Award Winners in 2012
- SSC Impact Award
- Honorary Member
- SSC Gold Medalist
- Distinguished Service Award
- Pierre-Robillard Award
- CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics
- The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award
- Lise Manchester Award
SSC Impact Award: David Binder
At its Annual Meeting held in Guelph, Ontario, June 3-6, the Statistical Society of Canada announced that David A. Binder is the 2012 recipient of the Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by SSC members in collaborative research and applied work, the importance of which derives primarily from its relatively recent impact on a subject area outside of the statistical sciences, on an area of application, or on an organization.
The award is presented
"in recognition of his pioneering development of methodology for the analysis of complex survey data; his efforts to make these methods accessible to practitioners and researchers in all disciplines who use complex survey data; his leadership in the use of sound statistical methods in several positions at Statistics Canada, culminating in the position of Directory General of the Methodology Branch; and his impact on the practices of official statistics internationally."
David Binder immigrated to Canada at the age of two from London, England. His parents were European refugees without much formal education. David lived in Toronto until after graduating with a BSc in mathematics at the University of Toronto in 1971. He completed his PhD in 1977 at Imperial College, London, UK.
David's affiliation with Statistics Canada began in 1971 as a survey methodologist. Over the years, he moved up the ranks at Statistics Canada, culminating his career as the Director General of the Methodology Branch, before accepting a position for a few months as Senior Advisor to an Assistant Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada. After his retirement in 2004, David continued to work at Statistics Canada on a part-time basis, mostly to pursue his research interests that were also of interest to Statistics Canada, and to provide technical advice on various statistical issues.
David interrupted his career for three years (1973-1976) to pursue post-graduate studies at the University of London in the United Kingdom, and later for two years (1979-1981) to hold a teaching and research position at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Administration.
David devoted much of his career to developing methods to make valid statistical inferences where the data were obtained from surveys with complex sampling designs. His focus was on the situation where the target parameters of interest are parameters of a statistical model. The subtleties of the impact of the survey design on such inferences are generally not well understood by those without more advanced statistical expertise. However, with the incorporation of several methods into various commercial statistical analysis software packages, the methods have become more accessible to researchers from many disciplines. David's research contributions in this area have been incorporated in these packages.
David published over 35 refereed papers, over 40 publications in conference proceedings and over 15 reports and other publications. Most of his articles are related to the theory and methods for the analysis of complex survey data. His methods have been incorporated in a number of commercial software packages, including SAS, Stata, SUDAAN, and SPSS. His publications are widely cited in papers on applications of analysis of complex survey data. His articles have appeared in top journals, including Biometrika, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics.
David was very active in several statistical societies, including the Statistical Society of Canada, where he served as President and as Executive Director. He was an Associate Editor for Survey Methodology and The Canadian Journal of Statistics, and has edited several conference proceedings. He also served on NSERC's Statistical Sciences Grant Selection Committee.
David's statistical leadership and research contributions have been recognized with Elected Membership in the International Statistical Institute in 1985, and Fellowship in the American Statistical Association in 1991; he received the Distinguished Service Award of the SSC in 2011. David served on several international committees to study appropriate methods for estimation of finite population quantities, as well as for analysis of survey. These committees include the American Statistical Association Census Advisory Committee of the US Bureau of the Census, the ASA Expert Panel to Review the Current Employment Statistics Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and several panels to review the statistical framework at the European Commission. He was a joint editor of a monograph on business survey methods.
On June 3, 2012, Dr, Binder passed away peacefully in Ottawa. David is survived by Marilyn, his wife of over 40 years, and their daughter Jill. There will be a special session to honour the memory of Dr. Binder at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society, to be held May 26-29 in Edmonton, Alberta.
SSC Honorary Membership awarded to James O. Ramsey
Jim was born on September 5, 1942, in Prince George, British Columbia. His father was a telegrapher on the Canadian National Railway, so that during his youth, Jim kept moving from place to place in Alberta and Saskatchewan with his parents and his two sisters. Finally, following 14 moves in 11 years, the family settled in Wainwright, Alberta, where Jim completed his high school.
