News Archives 2007

December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

February 2007

January 2007

12/17/07

ED PAR Interactive Web Site Wins Award

The 2005 U.S. Department of Education (ED) Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) web site (external site) [*] was awarded a W3 2007 Silver Award in the Government category. The W3 Awards (external site) [*] honor creative excellence on the web and recognize the creative and marketing professionals behind award-winning sites, videos, and marketing programs.

The ED PAR web site required multiple levels of navigation and quick access to specific sections for the various types of users. Westat produced the 2005 ED PAR as a Section 508 compliant and user-friendly web site. The site uses cascading style sheets, which also contain several accessible PDFs and data tables. The in-depth web site was very well received by ED and its general audience.

The 2005 ED PAR web site gives the audience an inside look at the Department's:

  • Goals for fundamental improvement in the Nation's education;
  • Performance on Federal education programs;
  • Finances, including the independent auditor's unqualified opinion;
  • Challenges; and
  • Future directions.

The W3 is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA) (external site) [*], an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising, and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as HBO, Monster.com, MTV, Omnicom, Refinery, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Wired, Yahoo!, and many others.

For more information: Contact Westat

12/11/07

Cancer Chemoprevention Clinical Trials Support to Continue

Westat has been re-awarded a 7-year contract to assist the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP). The contract involves assuring that cancer chemoprevention clinical trials are conducted safely and according to protocol at U.S. and international sites.

Westat's major responsibilities include:

  • Clinical data management and reporting,
  • Site monitoring,
  • Clinical center staff training, and
  • Computer systems development and maintenance to enhance compliance with NCI's caBIG initiative and to improve DCP's access to data and information.

For more information: Contact Westat

11/20/07

Westat Expands OSEP Work with DAC

For the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Westat will work on the new Data Accountability Center (DAC) with its subcontractor. This work will expand on Westat's 17 years of experience assisting states in collecting, analyzing, and reporting data required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Under this 5-year cooperative agreement, DAC will identify and meet states' technical assistance needs related to data required under Section 616 and 618 of IDEA. DAC's work scope includes traveling to states to provide technical assistance on site.

DAC will also assist OSEP by developing new IDEA data collections, supporting EDFacts (ED's initiative to centralize performance data collected for all education programs), and responding to emerging data needs.

For more information: Contact Westat

11/09/07

Westat Continues Work on User Network for CAHPS and SOPS

Westat has been awarded a 5-year contract that combines two national health care quality efforts into one program: the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) User Network and the Survey on Patient Safety Culture (SOPS). This is Westat's third contract for CAHPS and our second for SOPS.

Since its inception, CAHPS has expanded its focus to assessing consumer experience with not only health plans but also physicians, hospitals, hemodialysis facilities, nursing homes, and home health agencies. Westat will continue to perform the following:

  • Support Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grantees (Yale Medical School and RAND),
  • Publish all CAHPS products,
  • Provide technical assistance to organizations that collect and use CAHPS data,
  • Manage the National CAHPS Benchmarking Database.

Developed by Westat under an earlier contract, the SOPS surveys measure aspects of organizational culture that affect patient safety in hospitals, medical offices, and nursing homes. Under the new contract, Westat will provide technical assistance to SOPS survey users, conduct yearly user meetings, maintain benchmarking databases, and produce yearly reports.

For more information: Contact Westat

11/01/07

AEA Conference Features Westat Staff Presentations

Twenty researchers from Westat will be participating as presenters, discussants, panel chairs, and topical interest group leaders in the 2007 annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). The conference, whose theme is Evaluation and Learning, will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from November 6-10. More than 2,500 evaluators are expected to attend.

Westat will be sponsoring an exhibit booth in the AEA exhibit area on the Promenade Level of the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel. We will also be distributing copies of a newly designed brochure on our evaluation capabilities.

Westat Associate Director Dr. Debra J. Rog will begin a 3-year term as President of the AEA, beginning in 2008 as the President-elect (see related news story).

A list of papers and presentations to which Westat staff (names in bold) contributed follows. For details on the time and location of each presentation, refer to the online program. [*]

David Bernstein. Alternative Approaches to Developing Strategic Performance Plans.

