2021 Annual Meeting
August 5, 2021

Virtual Meeting Thursday, Aug 5, 2021 --- Planned AGENDA in Eastern Time Zone

Agenda PDF Word

11:00a ---Welcome and Greetings

- From the ACTStat President

11:05a --- Social Activity

- Organized by Lauren Balmert

11:15a --- A Seat at the Table: The Key Role of Biostatistics and Data Science in the COVID-19 Pandemic

- Keynote Talk presented by Jeffrey Morris

- Abstract: The novel virus SARS-CoV-2 has produced a global pandemic, forcing doctors and policymakers to “fly blind,” trying to deal with a virus and disease they knew virtually nothing about. Sorting through the information in real time has been a daunting process—processing data, media reports, commentaries, and research articles. In the USA this is exacerbated by an ideologically divided society that has difficulty with mutual trust, or even agreement on common facts. The skills underlying our statistical profession are central to this knowledge discovery process, filtering out biases, aggregating disparate data sources together, dealing with measurement error and missing data, identifying key insights while quantifying the uncertainty in these insights, and then communicating the results in an accessible balanced way. As a result, we have had a central role to play in society to bring our perspective and expertise to bear on the pandemic to help ensure knowledge is efficiently discovered and put into practice. Unfortunately, our profession is often shy about asserting its perspective in broader societal ventures, perhaps not realizing the central importance of our perspective and mindset. I have authored a website and blog that represents my own personal efforts to disseminate information I have found reliable and insightful regarding the pandemic, accounting for subtle scientific and data analytical issues and uncertainties about our current knowledge, and seeking to filter out political and other subjective biases.

Using experiences with the covid-datascience blog as a backdrop, I will highlight how statistical and data scientific issues have been central in understanding the emerging knowledge in the pandemic. I will discuss various broad issues I have seen impede the knowledge discovery process, including subjective bias causing individuals to ignore some information and magnify others, viral misinformation spread on social media platforms, danger of rushed and inadequately reviewed scientific studies, conflating of political concerns and scientific messaging, and incomplete and messaging from scientific leaders to the broader community. I will discuss these concepts in various specific contexts, including identification of key modes of spread and effective mitigation strategies, vaccine safety and efficacy, durability of immune protection and risk of reinfections or breakthrough infections, and the emergence of variants of concern and how this affects the pandemic moving forward. I will also highlight efforts of COVID-Lab team that has used hybrid statistical-epidemiological model to model county-level data throughout the pandemic, successfully identifying areas at risk of surge and heavily used by regional, state, and national leaders to manage the pandemic. I will finish with a call to urge statisticians to seek greater visibility and engagement with the media and policymakers to ensure our understanding of of quantitative nuances is reflected in important societal-level decisions and dissemination of emerging scientific knowledge.

12:15p --- Biostatistician’s Role in the Modern Era of Science

- Panel session chaired by Dandan Liu

- Panelist Dandan Liu’s discussion “Biostatistician's Role in Implementation Science” will share experiences working on a series of two PCORI grants, the first being a multi-center clinical trial and the second an implementation of the intervention assessed in the first. Her objective is to encourage biostatisticians to get involved in the planning process of projects as early as possible and proactively lead data coordination efforts.

- Panelist Heidi Spratt’s discussion “Biostatistics and Informatics: How to Play Together” will share how the N3C evolved and the concepts that the informatics collaborators needed to work with in order to achieve overall success—i.e., not just an us or them problem.

- Panelists Mike Baiocchi’s discussion “Biostatistics and Machine Learning” will share how people might think through designing ML problems/selecting to use ML approaches.

1:10p --- 5 Minute Break

1:15p --- Early Career Award Session

- Awards presented by the ACTStat President-elect

- Early Career Awardee Alex Kaizer presenting “A Sequential Basket Trial Design Based on Multi-Source Exchangeability with Predictive Probability Monitoring”

- Early Career Awardee Jacob Schauer presenting “Design and Analysis of Replication Studies: Considerations and Pitfalls”

- Early Career Awardee Ryan Peterson presenting “Aggregating penalized regression coefficients after multiple imputation for urgent and effective prediction of intubation in patients with severe COVID-19”

2:05p --- Promotion and Tenure Panel

- Panel session chaired by Phil Schulte

- Panelist Julia Lee will discuss “Knowing your Promotion Metrics” addresses how we can set ourselves up for promotion, including identifying and knowing your criteria, identifying letter writers, and how to make it easy for your letter writers by highlighting your accomplishments.

- Panelist Jareen Meinzen-Derr’s discussion “Writing Letters of Recommendation for Promotion” will share guidance for how to write good letters for promotion, including how to gather information and what criteria to write about in the letter.

2:50p --- Business Meeting

- Presented by the ACTStat Board of Directors

- Treasurer’s Report

- Annual Elections

- ACTStat Committees

3:00p --- Adjourn


We are waiving our usual registration fees for the annual meeting due to the current state of the pandemic. (We hope that next year will return more toward normalcy and anticipate our usual meeting format and fee structure will return at that time.) To attend our virtual meeting a conference please register by completing the following information.

In typical years participant’s meeting registration fees waive their annual membership dues to ACTStat. We encourage new members to join and current members to take the opportunity to renew their annual dues to our organization. Information on new and renewal membership can also be found by clicking the “Membership” hyperlink in the box on the top left of this webpage.


If you have any questions in regards to the ACTStat and or its annual meeting please contact Dr. Heidi Spratt (ACTStat secretary)