site for more information



Department of Commerce

Workshop on Improving the American Community Survey
Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau
Duration: April 2018–March 2019
Study director: Daniel Cork; project assistant: Anthony Mann
Chair: Warren Brown (Cornell University)
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings are in response to review
Meeting: Workshop held September 26-27, 2018; see this site for more information



Department of Education

Consensus Committee on Developing Indicators of Educational Equity (see listing under “The Atlantic Philanthropies et al.” below)



Department of Health and Human Services

Consensus Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years (led by Board on Children, Youth, and Families, with CNSTAT)
Sponsors: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation; Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Foundation for Child Development; Joyce Foundation; and William T. Grant Foundation
Duration: October 2016–April 2019
Study director: Suzanne Le Menestrel (BCYF); senior scholar: Constance Citro; senior program officer: Christopher Mackie; associate program officer: Elizabeth Townsend (BCYF); research associate: Dara Shefska (BCYF); project assistant: Pamella Atayi (BCYF)
Chair: Greg Duncan (UC Irvine)
Publication planned: A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty released in prepublication format on Thursday, February 28, 2019; free PDFs are available here; printed copies will be available shortly.
Meetings: Closed electronic meetings held in December 2018

Consensus Panel on Rising Midlife Mortality Rates and Socioeconomic Disparities
(led by Committee on Population)
Sponsor: National Institute on Aging; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Duration: October 2018–December 2020
Study director: Malay Majmundar; program officer: Tara Becker; project assistant: Ellie Grimes
Chair: Kathleen Harris (UNC, Chapel Hill)
Publication planned: Consensus report
Upcoming meetings: First meeting held February 11-12, 2019; second meeting to be held April 30-May 1, 2019; third meeting scheduled for July 17-18, 2019; see this site for more information

Workshop on Approaches to Estimating the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in the United States (in collaboration with the Committee on Population)
Sponsor: Office of Women’s Health
Duration: September 2018–December 2019
Study director: Jordyn White; Mirzayan Fellow: Danielle DaCrema; project assistant: Ellie Grimes
Chair: David Banks (Duke University)
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings
Upcoming meeting: Workshop scheduled for April 8-9, 2019; see this site for more information

Workshop on Social Science Modeling for Big Data in the World of Machine Learning
Sponsor: National Institute on Aging, Division of Behavioral and Social Research
Duration: October 2018–December 2019
Study director: Michael Siri; project assistant Jillian Kaufman
Chair: TBD
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings
Upcoming meetings: October 24-25, 2019




Department of Homeland Security

Consensus Committee on Best Practices in Assessing Mortality and Significant Morbidity Following Large-Scale Disasters (led by Board on Health Sciences Policy)
Sponsor: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Duration: October 2018–September 2020
Study director: Michelle Mancher (HSP); senior program officer Daniel Cork
Chair: TBD
Publication planned: Consensus report
Upcoming Meetings: TBD



Department of Labor

Consensus Panel on Contingent Work and Alternate Work Arrangements
Sponsor: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Duration: September 2018–March 2020
Study director: Chris Mackie; project assistant: Anthony Mann
Chair: Susan Houseman (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)
Publication planned: Consensus report
Upcoming meetings: First meeting held March 29, 2019; second meeting scheduled for June 10-11,2019; see this site for more information



Department of State

Consensus Committee on Foreign Language Assessment for the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (led by DBASSE Executive Office)
Sponsor: U.S. Foreign Service Institute
Duration: 18 months
Study director: Stuart Elliott; senior program officer: Judith Koenig; project assistant: Anthony Mann
Chair: Dorry Kenyon (Center for Applied Statistics, Washington, DC)
Publication planned: Consensus Report
Meetings: Second meeting scheduled for April 22-23, 2019; Third meeting scheduled for July 17-18, 2019; see this site for more information.



Department of Transportation

Standing Committee for Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement (joint with the Transportation Research Board)
Sponsor: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Duration: October 2017–September 2020
Study director: Michael Cohen; TRB Studies and Special Programs Division director: Tom Menzies; associate program officer: Michael Siri
Co-chairs: Joel Greenhouse (Carnegie Mellon) and Sharon Lise-Normand (Harvard Medical School)
Publications: Standing committees do not issue reports; they meet for discussion; they also identify topics for separate workshops or consensus panels.
Upcoming meetings: The standing committee is meeting primarily by teleconference; it held its second on-site meeting November 16, 2018, at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA



National Science Foundation

Consensus Committee on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science (led by the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, with the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics, CNSTAT, and the Division of Earth and Life Sciences)
Sponsor: NSF director’s office (congressionally mandated)
Duration: August 2017–March 2019
Study director: Jennifer Heimberg (DELS); board director: Michelle Schwalbe (BMSA); senior program officer: Adrienne Stith Butler (BBCSS); senior program officer: Michael Cohen (CNSTAT)
Chair: Harvey Fineberg (Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)
Publication planned: Final report is in response to review
Meetings: Fifth (and final) meeting held July 26-27, 2018, in Woods Hole, MA

Consensus Panel on Transparency and Reproducibility for NCSES Statistics
Sponsor: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Duration: September 2018–November 2020
Study director: Michael Cohen; co-study director: Michael Siri; project assistant: Jillian Kaufman
Chair-designate: Daniel Kasprzyk (NORC at the University of Chicago)
Publication planned: Consensus report
Upcoming meetings: First meeting scheduled for May 21-22, 2019

Workshop on Implications of Convergence for Measuring the Science and Engineering Workforce and the S&E Enterprise
Sponsor: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Duration: September 2018–August 2019
Study director: Daniel Cork; Mirzayan Fellow: Danielle DaCrema; project assistant: Anthony Mann
Chair: TBD
Publication planned: Workshop proceedings
Upcoming meetings: TBD



The American Educational Research Association, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education,
the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the W.T. Grant Foundation


Consensus Committee on Developing Indicators of Educational Equity
Sponsors: See above list
Duration: December 2016–June 2019
Study director: Judith Koenig; senior scholar: Constance Citro; senior program officer: Jordyn White; project assistant: Kelly Arrington
Chair: Christopher Edley, Jr. (The Opportunity Institute, Berkeley, CA)
Publication planned: Final consensus report is in response to review
Meetings: Fifth and final in-person meeting (closed) held September 18-19, 2018, in Washington, DC, and Irvine, CA





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