Scott Crosse, Michele Harmon, Barbara Williams, Carol Hagen, and Liam Ristow. Evaluating the Fidelity of Implementation of Research-based Substance Abuse/School Crime Prevention Programs in Schools.

Lynn Elinson. Measuring Employment Outcomes: A Quantitative Approach.

Laura Freimanis. Assessment of a Customizable Tuberculosis Outbreak Response Plan.

Denise Glover. Using Focus Groups to Shape Quantitative Data Collection.

Melissa Gutierrez Barrett, Ann Landy, and Robert Orwin. Analysis of Strategic Plans to Assess Fidelity to a Model-based Planning Process.

Molly Hershey-Arista. Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Data Collected During Site Visits.

Audrey Jordan, Mary Achatz, and Thomas Kelly. Authentic Demand and Sustainable Community Change: Testing a Theory and Making the Case.

Robert Orwin. Constructing Logic Models of Impact to Guide Evaluation Designs of Multi-level Programs.

Robert Orwin, Roy Gabriel, Ann Landy, and Janis Wolford. 26 States, 300 Communities, and One Fidelity Instrument: Fabulous Feat or Futile Folly in the Strategic Prevention Framework Cross-Site Evaluation.

Martha Palan. Measuring Changes to the Workforce Development System: A Qualitative Approach.

Debra Rog. Establishing Criteria for Rigor in Non-Randomized and Qualitative Outcome Designs.

Debra Rog. Multi-Site Evaluations and Logic Models: Development Strategies, Uses, and Cautions.

Carolyn Shettle. Putting the Pieces Together in the Evaluation Report.

Gary Silverstein and John Wells. Opportunities and Challenges Associated with the Informal Science Education Program's Transformation from Documenting Outputs to Outcomes: Experiences with the Informal Science Education Online Monitoring System.

For more information: Contact Westat

10/30/07

Westat Staff Participate in 2007 APHA Meeting

Nine staff members from Westat will be presenting at this year's American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting [*]. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC, November 3-7, 2007. More than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists are expected to attend.

The theme for this year's meeting is Politics, Policy, and Public Health. APHA's meeting program will address current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.

Westat will be exhibiting at Booth 720 and 721 in the Washington, DC, Convention Center.

The following is a list of Westat staff (names in bold) and their presentations:
Lolem Ngong, Dolly Katz, Amy Davidow, Randall Reves, and James Bethel. The Little Study That Could.

Brenda A. Leath. (Town hall meeting.) The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities: A Role for Health Informatics—Personal and Electronic Health Records.

Chandria D. Jones, Mary Anne Myers, and Glynis Parran. Knowledge Application Program: Moving from Science to Service Through Innovative Learning Products.

Mary Anne Myers. (Documentary video series.) Transformation Through Partnerships: Systems Change to End Chronic Homelessness.

Pei-Shu Ho. Physical Disability, Homelessness, and Health.

Dianne McElroy and Lisa Patton. (Poster.) Increasing Provider Comfort Levels: Working with Older Adults.

For more information: Contact Westat

10/17/07

Westat Wins NAEP and NSSC Contracts

Westat has been awarded a contract for sampling and data collection activities for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2008-12, continuing work that Westat began in 1983.

NAEP is a continuing, congressionally mandated national survey of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of young Americans in major learning areas taught in schools. NAEP was established in 1969 to obtain comprehensive and reliable national and regional data on the educational attainments of young Americans. The program was expanded to the state level in 1990. The purpose is to provide information about American education to educators, legislators, and other administrators. NAEP provides information about progress being made toward the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act.

During the 5 years of the contract, we will conduct assessments of 4th, 8th, and 12th graders in reading, mathematics, science, writing, history, civics, visual arts, and music. A new aspect of this contract is the expansion into computer delivery of assessments on a large scale. Previous work involving computer delivery has been for special studies only.

