Statistics Contributes Significantly to Society

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The American Statistical Society's “Statistical Significance” data sheets, and sessions at the Joint Statistical Meetings, reveal the contributions of statisticians in developments in many fields.

Joint Statistical Meetings, July 28--August 2

“Statistical Significance,” a series of data sheets from the American Statistical Association (ASA), highlights the important contributions that statisticians have made – and are still making -- to society, from healthcare and the economy to national security and the environment. Developed with assistance from ASA sections and its Scientific and Public Affairs Committee, the series is available for download or viewing on the ASA web site (links below).

Many of the topics covered in the series also are the topics of sessions at the Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego July 28—August 2. During that time, some 6,000 statisticians will hear the findings of recent statistical studies and research in many fields that affect human life and well-being.

Note to editors: Members of the media are invited to participate in any or all of the sessions at JSM. Media registration is required; call Rosanne Desmone at 703.946.3820 or use the form at

The titles and descriptions of the Statistical Significance series appear below; links to the data sheets are included:

Statistics Informs Energy Policy
Statisticians provide policymakers with a range of information that covers energy production, consumption, imports, exports, inventories, prices, and environmental effects. They also provide projections for future activities and analyses of the possible effects of changes in technology, regulations, and tax policies. Statistical analyses based on high-quality data promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its place in the economy and environment.

Statistics Aids in Drug and Device Development
Any drug, device, or vaccine legally sold in the United States must go through a rigorous process of approval and oversight. Statisticians are vital at all stages to get safe, effective drugs and devices to market quickly and to monitor them thereafter. Contained herein are examples illustrating just a few of the uses of statistics for the approval of drugs, biologics, and devices.

Statistics Helps Improve the Blood Supply    
A safe and adequate blood supply is a critical requirement for modern medicine and public health. Advanced statistical analysis and modeling helps to achieve these important goals.

Statistics Informs Health Policy
Statisticians design studies and analyze and interpret data that empowers health policy stakeholders to draw conclusions and make decisions about the most effective and efficient treatments, caregivers, health care systems, and health care policies. Statisticians contribute to providing more and better information for a spectrum of decision makers—those at the kitchen table and those in the private sector, government, hospitals, and doctors’ offices.

Statistics Improves Health Care
Statisticians are vital to all forms of health care, from developing treatments to examining regimens for preventing and detecting disease. To deal with the complexity of the human body and its interactions with its surroundings, statisticians collaborate with health-care researchers to extract information from data, leading to treatments and information that reach the public more quickly.

Statistics Powers Competitiveness
Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency: Statisticians have developed powerful analytical tools that allow one to extract robust conclusions from data samples. As a result, industry, agriculture, and phar¬maceutical companies have improved their productivity and competitiveness immensely.

Statistics Monitors the Environment
The environment is an enormously complex system. There is an endless number of variables, along with randomness, natural variations, and complicated interactions. Statisticians are essential to sorting through this complexity and uncertainty. Working with scientists from many disciplines, statisticians identify and quantify trends and influences to make projections.

Statistics Improves Security and Defense
Statisticians have developed powerful analysis tools that help keep our nation safe. In national security and defense, not only do these tools help prevent major attacks, but they also handle cyber defense, biosurveillance, military research, military force structure, and environmental research.

JSM Sessions in San Diego
Complete conference information is available at the JSM web site at, where you can visit the JSM newsroom’s Highlighted Sessions page for sessions of particular interest. The online program, also available from that link, contains information on all JSM sessions and can be searched on keywords, presenter’s name or affiliation.    

About JSM
JSM, which has been held annually since 1974, is conducted jointly with the American Statistical Association (ASA), the International Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR), the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS), the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), the International Chinese Statistical Association, and the International Indian Statistical Association. JSM activities include oral presentations, panel sessions, poster presentations, continuing education courses, exhibit hall (with state-of-the-art statistical products and opportunities), career placement service, society and section business meetings, committee meetings, social activities, and networking opportunities. JSM 2013 will be held in Montreal, Canada, and JSM 2014 will be held in Boston, where ASA had its beginnings in 1839.

About the American Statistical Association
Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, the American Statistical Association is the world’s largest community of statisticians and the second oldest continuously operating professional society in the United States. For more than 170 years, the ASA has supported excellence in the development, application, and dissemination of statistical science through meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation, and advocacy. Its members serve in industry, government, and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare.


For more information:
Rosanne Desmone
703.302.1861 (direct)
703.946.3820 (mobile)

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