Statistical Principles to Live By

Date: August 03, 2007 Time: (All day)
Event Type: Lecture

This talk deals with principles derived from over 30 years of applying statistics to biomedical research, collaborating with clinical and basic biological researchers and epidemiologists. The principles relate to statistical efficiency, bias, validity, robustness, interpretation of statistical results, multivariable predictive modeling, statistical computing, and graphical presentation of information. Topics to be discussed include respecting continuous variables, avoiding non-descriptive statistics, problems associated with filtering out negative results, overfitting, shrinkage, adjusting P-values for multiple comparisons without adjusting point estimates for same, and the false promise of multi-stage estimation and testing procedures, related to the use of bogus conditional techniques for computing what is advertised as unconditional variances or type I errors. Dr. Harrell received a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in 1979 under the direction of PK Sen. He has devoted his career to the study of patient outcomes in general and specifically to the development of accurate prognostic and diagnostic models and models for many other patient responses. His primary methodologic research relates to development of reliable statistical models, quantifying predictive accuracy, modeling strategies utilizing data reduction methods, estimating covariable transformations, model validation methods, penalized estimation (shrinkage), and missing data imputation. His book Regression Modeling Strategies with Applications to Linear Models, Logistic Regression, and Survival Analysis (2001, Springer-Verlag) contains theory, examples, and detailed case studies demonstrating the use of many modern statistical modeling tools.
After 17 years in the Biometry and Cardiology Divisions and the Clinical Research Institute of Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Harrell founded the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences at the University of Virginia. In 2003 Dr Harrell became the founding chair of the Department of Biostatistics at Vanderbilt. His new area of emphasis is pharmaceutical safety, related to developing better ways to present safety information to data monitoring committees and developing new methods for pharmaceutical researchers to explore clinical chemistry, hematology, adverse events, and ECG data in Phase II and III randomized clinical trials.