Westat has also been awarded a contract to continue as the NAEP State Service Center (NSSC) for NAEP in 2008-12. The NSSC was first established at Westat in 2002. The NSSC trains and supports federally funded NAEP state coordinators located in each state education agency, as well as district coordinators for the Trial Urban District Assessment. The training and support covers the full range of NAEP activities from school recruitment and data collection through analysis and reporting of state/district NAEP assessment results. In addition to in-person workshops, we conduct weekly web seminars and maintain a private web site for the coordinators.

For more information: Contact Westat

10/11/07

2008 Waksberg Award Winner Announced: Dr. Mary Thompson

The winner of the 2008 Waksberg Award is Dr. Mary Thompson of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She will give the 2008 Waksberg Invited Address at the Statistics Canada Symposium, which will be held in the fall of 2008. The award was announced at the American Statistical Association's (ASA's) 167th Annual Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Thompson's research and scholarly interests include:

  • The role of stochastic modeling in thought and discovery,
  • Survey methodology and the analysis of longitudinal data,
  • Biostatistics,
  • Space-time models for environmental data, and
  • Topics in statistical genetics.

The journal Survey Methodology has established this annual invited paper series in honor of Joseph Waksberg, former Westat Senior Vice President and Chairman of the Board who died in 2006, to recognize his contributions to survey methodology.

Each year a prominent survey statistician is chosen by a four-person committee, which is appointed by Survey Methodology and ASA. The winner is invited to prepare a paper that reviews the development and current state of an important topic in the field of survey methodology. The paper reflects the mixture of theory and practice that characterized Mr. Waksberg's work.

Previous winners of the award are as follows:

  • Dr. Carl-Erik Särndal (2007)
  • Dr. Alastair Scott (2006)
  • Dr. J.N.K. Rao (2005)
  • Dr. Norman Bradburn (2004)
  • Dr. Tim Holt (2003)
  • Dr. Wayne Fuller (2002)
  • Dr. Gad Nathan (2001)

For more information: Contact Westat

10/01/07

17th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture: October 30, 2007

Dr. Joe Sedransk (Case Western Reserve University) will give the 17th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture on Tuesday, October 30, 2007, at 3:30 p.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) South Building in Washington, DC. A reception will follow the lecture. The Morris Hansen Lecture series is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society (WSS), Westat, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Dr. Sedransk's lecture is titled Assessing the Value of Bayesian Methods for Inference about Finite Population Quantities. Dr. Donald Malec (U.S. Census Bureau) will be the chair; Dr. Nathaniel Schenker (National Center for Health Statistics) and Dr. David Binder (Statistics Canada) will be the discussants.

The USDA's South Building is between 12th and 14th Streets at the Smithsonian Metro Stop (Blue Line). Enter through Wing 5 or Wing 7 from Independence Ave. (The handicapped entrance is at 12th Street and Independence Ave.) A photo ID is required. Please preregister for this event [*] to help facilitate access to the building.

The Morris Hansen Lecture series was established by WSS in 1990 with a financial grant from Westat. The series seeks to achieve balance between theory, applications, and policy, and to highlight the diversity of disciplines that inform survey practice.

This lecture series was set up to honor Morris Hansen, whose pioneering contributions to survey sampling and related statistical methods during his long and distinguished career at the Census Bureau and at Westat established many standards and methods, mostly still in use, for the conduct of surveys. In 1996 and 2006, Westat made additional financial contributions to WSS so that the Hansen Lecture series could continue.

WSS [*] provides additional information on this lecture, as well as topics and speakers of the previous lectures in the series.

For more information: Contact Westat

09/19/07

Health Web Sites Developed by Westat Win HIRC Awards

The Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), [*]a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials, organizes the semi-annual World Wide Web (WWW) Health Awards. [*] This Web-based health awards program is an extension of the HIRC's 14-year-old National Health Information Awards (NHIA), [*] the largest program of its kind in the United States. There were nearly 1,000 entries in this year's NHIA from hundreds of organizations. Westat projects received four awards in the Spring/Summer 2007 competition.

  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Web Site [*]
    The NIDCD web site promotes research findings, provides health information, and offers access to grants and funding opportunities.

