Editor’s Letter—Vol. 35, No. 3

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

I’m pleased to share this special issue about statistics in the government with you. I wish to thank the guest editor, Simone Gray, senior statistician in the Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Center for Disease Control. The issue contains five articles related to the special topic, along with three of our regular columns.

In “Spotlight on the Government Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association,” Michael Messner and Claire McKay Bowen introduce readers to the section’s history and mission; discuss current and past activities; and highlight the benefits of joining the section. According to the ASA website, “sections are subject-area and/or industry-related and provide benefits specific to their members’ interests.” Also included in the article: a spotlight on some of the current members.

This issue features two interviews: Wendy Martinez and John Eltinge talk with Howard Hogan, former chief demographer at the United States Census Bureau, and Simone Gray speaks with Dionne Price, ASA president-elect and director of the Division of Biometrics IV in the Office of Biostatistics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In “R Govys: A New Community that Wants You,” Donna LaLonde shares the background and goals of R Govys, a new R users group. As she explains in the article, the purpose of R Govys (“govy” is an affectionate term to describe those who work for the government) is to build community, share knowledge, and grow influence for users and producers of federal statistics. The article contains details about how to get involved.

If you are interested in working for the United States government, be sure to read “Tips for Getting a Federal Statistics Job” by Emily Molfino.

This issue’s columns cover topics related to health, basketball, and significance testing.

In the “Visual Revelations” column, editor Howard Wainer proposes a graphical format for sharing patient information between medical caregivers. He suggests that this method will reduce errors and make clerical errors easier to identify, resulting in better patient care.

In “Teaching Statistics in the Health Sciences,” Philip Sedgwick discusses controversies in statistical significance testing and presents a framework for teaching the concept in the classroom.

Finally, in the “Beyond the Box Score” column, Andrea Fox, Marica Manisera, Marco Sandri, and Paola Zuccolotto demonstrate graphical tools in the R package BasketballAnalyzeR. The package, described in their book Basketball Data Science, is broadly useful for aspiring data scientists, sports analysts, and scientific researchers.

Enjoy the issue!

Amanda Peterson-Plunkett

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