If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to write down some things I learned from my biostats exam in an attempt to learn from my errors, memorize some concepts, learn them as well, and then get ready for next week’s final exam. #21 – Read the question, twice if you need to. More than half of my wrong answers came from…
My lovely wife and I delivered a presentation (more like a chat) today at the annual conference of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. It was a one-hour presentation on the use (and abuse) of research studies in mental health settings. Coming from an infectious disease background, I felt a little like a fish (not out of water, but) in a different kind of water.
So I did my best to explain some basic biostatistics stuff and how research studies are designed and conducted and why some studies are better than others. As we all learned from the Wakefield fraud, a case series is not necessarily a good design to draw conclusions about causality. Because the practice of mental health counseling is moving more and more towards demanding that all interventions (or as many as possible) be “evidence-based,” I thought it was important to present to the participants what we mean by “evidence” and where that evidence comes from.
There were a few attendees at the beginning, but people trickled down as time went by. This was definitely a different kind of audience than what I’m used to. You’ll see that there was a lot of back-and-forth with a few of the participants, and there were plenty of interruptions. I kind of liked it, actually.
So why “tag-team”? Because my lovely wife introduced the talk and also contributed to the presentation with her perspective on the subject. She is finishing up her master’s degree in mental health counseling. She’s one smart cookie, my wife… Mostly because she married me.
The sound recording of the presentation follows, and you can download a PDF of the presentation by clicking here.
I’ve created this spreadsheet in Excel: http://sdrv.ms/14JrMBx (Opens in SkyDrive, then hit “download” to open it locally on your computer with Excel.) I’m using it to explain to folks the significance of “odds ratios.” For example, if there is an outbreak of measles in a group of children, and a lot of the children in the outbreak are vaccinated, the odds…