Ecologic Institute at the Joint Statistical Meetings
Tanja Srebotnjak represented Ecologic Institute at the largest gathering of statisticians and practitioners of statistics in North America, the Joint Statistical Meetings, which this year took place in the Olympic City of Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Srebotnjak presented a paper on small area estimation of local health effects and risk factors illustrating her modeling and validation framework for the prevalent lack of health care insurance in the US.
The novel framework is the joint effort of researchers at the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Dr. Srebotnjak, who conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at IHME prior to coming to Ecologic Institute. Dr. Srebotnjak was also a discussant in the invited session “Environment Statistics in the Real World: The statistical research in governmental agencies”, which was organized by Dr. Veronica Berrocal from Duke University, included three presentations on next day forecasts of ground-level ozone concentrations by Dr. David Holland (US EPA), statistical uncertainty in the Canadian Water Quality Index by Dr. Abdel El-Shaarawi (Canadian Centre for Inland Waters and McMaster University) and on modeling interactions in ecological food webs by Dr. Grace Chiu (CSIRO Australia).
In the discussion Dr. Srebotnjak highlighted the conflicts that can arise for statisticians involved in governmentally sponsored research, as exemplified in the political interference in climate change research in the US, while at the same time emphasizing the need for statisticians, in- and outside of government institutions, to become involved in research early on and be active in shaping the pathways through which their research findings are interpreted and fed into policy-making processes.
Lastly, Dr. Srebotnjak attended a roundtable discussion on spatial modeling of renewable energy, which discussed latest methodological developments, data needs, and gaps in translating the findings into useful policies for planning and implementing renewable energy strategies.