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May 12: Statistics in Practice

Statistics in PracticeIn this Brief, we dive into the terms “sensitivity” and “specificity” and their relatives.  In our course spotlight, clinical trials is the topic.  Now there’s a site just for the 800+ clinical trials associated with Covid-19 (treatments and vaccines).  Is it time for you to start learning how clinical trials work?  Check out our course:

See you in class!

Peter Bruce

Founder, Author, and Senior Scientist

Covid-19: Sensitivity, Specificity and More

Covid-19 has brought statistical concepts and terms into the popular news as never before. One confusing tangle is the array of terms surrounding diagnostic test results – sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, precision, false positives, false negatives, and more.  Let’s untangle them.[…]

Word of the Week

Sensitivity and Specificity

We defined these terms already (see above), but how can you remember which is which, so you don’t have to look them up?  If you can remember the order in which to recite them – sensitivity then specificity, it’s easy.  Think “positive and negative” and, applying the same order, you measure the percent of positives (negatives) correctly identified. […]

Student Spotlight

Timothy Young, Contracts Administrator, County of Los Angeles

Timothy recently started the Data Science Analytics Bachelor’s Degree program that offers in conjunction with Thomas Edison State University (TESU) and has already been able to put his learning to work.  At his job, using skills acquired at, he has implemented process improvements to streamline the contract procedure.

Timothy Young“This involved using data collection and descriptive statistics (including charts and graphs to visualize the data) to build a story and metrics surrounding the current approval process.  Once we had enough information, we conducted A/B testing to find the most efficient process.”

Course Spotlight

Introduction to Statistical Issues in Clinical Trials(June 12 to July 10)

You will learn how to 

  • Identify the phases in clinical trials and their scope (new drugs, devices, etc)
  • List the principles of good trial design
  • Specify designs for case studies with different endpoints
  • Conduct analysis for several different endpoint designs

Your instructor is Dr. Nand Kishore Rawat, a Portfolio Director of Clinical Research Services at Cytel Statistical Software & Services.  His team has pioneered the use of flexible and adaptive designs in clinical trials; Cytel also brings you this really cool dashboard for reviewing and filtering the 800+ clinical trials in progress for Covid-related treatments and vaccines. 

Analyzing and Modeling Covid-19 Data (June 12 to July 10)

We’ll cover analysis of Covid data broadly, and focus on the epidemiological and statistical models used to forecast the spread of the pandemic. In this seminar-style course for statistically-literate* researchers, you will

  • Explore key rates and features of the Coronavirus data
  • Learn how to specify epidemiological models
  • Learn how to fit statistical models
  • The strengths and weaknesses of each type of model

The instructors are

  • James Hardin, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Curriculum for the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina.
  • Wayne Folta a Lead Data Scientist at Elder Research, Inc. where he develops and deploys models for clients. His current work involves the design and implementation of text mining and deep learning models at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; he has also been active within Elder Research in exploring and assessing epidemiological models in R.

See you in class!

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