Jim has had a long and distinguished career as a researcher. He is internationally acclaimed as the founder of Functional Data Analysis. He has contributed widely to the development of the field and to its dissemination through numerous publications and software libraries in Matlab and R. His bestselling books with Bernard Silverman, entitled Functional Data Analysis (1997, 2005) and Applied Functional Data Analysis (2002) are highly influential; the monograph Functional Data Analysis in Matlab and R (2009), co-authored by Giles Hooker and Spencer Graves, has enjoyed the same runaway success.
Jim has also made highly influential contributions to multidimensional scaling and nonparametric statistics, in addition to solving a range of problems in psychometrics and much more. He published over 80 articles to this day, many in top-tier journals such as Psychometrika, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Biometrika, Biometrics, etc. No fewer than three of his papers (on multidimensional scaling, functional data analysis, and parameter estimation for nonlinear dynamic systems) were presented at meetings of the Royal Statistical Society and later published with discussion in the Society's Journal (Series B). His paper on monotone smoothing splines (Statistical Science, 1988) is still the centerpiece of much discussion about constrained nonparametric inference. And of course his paper entitled "When the data are functions" (Psychometrika, 1982), which launched Functional Data Analysis, is a classic.
In recognition of his work, Jim was awarded the 1998 Gold Medal of the SSC. Together with Nancy Heckman, he was also the recipient of The Canadian Journal of Statistics Best
Paper Award in 2000. Members of the SSC have often had a chance to hear him speak at their Annual Meeting, and they have appreciated his involvement in the Society in various capacities, most notably as President (2002-2003). A fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, Jim also served as President of the Psychometric Society (1981-1982) and as Chair of his department (1986-1989), among others.
Jim was married to Maureen Tighe in 1966. Their children grew up in Verdun, a working class neighborhood of Montréal. One of them, Tim, became a statistician, two are French immersion teachers, one is a programmer, and the youngest is a contemporary artist. Following his retirement from McGill, Jim moved with his wife to Ottawa, where he is as active as ever in research and student mentoring. An avid sportsman, he loves cross-country skiing and canoeing; two years ago, he also cycled all the way from Vancouver to Winnipeg!
The certificate that accompanied the award reads:
"To James O. Ramsay, for his leading role in the development of
functional data analysis and modeling of dynamic processes; for his
contributions to psychometrics; for constantly promoting the use of the best
statistical methods in research; and for his mentoring of young
SSC Gold Medal awarded to Robert Tibshirani
Robert John Tibshirani, a professor in the Department of Health Research and Policy and in the Department of Statistics at Stanford University is the winner of the 2012 Gold Medal of the Statistical Society of Canada. This award is the highest distinction bestowed by the SSC. It is given annually to a Canadian statistician or probabilist who has made outstanding research contributions to statistical sciences and is intended to honor a leader in the field.
Rob Tibshirani studied statistics and computer science at the University of Waterloo (BMath, 1979), University of Toronto (MSc, 1980) and Stanford University (PhD, 1984). His PhD thesis was written under the supervision of Bradley Efron. He was an Assistant Professor (1985-89), Associate Professor (1989-94) and Professor (1994-98) at the University of Toronto. In 1998 he joined Stanford University as Professor.
Rob's contributions in the statistical sciences place him in the uppermost echelon of researchers worldwide. He has made exceptional contributions to methodology and theory for the analysis of complex data sets, smoothing and regression methodology, statistical learning, and classification, and application areas that include public health, genomics, and proteomics. Some of his best-known contributions include the Lasso, which uses absolute value penalization in regression and related problems, Generalized Additive Modeling, and Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM). He has co-authored three widely used books Generalized Additive Models, An Introduction to the Bootstrap, and The Elements of Statistical Learning, now in its second edition. These books are very widely used not only in statistics but also in other fields and their material is taught in graduate schools around the world.
Rob has published over 240 refereed papers in leading statistics journals such as The Annals of Statistics, Biometrika, Biometrics, Biostatistics, The Canadian Journal of Statistics, Journal of the American Statistical Association, and Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B. He has also published widely in other leading scientific journals including Bioinformatics, New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Neural Computation, and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Rob's earliest work was on the bootstrap, where he wrote major papers with Bradley Efron on confidence intervals, estimation of prediction error, and model search. He soon moved into other computer- intensive methods for estimation, clustering, and classification with a number of landmark papers such as his 1986 Statistical Science and 1987 JASA papers on generalized additive models with Trevor Hastie. In 1996 he published a paper in JRSS-B in which the Lasso was born. Many of his major contributions overlap the field of machine learning in computer science, and Rob, Jerry Friedman, and Trevor Hastie began to use the term statistical learning, which is in the title of their 2001 book.
