Tag: #statistics

The things that will kill you

Just listening to the news, you’d think that all of us were going to get killed tomorrow from a massive terrorist attack. Heck, some of my colleagues have been going on so much about Zika that they make it seem like we’re all going to die from Zika… Or that a whole generation of children are going to be born microcephalic.…

Of numbers and proportions

Last week, after the events in Dallas, Texas, where 5 police officers were shot dead, the Chief of Police in El Paso, Texas, decided to make a statement. Unfortunately, he decided to label the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement as a hate group. This is unfortunate because we’re at a point in history where there needs to be a discussion…

Guns and swimming pools

Quick, what’s the difference between a gun and a swimming pool? Don’t answer that. It’s a stupid question. Anyone with a grade school education — or even no education — should be able to tell the difference between the two. However, there continues to be this comparison between guns and swimming pools in trying to justify the refusal of any…

The Suicide Emergency

As part of my schoolwork this term, I’ve been doing a lot of research into suicide in the United States. It’s a delicate subject in my family because of events in the recent past, but, like any other fear of mine, I’ve decided to grab it by the horns, look it in the eye, and try to understand it. The…

21 things I learned from my biostats midterm exam

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…

A tag-team presentation on statistics and research studies

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.

Featured image credit: Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter / CC BY-NC