Upcoming Events

March 21, 2023
Consensus Study for a Roadmap for Disclosure Avoidance in the Survey of Income and Program Participation scheduled for March 21, 2023; see this site for more information

April 25-26, 2023
Workshop on Approaches to Improve the Measurement of Suicide in Law Enforcement in the U.S. scheduled for April 25-26, 2023; see this site for more information.

People News

Passing of Rebecca M. Blank
We are sad to report that Rebecca (“Becky”) Blank, former president-elect and professor of economics at Northwestern University, died February 17, 2023, from cancer at age 67. She was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2013 until May 2022 and was preparing to take up the presidency of Northwestern when she announced her cancer diagnosis in July 2022 and stepped down. She had deep ties to Northwestern, where she was on the faculty of the Economics Department from 1989 to 1999 and served as director of the Joint Center for Poverty Research and co-director of the Northwestern/University of Chicago Interdisciplinary Training Program in Poverty, Race and Underclass Issues. She was dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and co-director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan and taught at Princeton University. She served in three presidential administrations, most recently as acting secretary of commerce and deputy secretary of commerce under President Obama where she oversaw the 2010 census and the implementation of the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). She also was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, a senior staff economist on the Council under the first President Bush, and spent time as the Robert S. Kerr senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. CNSTAT was honored to work with Becky on several important projects. She was a member of the panel that produced Measuring Poverty: A New Approach in 1995, and chaired a workshop on experimental poverty measures (2005), which ultimately led to the SPM. She also chaired the panel that produced Measuring Racial Discrimination in 2004, served on the DBASSE Advisory Committee, and was a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies. She was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of Labor Economists; received the David Kershaw prize from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management for the young scholar (under age 40) whose research has had the most impact on the public policy process; gave the American Statistical Association’s President’s Invited Address in 2009; and was the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow (2010) and winner of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize (2015) of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She had a B.S. in economics from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT.

Passing of Barbara Everitt Bryant
CNSTAT is sad to report that Barbara Bryant, the first woman director of the U.S. Census Bureau (1989-1993), died on March 3, 2023, at age 96. She began her 38-year career in survey research at age 44, working for 20 years at Market Opinion Research (now Escalent), including 12 years as senior vice president. While there she directed national research for three Presidential commissions: President Ford’s Commission on Observance of International Women’s Year (1975-77), President Carter’s Commission on World Hunger (1980), and President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors (1986), as well as managing survey studies and consulting projects for media, transportation, education, and health care organizations. During her tenure as Census Bureau director, she oversaw the 1990 decennial census, 200 household and business surveys per year, and the 1992 economic and agriculture censuses. She was instrumental in moving the Census Bureau away from paper and pencil interviewing to computer-assisted survey information collection and in initiating research for changes in census taking that were implemented for the 2000 and later censuses. She oversaw an effort to statistically estimate the census undercount and devise methods to adjust the raw data to improve their accuracy. She subsequently joined the faculty of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. There she designed the data collection methodology for the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI). She retired as research scientist emerita in 2008, at the age of 82. She was a fellow of the American Statistical Association and active in the American Marketing Association and American Association of Public Opinion Research. She had a Ph.D. in communications from Michigan State University.

Passing of Jane F. Gentleman
We are sad to report that Jane Gentleman, former director of the Division of Health Interview Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), died on February 7, 2023, at age 83 after a long illness. She received a B.A. in mathematics and an M.A. in statistics from the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo and became an associate professor in the Department of Statistics at Waterloo. She then worked at Statistics Canada, becoming assistant director of analytic methods. In 1999, she moved back to the DC area to work for NCHS. Her proudest accomplishments included (1) Interchanges between Statistics Canada and NCHS; (2) commemoration of the National Health Interview Survey’s 50th anniversary, which included an event hosted by CNSTAT; and (3) what she called her “legacy”, a poster showing a young girl analyzing data and saying, “I Want to be a Statistician Just Like my Mom.” She received the Janet L. Norwood Award for outstanding achievement by a woman in the statistical sciences.

Wendy L. Martinez New Co-Editor of CHANCE Magazine
CNSTAT congratulates Wendy Martinez, senior mathematical statistician for data science at the U.S. Census Bureau, on being named co-editor, with Donna LaLonde, of CHANCE magazine, published by the American Statistical Association. She began her career as a statistician with the Department of Defense and then was director of the Mathematical Statistics Research Center at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She joined the Census Bureau in May 2022. She has a Ph.D. in computational science and informatics from George Mason University.

Special Resources

In case you missed it, we have a fantastic new video out about the value of objective national data and statistics. We’re certain you know someone who would like to see it—or better yet, some organization that would like to share it. Will you take 3 minutes to check it out and then send it to a colleague?

Recent Events and Reports

Workshop on Considerations for Returning Individual Genomic Results from Population-Based Surveys: Focus on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, December 2, 7, and 8, 2022
Video and other materials available from this site.

Celebrating 50 Years of CNSTAT and Looking to the Future: Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure, October 13, 2022 Video and other materials available from this site.

2020 Census Data Products: Workshop on the Demographic and Housing Characteristics Files, June 21-22, 2022
Video and other materials available from this site.