    Award: Bronze
    Class: Patient Education Information
    Division: Government
    Audience: All Adults 21+ years

    Award: Bronze
    Class: Patient Education Information
    Division: Government
    Audience: MDs/PhDs/RNs

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stem Cell Information Web Site [*]
    The NIH Stem Cell Information web site is the public face of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force. It provides access to ethics information, grants and funding, current research, the NIH Stem Cell Registry, and Federal policy and legislation.

    Award: Merit
    Class: Miscellaneous/Professional
    Division: Government
    Audience: Miscellaneous Consumer

    Award: Merit
    Class: Miscellaneous/Professional
    Division: Government
    Audience: Miscellaneous Professional

For more information: Contact Westat

09/11/07

Dr. Debra J. Rog Elected 2009 President of AEA

Dr. Debra J. Rog, an Associate Director at Westat, has been elected the 2009 President of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). She will serve a 3-year term, starting as President-elect in 2008.

AEA is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation. The association has approximately 5,000 members representing the United States as well as more than 60 countries.

Dr. Rog has been a member of AEA since its inception in 1984 and of its two predecessor organizations—the Evaluation Research Society and the Evaluation Network. Dr. Rog has served in a number of capacities for AEA, including two terms as a Board member (1985-88; 1996-99), Local Arrangements Chair (1990), Annual Meeting Program Co-Chair (1996), and on several committees over the years (Board Orientation Committee, Awards Committee, and Membership Committee). She was honored early in her career with the Marcia Guttentag Award for her dissertation work on evaluability assessment.

Dr. Rog has extensive background in program evaluation research, having served as director or principal investigator for many studies addressing issues such as homelessness and housing, mental illness, child development, family violence, and living with HIV/AIDS.

"As a charter member of AEA, I have always considered AEA my primary professional affiliation," notes Dr. Rog. "I have learned much over the years from my AEA colleagues through the conferences, the publications, and most importantly, the friendships I have developed. I have had the privilege of serving AEA in several capacities, and am looking forward to this new opportunity to contribute to the group that has been a major contributor to my own professional growth."

As President, Dr. Rog hopes to help AEA maintain its current growth and stability, particularly by seeking out new evaluators to participate in a mentor program with those who have been active in the association since its beginning.

For more information: Contact Westat

08/31/07

WesVar® Software Upgraded to Version 5; Free to License Holders

WesVar, a computer program developed and distributed by Westat for calculating survey estimates and measures of sampling precision, has been upgraded to Version 5. New features include the capability to identify extreme data, batch capabilities for preparing tables and intermediate files, and calculate additional statistics.

Westat has used a number of different methods for distributing WesVar to the research community. Early versions were distributed free on diskettes to interested individuals. Later versions were distributed over the Internet by permitting users to download a 30-day-free demonstration version, which could be converted to a permanent version by the purchase of a WesVar license. With the release of Version 5, Westat had decided to cease charging new WesVar license holders and to return to its initial mode of free distribution.

Westat is in the process of contacting current WesVar license holders with information on how to download Version 5 free of charge. Those with licenses who have not yet been reached can contact Westat's Statistical Group. Individuals who are not current WesVar license holders can download a permanent free version of the prior version of WesVar, Version 4.3.

For more information: Contact Westat

08/24/07

LACP and NAGC Honor Four Projects for Excellence in Communication

Two professional communications organizations have granted awards to four Westat projects in recognition of their excellence in communications. The awards acknowledge our clients' vision and expertise in developing effective communication tools in collaboration with Westat's project teams of writers, graphic artists, web specialists, and support staff.

League of American Communication Professionals (LACP)
Each year the LACP grants its Vision Awards [*] to reports that demonstrate exemplary communications. This year's competition received more than 2,500 entries from 21 countries. LACP granted two awards to Westat projects.

  • National Science Foundation's (NSF's) FY 2006 Performance Highlights [*]
    Government Category: Honors
    This annual report successfully translates complex financial and accountability information into an approachable and accessible format. Westat edited and designed the report. This is the fifth consecutive year that NSF and Westat have received a Vision Award for the Foundation's annual report.

