2021 Statistical Science Lectures

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  • Wollongong Campus
    Building 43, Room G01

The SMAS 2021 Statistical Science Lecture will be held on Wednesday 3 November 2021

  • Time: 10:45am for an 11am start, followed by refreshments, with attendance on campus (subject to COVID-19 restrictions)
  • Location: UOW Building 43, Room G01. Also, delivery by Zoom
  • Register in advance: Register at Eventbrite

The 2021 Statistical Science Lecturer

Scott L. Zeger - John C. Malone Professor of Biostatistics and Medicine The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA


Saving Medical Dollars, Trillions at a Time: A Statistical Perspective


American Medicine wastes $1.2 trillion per year, 5% of GDP, and produces noncompetitive health outcomes. A substantial fraction of this waste is attributable to poor use of information in clinical decisions. This talk addresses a statistical framework that is essential infrastructure to learn from past experience how to improve care for future patients at more affordable costs. We frame four core medical questions in statistical terms, then offer a Bayesian hierarchical modeling approach that integrates complex data with prior biomedical knowledge to address the questions. This approach is starting to be implemented in academic health centers. We use two recent examples from autoimmune disease and Covid-19 clinics to illustrate the methods, identify current obstacles to success, and point out opportunities for data scientists to directly impact future healthcare decisions.

Scott L. Zeger is The Johns Hopkins University’s co-Director of Hopkins in Health, the Johns Hopkins precision medicine partnership of the University, Health System, and Applied Physics Laboratory. He conducts statistical research on regression analysis for correlated responses and on methods for precision medicine. He has made substantive contributions to our understanding of the effects on health of smoking and air pollution, the global etiology of children’s pneumonia, and other topics. Professor Zeger has served as expert witness to the U.S. Department of Justice and several states in their civil suits against the tobacco industry and as a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors for the Merck Research Laboratory. He is a member of the Springer-Verlag editorial board for Statistics and was the founding co-editor of the Oxford University Press journal, Biostatistics. Dr. Zeger’s work has been recognized with several awards including most recently an honorary doctorate from Lancaster University in England and the 2015 Karl Pearson Prize from the International Statistical Institute with Kung-Yee Liang for their development of Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Dr. Zeger is most proud of his Golden Apple Awards from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Student Assembly, for excellence in teaching.