Rob's other contributions are too numerous to list, but major areas include adaptive logistic regression and boosting (with Friedman and Hastie, The Annals of Statistics, 2000), and least angle regression (with Efron, Hastie, and Johnstone, The Annals of Statistics, 2004).
Rob has also made exceptionally broad and important contributions to genetics, medicine, public health, traffic safety, and other scientific areas. His current research focuses on the analysis of high-dimensional data, with a special focus on applications in genomics, proteomics, and computational biology. Rob co-authored the first study linking cell phone usage with car accidents; this widely cited article played a role in the introduction of legislation that restricts the use of phones while driving. He is one of the most widely cited authors in the entire mathematical sciences. On the lighter side, in his paper "Who is the fastest man in the world?" he analyzed sprint races after the 1996 Olympics and correctly predicted (Canadian) Donovan Bailey's victory over Michael Johnson in the 1997 special match race at Toronto's SkyDome.
Rob's exceptional contributions in research have been recognized through various awards and honors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Statistical Association, and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He won the worldwide COPSS Award in 1996, the NSERC Steacie Award in 1997, the CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics in 2000, the University of Waterloo Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 2006, and he was an IMS medallion lecturer.
Rob has also served the profession in many capacities: as Associate Editor for many journals including The Canadian Journal of Statistics, as program chair for conferences such as the SSC meeting, and through memberships in professional committees and panels for organizations such as ASA, IMS and NSERC. He has been heavily involved in PhD supervision, graduating 29 PhD students who have gone on to significant careers in academia and industry.
His parents, Sami and Vera Tibshirani, have given him a lifetime of love and support. He has a wonderful wife Cheryl and they are blessed with three special children: Charlie, Ryan, and Julie. Ryan is also one of his proudest "contributions" to the field of statistics: he is now an Assistant Professor in Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University.
Rob received his Gold Medal at the 40th SSC Annual meeting held in Guelph, Ontario, June 3 to 6, 2012. The citation that accompanied the award reads:
"To Robert John Tibshirani, for pioneering work in the development and implementation of statistical methodology in many important and evolving fields such as the bootstrap, generalized additive models, statistical learning, high-dimensional data analysis, multiple hypothesis testing, significance analysis of microarrays, and for broad and important contributions to genetics, medicine, public health, traffic safety and other scientific areas."
Rob will deliver the Gold Medal Address at the 41st Annual Meeting of
the Society to be held May 26 to 29, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Distinguished Service Award: Román Viveros-Aguilera
Román Viveros-Aguilera, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University, is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. The announcement was made at the opening of the Society's Annual Meeting held in Guelph, ON, June 3-6, 2012. The award recognizes a member of the SSC who has made substantial contributions to the running or welfare of the SSC over a period of several years. It rewards devotion and service to statistics in Canada as shown by exceptional service to the SSC.
Born in rural Mexico in a hamlet around the Gulf area, Román studied mathematics at Universidad Veracruzana (BMath) in his native state of Veracruz and at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (MSc) in Mexico City. He then came to Canada where he earned a PhD in statistics at the University of Waterloo. His thesis, written under the supervision of David Sprott, received the Pierre Robillard Award. After his PhD studies, Román held an academic position at the Faculty of Computer Science at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico) and a three-year academic appointment in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at University of Waterloo. Since 1990, Román has been affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University.
Román's first SSC conference was the 1984 Annual Meeting held at University of Guelph when he was a graduate student. He has been a regular member since 1990. Over the intervening years, Román has served in a variety of SSC committees, chairing many of them, including Elections, Membership, Awards, Pierre Robillard Award, Education, Statistics Chairs, Publications, Program, and an Ad-hoc Committee on Priorities. He has also served as SSC Local Representative at McMaster and to the Canadian Mathematical Society. For the 1996 JSM held in Chicago, Román represented the SSC in the Program Organizing Committee. He was elected to represent Ontario in the Board of Directors of the Society for two consecutive terms. Currently he serves for the SSC in the COPSS Awards Committee.