National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC)
The NAGC annual award program [*] recognizes superior government communication products and their producers. This year NAGC awarded two Blue Pencil Awards to Westat projects.

For more information: Contact Westat

08/14/07

Prague Conference Features Westat Staff Presentations

Four Westat staff members made presentations at the European Survey Research Association (ESRA) 2007 conference held in Prague, Czech Republic, from June 25-June 29, 2007. The ESRA 2007 conference was hosted jointly by the University of Economics, Prague, and the Czech Statistical Office. ESRA was established to provide coordination in the field of survey research in Europe. The first conference of this kind was held in Barcelona in 2005.

Presentations by Westat staff included the following:

Session topic: Comparative questionnaire design
Presenter: Westat Vice President Brad Edwards
Presentation: "Survey Instrument Design for Comparing Groups: An Overview"
Focus: Design issues that can be especially problematic in comparative surveys across cultures, languages, and nations. Summarized an array of tools available to the survey designer in determining whether a question is appropriate for examining group differences.

Mr. Edwards chaired and co-organized this session, one of eight sessions in a special conference track on comparative research.

Session topic: Using qualitative methods to enhance survey methodology
Presenter: Dr. Izabella Zandberg
Presentation: "Mixing Methods in Evaluation Research: Notes from the Field"
Focus: Benefits of combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in evaluation research using case examples from two Westat projects.

Presenter: Dr. Susan Berkowitz
Presentation: "Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Studies for U.S. Federal Government Agencies: Towards a Typology of Successful Unions"
Focus: Distinctive challenges of mixing methods in an applied research environment. Identified general factors that appear to promote successful efforts in this area.

Session topic: Translating survey instruments
Presenter: Dr. Brian Kleiner
Presentation: "The Impact of Instructions on Survey Translation: An Experimental Study"
Focus: Examination of whether providing special instructions to translators results in more faithful translations of source survey instruments.

For more information: Contact Westat

07/23/07

Bruce F. Romer Joins Westat as Vice President of Administration

Bruce F. Romer, the former chief administrative officer of Montgomery County, Maryland, has been appointed Westat Vice President of Administration. His mission is to direct and further develop the company's human resources, facilities, and security functions.

Mr. Romer served from 1994 to 2007 as chief administrative officer of Montgomery County, which has a population of more than 900,000 and is part of the Washington, DC, metropolitan region.

In this position, Mr. Romer directly managed 19 operational departments, including economic development, fire and rescue service, homeland security, health and human services, public works and transportation, facilities, and the police. He also oversaw 9 administrative departments, including the county attorney, finance, human resources, management and budget, procurement, and technology services.

Mr. Romer has also served as the city manager of Rockville, Maryland (1988-94). As manager, he was appointed by the mayor and the city council to enact and implement city policy and provide management and administrative support. He managed the departments of human resources, public works, and the police, among others. Prior to that position, Mr. Romer was a manager in other cities, including Davenport, Iowa, Sidney, Ohio, and Brighton, Michigan.

Mr. Romer has a master's degree in government administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be part of Westat," notes Mr. Romer. "It's a great opportunity to work with such a high-quality organization. Westat is well known for its high-caliber professionals and stimulating working environment."

For more information: Contact Westat

07/13/07

Westat Staff Participate in 2007 JSM Conference

Twenty-seven researchers from Westat will be participating as authors, discussants, session chairs, and organizers in this year's Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM), sponsored by the American Statistical Association (ASA) and four other related professional societies. The meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 29-August 2, 2007. Approximately 5,000 statisticians are expected to attend.

Presentations will cover a wide range of topics, including the National Children's Study, other health studies, longitudinal education studies, and methodological issues, such as confidence interval estimation, small-area estimation, dual-frame surveys, and nonresponse bias.

In addition to the presentations, two Westat senior statisticians, Dr. Leyla Mohadjer and David Judkins, will be named ASA Fellows, along with 57 other members of the organization.

A list of papers and presentations to which Westat staff (names in bold) contributed follows. For details on the time and location of each presentation, refer to the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings Preliminary Program [*] :

Bryce Johnson, Jill M. Montaquila, and Andrew Heller. An Automated Procedure for Forming Contiguous Sampling Units for Area Probability Samples.