Toward a Vision for a New Data Infrastructure for Federal Statistics and Social and Economic Research in the 21st Century Workshop 2: The Implications of Using Multiple Data Sources for Major Survey Programs, May 16 and 18, 2022
Video and other materials available from this site.

REMINDER: Slides from previous CNSTAT public seminars are available on the CNSTAT homepage.

An Assessment of the Need for Native Seeds and the Capacity for their Supply: Final Report, a consensus report, chaired by Susan Harrison (University of California, Davis) and sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, was released January 26, 2023. Free PDFs are available here.
Extreme weather and wildfires, intensified by climate change, are damaging the native plant communities of landscapes across the United States. Native plant communities are foundational to thriving ecosystems, delivering goods and services that regulate the environment and support life, provide food and shelter for a wide range of native animals, and embody a wealth of genetic information with many beneficial applications. Restoring impaired ecosystems requires a supply of diverse native plant seeds that are well suited to the climates, soils, and other living species of the system. This report examines the needs for native plant restoration and other activities, provides recommendations for improving the reliability, predictability, and performance of the native seed supply, and presents an ambitious agenda for action.

Reassessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, a consensus report, chaired by David Savitz (Brown University) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was released October 14, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Beginning with the 1990–1991 Gulf War, more than 3.7 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Southwest Asia, where they have been exposed to a number of airborne hazards, including oil-well fire smoke, emissions from open burn pits, dust and sand, diesel exhaust, and poor-quality ambient air. Many service members, particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, have reported health problems they attribute to their exposure to emissions from open-air burn pits on military installations.
In 2013, Congress directed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish and maintain the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit (AH&OBP) Registry to “ascertain and monitor” the health effects of such exposures. This report serves as a follow-up to an initial assessment of the AH&OBP Registry completed by an independent committee of the National Academies in 2017. This reassessment does not include any strength-of-the-evidence assessments of potential relationships between exposures to burn pits or airborne hazards and health effects. Rather, this report assesses the ability of the registry to fulfill the intended purposes that Congress and VA have specified for it.

Research and Data Priorities for Improving Economic and Social Mobility: Proceedings of a Workshop was released October 3, 2022. Free PDFs are available here.
Since around 1980, fewer Americans than before have been doing better than their parents – that is, more have experienced downward social and economic mobility in occupational status and income. This trend in downward mobility is occurring amidst high and rising levels of inequality in income, wealth, health, and life expectancy. To better understand the factors that influence social and economic mobility, the Committee on Population and the Committee on National Statistics hosted a workshop on February 14-15, 2022. Courtney Coile (Wellesley College) chaired the workshop planning committee. The proceedings from this workshop, prepared by rapporteur Erin Hammers Forstag, identify key priorities for future research and data collection to improve social and economic mobility.

Other News and Events

JPSM Distinguished Lecture
April 14, 2023

Measuring Sexual and Gender Minorities in the Federal Statistical System: Are We There Yet?
Nancy Bates, Senior Researcher for Survey Methods Research (U.S. Census Bureau, retired) and co-chair of CNSTAT’s consensus study, Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation, will discuss the report at the annual JPSM Distinguished lecture at 3 pm. Discussants include Gary Gates, Demographer (Retired) and Karen L. Parker, Director, Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (NIH).

Public Comment Invited on Proposed Race and Ethnicity Reporting Standards—Comments Due April 12, 2023

On January 26, 2023, the Chief Statistician’s Office in OMB released a set of initial proposals to revise OMB’s statistical standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data across federal agencies in a Federal Register Notice. These are initial proposals developed by an Interagency Technical Working Group—they are not the final recommendations from the Working Group to OMB, and they do not represent the positions of OMB or the agencies participating on the Working Group. Input from stakeholders and the public will be critical in guiding the Working Group as it continues to refine its recommendations. Comments can be submitted by April 12 at Regulations.gov, by searching for “OMB-2023-0001”.
The Working Group also has a new public website at: spd15revision.gov. The target to complete these revisions is summer 2024.

Save the Date: Townhalls on the Proposed Race and Ethnicity Reporting Standards

OMB and the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards (Working Group) are hosting three Town Halls to hear directly from the American public about the initial proposals to revise Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15).
• Town Hall 1: Tuesday, March 14 at 2pm ET
• Town Hall 2: Friday, March 17 at 2pm ET
• Town Hall 3: Saturday, March 18 at 2pm ET
The Town Halls will be accessible via Webex and audio through Verizon. More information is available at this link.

FCSM 2022 Conference presentations posted; Call for Abstracts for 2023 Conference

Presentations from the 2022 FCSM Conference can be accessed for download in PDF format at https://www.fcsm.gov/events/2022-fcsm-conference/. Looking ahead to the 2023 FCSM Research and Policy Conference, a few items to note:
• The conference will take place on October 24-26, 2023, at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (3501 University Blvd E, Hyattsville, MD)
• The Call for Abstracts is available at www.fcsm2023.org, and abstracts are due April 3, 2023.

See current project portfolio and all details here: CNSTAT March 2023 newsletter