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2011 President: An Introduction

3 January 2011 One Comment
Nancy Geller


It happens every January: a new year, a new ASA president. I have been looking forward to this opportunity from the moment of that surprising phone call from ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein telling me I won the election. I say “surprising” because I think it is the first election I have won since elementary school (not that I have run in so many).

I have spent the last year learning a lot about the ASA, making 150 committee appointments, and chairing the Leadership Support Council (LSC) in its first year of existence. Beginning in 2010, the LSC replaced the Committee on Committees as the body that coordinates ASA committee activities. I also designed three initiatives and set up working groups to implement them. I will write future columns about the first year of the LSC and my presidential initiatives.

I am not sure what prepares someone to be the president of an organization as large and multi-faceted as the ASA. In my day job, I am director of the Office of Biostatistics Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. My group is comprised of 13 individuals who are well known throughout our institute and the National Institutes of Health for their statistical talent, collegiality, and ability to participate in team science. I encourage their talents and initiative without micromanaging, and I try to help out if things don’t go so well. We communicate openly, even about the “bad stuff.”

It is a large step from my day job to the ASA presidency—and I am still keeping my day job. As a U.S. government employee, I am restricted from participating in any political activity on behalf of the ASA. Since much of our science policy activities involve the U.S. government, I must leave the public face of these issues to others. I also am restricted from active fundraising and can only use my day job title incidentally, not prominently.

Perhaps another role I have played that has helped buy ativan prescription prepare me for the ASA presidency is that of president of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics (ISCB), a much smaller, predominantly European organization. Everything I learned from ISCB must be scaled up hundreds of times! In a small organization, the president can know many of the details. In an organization as large as the ASA, the president must often rely on others to gain understanding of details. Communication is essential, and I must remember that nothing I do for the ASA is in a vacuum.

I have found it worthwhile to tell “the presidents” and Ron about all of my activities and members of the LSC about anything relevant to them. In 2011, I hope to communicate more broadly, using these columns to tell you about much of what we do. I will travel to many meetings and chapters in 2011. I plan to tell you about these visits, just as I wrote last month about the symposium in honor of Steve Lagakos.

I have had the privilege of working with members of the ASA Board for the past year and thank everyone on it for sharing their experiences and views and teaching me so much about this vibrant organization. I look forward to learning more in 2011. I want to especially thank Sastry Pantula (now past-president), Sally Morton (now former past-president), and Ron for mentoring me and preparing me for my presidential year. I hope I live up to your expectations.

Please remember that this is your organization. If I may speak for the board of directors and the ASA staff, we are always happy to hear from you. Of course, we welcome your suggestions; and if you do have a complaint, perhaps you also will offer a possible solution. We are all striving toward making our profession thrive, even if we want to go about it in different ways. I look forward to working with you in 2011 and beyond.

Best wishes to all for a successful 2011.

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