A number of other roles and duties have occupied Román's time in the SSC. In 2000, he co-founded (with Bovas Abraham from the University of Waterloo) the Business and Industrial Statistics Section of the SSC, and served as its founding Secretary for four years. He later served as the Section's President. Román has also served as Editor of Liaison, the newsletter of the Society, for the period 2000-2004 and co-editor (with Angelo Canty from McMaster University) during June-December 2007. He has been an Associate Editor of Liaison since 2008. Jointly with Angelo Canty, Román negotiated the agreement with Wiley for the publication of The Canadian Journal of Statistics. He was the organizer for the Canadian side of the 1st Canada-Mexico Statistics Meeting held at the Center for Research in Mathematics in Guanajuato, Mexico in February 2008. In 2007 Román was elected President of the SSC, serving as President-Elect (2007-2008), President (2008-2009) and Past-President (2009-2010).
On the research front, Román has spent time studying statistical methods for small samples and their applications to survival and reliability studies. In recent years, his focus has been on industrial statistics methods. His research articles have appeared in The Canadian Journal of Statistics, Technometrics, Journal of Chemometrics, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, Statistics in Medicine, and Journal of Quality Technology, among other journals.
Teaching statistics and mentoring graduate students have received high priority in his career. He is an enthusiastic teacher of statistics. Román received the McMaster Student Union Teaching Award for Arts and Science in 2005. Over the years, Román has supervised over 20 Master and two PhD students in statistics. He served as Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Statistics at McMaster for over three years.
Román has been married to Carolyn for 22 years. They met at the University of Waterloo when they were graduate students. They have twin sons, Dominic and Michael, who recently began their university studies, and a dog. Román enjoys squash, golf (with limited success), walking and card games. He treasures the many family escapes to the small lakes and forests of Ontario.
Asked about his SSC experience, he says, "The SSC's ultimate strength is its volunteers. They keep the SSC oiled and running in ways I have not seen in other societies. It is not just the willingness to help but the strong commitment to get things done. I was struck by the large number of SSC members involved. It is almost magic to see how the planning of an annual meeting begins, with an amorphous one-page sketch, evolving step by step, and culminating in a professional performance in early June, time and again.''
Román received the 2012 SSC Distinguished Service Award "for his long
and exceptionally devoted services to the Statistical Society of Canada
(SSC) and its Business and Industrial Statistics Section (BISS), notably as
President of the SSC, President and Founding Secretary of BISS, and Editor
Pierre-Robillard Award: Bei Chen
Bei Chen is the winner of the 2011 Pierre Robillard Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. This prize recognizes the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year. Bei Chen's thesis is entitled "Linearization Methods in Time Series Analysis". It was written at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Bovas Abraham and Yulia Gel.
Bei proposes a set of computationally efficient methods based on approximating/representing nonlinear processes by linear ones. Initially, a linearization method is introduced for estimating the multiple frequencies in sinusoidal processes utilizing a regularized autoregressive (RAR) approximation. Secondly, a sieve bootstrap scheme is proposed using the linear representation of generalized autoregressive conditional heteroscedastic (GARCH) models to construct prediction intervals for the returns and volatilities. This method is simple, fast and distribution-free, while providing sharp and well-calibrated prediction intervals. Thirdly, a robust Lagrange multiplier (LM) test is considered for detecting GARCH effects. This test utilizes either the bootstrap or permutation procedure to obtain critical values. Intensive numerical studies indicate that the proposed re- sampling algorithms significantly improve the size and power of the LM test in both skewed and heavy-tailed processes. Finally, a nonparametric trend test is introduced in the presence of GARCH effects. Empirical evidence indicates that the test can effectively detect non-monotonic trends under GARCH, especially in the presence of irregular seasonal components.
Bei Chen was born in Suzhou (Jiangsu) and raised in Shanghai, China. She received her BMath in Statistics and Actuarial Science and her MMath in Statistics from the University of Waterloo, where she also completed and defended her PhD thesis. In September 2011, Bei started a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University. Her research interests are in time series analysis, financial econometrics and re-sampling methods for dependent data.
The criteria used in selecting the winner of the Pierre Robillard Award include the originality of ideas and techniques, the possible applications and their treatment, and the potential impact of the work. The award is named in memory of Professor Pierre Robillard, an outstanding dynamic young statistician at the Université de Montréal, whose untimely death in 1975 cut short what promised to be a highly distinguished career.
Bei Chen presented the results of her thesis in a special session at the
40th Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada held in Guelph,
Ontario, June 3 to 6, 2012.
CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics awarded to Changbao Wu
Professor Changbao Wu, from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo, is the 2012 winner of the CRM-SSC Prize. Awarded annually by the Centre de recherches mathématiques (Montréal) and the Statistical Society of Canada (SSC), this prestigious prize recognizes a statistical scientist's professional accomplishments in research during the first fifteen years after earning a doctorate.
This prize highlights Changbao's outstanding contributions to survey sampling and his exceptional mentoring of graduate students. Changbao also distinguished himself with extended service to his institution, the SSC, and several scholarly journals. The author or co-author of over 30 scientific articles, Changbao has done fundamental work on calibration methods; in particular, he showed how to construct optimal estimators of various finite-population parameters by exploiting auxiliary information efficiently through a model-calibration approach. The general framework he developed for model- assisted calibration methods stimulated much research. More recently, Changbao has focused his interest on empirical likelihood methods for survey data. He is one of the leading developers of pseudo empirical likelihood techniques and the efficient computational algorithms he developed in this context are widely used.
Throughout the years, Changbao also seized many opportunies to get his hands dirty with data. For example, he gained first- hand experience with fishery abundance survey design and analysis. He also played a key role in the Chinese leg of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. In recognition of his leadership role in survey sampling, he was invited to serve as Associate Editor for Biometrika, the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics, Survey Methodology, The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Statistics, and of course The Canadian Journal of Statistics. Advisor or co-advisor of three PhD students and more than 10 MMath students at the University of Waterloo, Changbao is also appreciated for his community contributions. He served on numerous committees at his institution and within the SSC; among others, he was President of the Survey Methods Section in 2005-2006.
Born in 1963, Changbao was raised in a small village in the Chinese province of Anhui. His parents and older brother, now deceased, were peasants; they never received any formal education. The village's first elementary school only opened in 1969. Changbao was part of the first class of students; he was the only one to go on to secondary school. After the Cultural Revolution, Changbao was able to study mathematics at Anhui Laodong University. He graduated in 1982 and was hired as a faculty member at the Anhui Institute of Education, a training centre for high school teachers; the institution later became Hefei Normal University. At the beginning of his career, Changbao was younger than most of his students. An energetic and passionate teacher, he was called "Mr. Towel" because when he taught in the summer, he would bring nothing in class except a towel to wipe off sweat.
Changbao completed an MSc Diploma in Mathematical Statistics at East China Normal University in 1986. Nine years later, he left his job to pursue doctoral studies in statistics in Canada. He completed his PhD at Simon Fraser University in 1999. His thesis entitled "The effective use of complete auxiliary information from survey data" was written under the supervision of the late Randy Sitter. Changbao was always a great teacher but in the 13 years since he joined the University of Waterloo, he has apparently managed to elevate his teaching to a level such that he no longer even needs a towel to teach!
Changbao is not only a statistician. He is also an avid athlete. He was a member of his college's long distance running team, with best finish in 10 km races at 31:29. He has been playing in the NBA (Non-Professional Basketball Association) since 1982. He also enjoys playing badminton and squash with his colleagues and students.
Changbao and his wife Jane recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters: Domeny is a graduate student in the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo; Miranda is currently in 5th grade of elementary school. Both girls are very bright and athletic; they enjoy travelling with the family and all kinds of outdoor activities.
Changbao Wu is the 14th recipient of the CRM-SSC prize. Changbao delivered the CRM-SSC Prize in Statistics Address at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada held in Guelph, Ontario, June 3 to 6, 2012.
The award citation reads:
"For his extensive and influential contributions to the theory and application of survey methodology, notably for the development of pseudo- empirical likelihood methods for the analysis of data arising from complex survey designs involving stratification and multiple frame sampling; and for proposing an inferential framework of importance to the practice of statistics in Canada."
Changbao Wu is the fourteenth recipient of the CRM-SSC Prize. Previous winners of the award were Christian Genest (Laval), Robert J. Tibshirani (Stanford), Colleen D. Cutler (Waterloo), Larry A. Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon), Charmaine B. Dean (Simon Fraser), Randy R. Sitter (Simon Fraser), Jiahua Chen (Waterloo), Jeffrey S. Rosenthal (Toronto), Richard J. Cook (Waterloo), Paul Gustafson (UBC), Hugh A. Chipman (Acadia), Grace Y. Yi (Waterloo), and Edward Susko (Dalhousie).
