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Papers, Posters, Roundtables, Oh My!

1 July 2017 23 views No Comment
This column is written for anyone engaged in or interested in statistical consulting. It includes articles ranging from what starting a consulting business would entail to what could be taught in a consulting course. If you have ideas for articles, contact the ASA’s Section on Statistical Consulting publication’s officer, Mary Kwasny.

Contributing editor Mary Kwasny is an associate professor in the department of preventive medicine and an active member of the Biostatistics Collaboration Center at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. She has been enjoying the art of statistical consulting and collaboration for more than 20 years in academic medical centers and external non-profits.

JSM is just around the [consultant’s] corner. The officers and volunteers of the Section on Statistical Consulting have worked hard to plan a diverse and provocative menu for those at all levels of career and interest. If you have not been to JSM or have not been there in a while, let me tell you it has become a great place to network, learn a few new tricks of the trade, meet people with similar interests, and—this year—see a bit of Baltimore.

If you have been to JSM recently, I must ask, “What is one of the qualities that all great consultants share?” If you thought to yourself, “The communication skills to explain to others the meaning and message that exists inside what seems like chaos,” then consider the opportunity to use your consulting skills as a JSM docent. Since JSM 2014, docents have assisted first-timers through the seeming chaos that is JSM. Sign up if you are interested.

The First-Time Attendee Orientation and Reception is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Also, consider getting involved in any of the many mentoring programs. Sharing both successes and failures is one way to ensure this field continues to grow and move forward.

From a bird’s eye view, here’s where many of us will be:


  • Statistical Consulting Applications (Sunday)
  • A Consulting Dish Cooked Three Ways: Contrasting Approaches for Dealing with Internal, External, and Academic Consulting Clients (Monday)
  • What Should an Academic Consulting Statistician Do? (Monday)
  • Consulting, Collaboration, Communication, and Impact (Tuesday)
  • Collaborative Research on Measures of Health Disparities (Wednesday)
  • Challenges and Rewards of Major Career Changes for Collaborative Statisticians (Wednesday)
  • Bridging the Gap Between Statistics and Other Data Sciences: Where’s the Bridge? Where’s the Gap? (Thursday)
  • The Leadership Journey for Statisticians (Thursday)


  • How to Grow a Successful Statistical Consulting Enterprise (Monday)
  • Structures of Successful Stat Labs (Monday)
  • Consulting, Collaboration, or Something Else? Perspectives (Tuesday)
  • Meetings: Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones (Tuesday)
  • A Statistician’s Guide to Data Storytelling in Business (Wednesday)
  • Impact of Successful Stats Consulting in a Fast-Changing Environment: A Pharmaceutical Industry Perspective (Wednesday)


  • Teaching a Large, Project-Based Statistical Consulting Class (Sunday)
  • Meta-Analysis of Conflicting Outcome Measures (Tuesday)

Speed Session

  • Where Does All the Time Go? Measuring Clients’ Service Utilization via Time-Tracking Software (Tuesday)

Professional Development Course

  • Research and Analysis Workflows: Low-Cost, Every-Day Project Management Techniques, Tools, and Tips That Produce High-Quality, Streamlined, Stress-Free Research and Data Science (Tuesday)

If you are new to the consulting section, or just want to learn more about who we are and what we do, be sure to attend our business meeting and mixer Tuesday evening at 5:30 and 6:30, respectively. Note that all business meetings for all sections are open to everyone (unless they are specifically marked “closed” in the program book), and the business meetings are a great way to meet the members of and get a feel for a section.

This year, several sections with similar member bases have suggested a super mixer. This is somewhat breaking news, so be sure to check the final JSM program to see which sections are included. I believe the Statistical Consulting, Physical and Engineering Sciences, and Quality and Productivity sections will be co-hosting a single mixer after their respective business meetings. While it may have a detrimental effect on your step count for the day, it will be nice to not have to cut conversations short so you can make appearances at three places within one hour. Then again, after not running around, you may have enough energy to make it to the Tuesday night dance party!

Hope to see you at JSM!

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