The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award: Chong Gu and Ping Ma
The Canadian Journal of Statistics Award is presented each year by the Statistical Society of Canada to the author(s) of an article published in the Journal, in recognition of the outstanding quality of the paper's methodological innovation and presentation. This year's winner is the article entitled "Nonparametric regression with cross-classified responses" (vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 591-609) by Chong Gu and Ping Ma.
The authors develop regression models with cross- classified responses, generalizing logistic regression beyond binary data. Absent of covariates, cross-classified data are typically aggregated into contingency tables, for which log-linear models are among the standard analytical tools. With the proposed log-linear regression models, one effectively "disaggregates" contingency tables along an x-axis, allowing the modeling of table probabilities as functions of covariates. The problem is formulated as a special case of penalized likelihood conditional density estimation on a generic domain X times Y, but beyond the basic formulation, modeling tools are developed that only make sense for an all discrete Y, which include the Bayesian confidence intervals for odds ratios among margins of tables and the mixed-effect models for correlated data. Also discussed are cross-validation for smoothing parameter selection and "hypothesis testing" via Kullback-Leibler projection. The modeling and data analytical tools are implemented in the ssllrm suite of the R package gss, whose usage is described in an appendix.
Chong Gu is a Professor in the Department of Statistics at Purdue University. After receiving his PhD degree (Statistics, 1989) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, he spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia before joining the faculty at Purdue in 1990. Gu's main research interests are in multivariate smoothing using roughness penalties, and he has worked on the methodology, the theory, and the computation in the settings of Gaussian and non-Gaussian regression, density estimation, and hazard estimation. He is the author of the 2002 Springer book Smoothing Spline ANOVA Models, of which the second edition is forthcoming. Gu recognizes the importance of the dissemination of methodological innovations via open-source software, and takes pride in the creation and the continuing development of the R package gss.
Ping Ma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD in statistics from Purdue University in 2003 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Jun Liu's lab at Harvard University from 2003 to 2005. Ping's research focuses on nonparametric estimation, bioinformatics and geophysics. He was Beckman Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He is an elected member of International Statistical Institute.
The award-winning paper was presented by the authors at the 40th Annual
Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada held in Guelph, Ontario, June
3 to 6, 2012.
SSC Lise Manchester Award awarded to Geoffrey Fong, David Hammond and Mary Thompson
Geoffrey Fong, David Hammond and Mary Thompson are the 2012 recipients of the Lise Manchester Award. This biennial award is given by the Statistical Society of Canada in commemoration of the late Dr. Lise Manchester's abiding interest in using statistical methods to study matters of relevance to society. The award recognizes excellence in statistical research which considers problems of public interest and which is potentially useful for formation of Canadian public policy.
This year's award is given to Professors Fong, Hammond and Thompson for their work on the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC) Project. Tobacco use is the world's most prevalent cause of death and disease, and is projected by the World Health Organization to kill one billion people in the 21st century. The ITC Project was created in 2002 by an international consortium of researchers, led by Geoffrey Fong and centered at the University of Waterloo, to conduct the first-ever longitudinal cohort study of tobacco use. The objective of the ITC Project is to evaluate the impact of tobacco control policies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which was adopted in 2003 to directly combat the tobacco epidemic and has been ratified by more than 170 countries. Since its inception, the ITC Project has conducted extensive cohort surveys in 20 countries, inhabited by over 50% of the world's population and 70% of the world's tobacco users. It is the first and only international research effort that focuses on measuring the impact of FCTC policies.
In Canada, Professor Fong and his colleague David Hammond have played major roles in evidence-based policymaking in tobacco control in promoting health warnings and smoke-free laws. Professors Fong and Hammond have written reports for Justice Canada and Health Canada regarding the evidence base in support of stronger health warnings and on the elimination of "light/ mild" cigarettes. These efforts have contributed to policy advancements and legislation. Mary Thompson is the Director of the ITC Data Management Centre in Waterloo, which is responsible for sampling designs, data collection, processing, and management, as well as a substantial portion of the analysis of data.
In testimony before the Health Standing Committee of the House of Commons in December 2010, Professor Fong presented ITC Canada Survey data showing that all indicators of health warning label effectiveness had declined over the previous seven years. His evidence was considered highly influential in the government's decision to reinstate regulations for new and larger graphic warnings on tobacco products.
The ITC Project has had significant influence in countries all over the world as they combat the tobacco epidemic. For example, findings from the ITC Bangladesh Survey showed that very low taxes and prices are a primary cause of the increasing rates of tobacco use in that country. The ITC Project team in Bangladesh is working with the National Board of Revenue, in collaboration with WHO, to raise taxes on tobacco products.
In the area of health warnings on cigarette packages, David Hammond served as an Advisor for the World Health Organization during the FCTC negotiations, and ITC research is cited both in the FCTC guidelines and in consultation reports and regulatory impact assessments in more than a dozen countries. Governments have also relied upon ITC findings in court cases to defend tobacco control legislation against industry challenges in countries such as the US and the UK. ITC research has had a similar influence in other policy domains, including restrictions on tobacco advertising and marketing, as well as smoke-free legislation.
Geoffrey Fong is Professor in the Department of Psychology and in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, and Senior Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Originally from California, he received his BA in Psychology from Stanford University and his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. He held faculty positions at Northwestern University and Princeton University before coming to the University of Waterloo in 1988. He is a well-known expert on research methods, judgment and decision-making, and persuasion and social influence, and has a longtime interest in statistical methodology. Besides his work in tobacco control, Professor Fong has also conducted research on the effects of alcohol intoxication on risky health behaviors (e.g., risky sex), and on the creation, implementation, and evaluation (using randomized controlled trials) of behavioral interventions to reduce HIV/ STD risk among inner-city adolescents. As Founder and Chief Principal Investigator of the ITC Project, he spends considerable time traveling to ITC countries, international organizations, and policy forums to work with governments, advocates, and other stakeholders, using ITC findings, to accelerate and strengthen existing tobacco control policies. Among Dr. Fong's awards are the 2009 Top Canadian Achievement in Health Research (with David Hammond and Mary Thompson) from CIHR and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the 2011 CIHR Knowledge Dissemination Award, and a five-year Prevention Scientist Award from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (2011-2016).
David Hammond is Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. He hails from Vancouver and obtained a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. His PhD research in Psychology at the University of Waterloo was carried out under the direction of Professor Fong. Professor Hammond's current research includes tobacco control policy in the areas of health communications, packaging, and product regulation, as well as nutritional labeling and obesity prevention. He also conducts studies in the areas of harm reduction and other areas of health policy. Dr. Hammond works closely with governments around the world and has served as an Advisor for the World Health Organization. He received the 2010 Canada's Premier Young Researcher Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards with Geoffrey Fong and Mary Thompson as part of the ITC Project, and will be receiving the 2013 Jarvik-Russell Young Investigator Award from the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, honouring members early in their careers who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of nicotine and tobacco research. Professor Hammond is often called upon for media interviews and for expert testimony, and has been instrumental in helping governments move forward on pioneering policies such as Australia's upcoming plain packaging regulation for tobacco products.
Mary Thompson is Distinguished Professor Emerita in Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo. Born in Winnipeg, she has lived in Ontario all of her life, except for four years at the University of Illinois, where she obtained her PhD in statistics. Her research interests are in survey methodology and estimation theory. She began working with the ITC Project at its inception in 2002, and is currently Director of the ITC Data Management Centre, housed at Waterloo. She has been responsible for the sampling designs for the cohort surveys, has been heavily involved in the data analysis underlying the policy recommendations, and oversees the management of the databases. She is a past President (1993-1994) of the Survey Methods Section of the Statistical Society of Canada, and a member of Statistics Canada's Advisory Committee on Statistical Methods (1995-present). She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (1977), and a Fellow of both the American Statistical Association (1985) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1998). In 2003 she was the recipient of the Statistical Society of Canada's Gold Medal for distinguished contributions to the field and also served as President. In 2006 she was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2004 she was one of the first three faculty members at Waterloo to receive the honorific title of University Professor. And in 2007 she received her most treasured award-the University of Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.
The award citation reads:
"For their work using rigorous survey research methods and policy
evaluation designs as part of the International Tobacco Control Policy
Evaluation Project, and for their collaboration in Canada with government
agencies, all of which has resulted in a direct and marked influence on
Canadian legislation and policy regarding tobacco use, and which has
influenced leaders in over twenty countries worldwide with respect to
tobacco policies that include smoke- free initiatives and regulations on
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