Leyla Mohadjer, J.N.K. Rao, Benmei Liu, Thomas Krenzke, and Wendy Van De Kerckhove. Hierarchical Bayes Small-Area Estimates of Adult Literacy Using Unmatched Sampling and Linking Models.

Benmei Liu, Graham Kalton, and Partha Lahiri. Hierarchical Bayes Modeling of Survey-Weighted Small-Area Proportions.

Jay Clark, Marianne Winglee, and Benmei Liu. Handling Imperfect Overlap Identification in a Dual-Frame Survey.

Tiandong Li and Robert Mislevy. Randomization-Based Inference about Latent Variables in Classical Test Theory for a Clustered Sample.

Daifeng Han and David Cantor. A Comparison of Level of Effort and Benchmarking Approaches for Nonresponse Bias Analysis of an RDD Survey.

Sylvia Dohrmann, Daifeng Han, and Leyla Mohadjer. Improving Coverage of Residential Address Lists in Multistage Area Samples.

Michael E. Jones, Ismael Flores-Cervantes, and David R. Judkins. A New Algorithm for High-Dimensional Calibration in Observational Studies.

Sunghee Lee, David Grant, J. Michael Brick, and Sherm Edwards. A Comparison Between a Traditional RDD Survey and a Telephone Survey with Cell-Phone-Only Populations.

Jill M. Montaquila, J. Michael Brick, and Lester Curtin. Methods for Sampling Households to Identify 100,000 Births.

James Quackenboss, Warren Galke, Susan Viet, David Marker, and Steven Bedosky. Issues in the Measurement and Assessment of Environmental Exposures for a Large Prospective Cohort Study.

David R. Judkins, Thomas Krenzke, Andrea R. Piesse, Zizhong Fan, and Wen-Chau Haung. Preservation of Skip Patterns and Covariance Structure Through Semiparametric Whole-Questionnaire Imputation.

Keith Rust, Inho Park, Marianne Winglee, and Gary Shapiro. A Case Study in Dual-Frame Estimation Methods.

J. Michael Brick, Robert M. Groves, and Brian Harris-Kojetin, Panelists. Estimating Nonresponse Bias in Light of the New OMB Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys.

Valerie Hsu and Keith Rust. Confidence Intervals for Statistics for Categorical Variables from Complex Samples.

R. Lee Harding, Jay Clark, and Jill M. Montaquila. Multiyear Estimation for a Single Stratum from the Continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

For more information: Contact Westat

06/28/07

Michael Raithel Is a Featured Speaker at Michigan SAS Conference

Michael Raithel, a Westat senior systems analyst, was a featured speaker at the May 2007 Michigan SAS Users Group conference at Schoolcraft College near Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Raithel's presentations, based in part on his published books, dealt with advanced SAS programming and performance measurement. Other conference presenters included senior SAS Institute representatives, as well as SAS specialists from government and other organizations.

For more information: Contact Westat

06/14/07

Dr. J. Michael Brick Elected to AAPOR Council

Dr. J. Michael Brick, Westat Vice President and senior statistician, was elected to the Council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). He will serve as Associate Communications Chair in 2007-08 and then as Communications Chair in 2008-09. The council consists of 15 leaders in the fields of public opinion and survey research. They come from a range of backgrounds, including academia, media, government agencies, the nonprofit sector, and private industry.

AAPOR promotes the sound and ethical conduct and use of public opinion research, along with greater public awareness of these standards. The council serves as a resource for journalists, policymakers, and the general public, according to AAPOR President Nancy Mathiowetz.

Dr. Brick brings his more than 30 years of statistical experience to the council. His primary research interests are sample design and estimation for large surveys, and the theory and practice of telephone surveys. This includes surveying cell phones, nonresponse and bias evaluation, survey quality control, longitudinal surveys, and multimode, multiframe survey design. He has worked on numerous education and health surveys over the years.

Along with his work here at Westat, Dr. Brick is also a research professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland. He has been an associate editor for Survey Methodology since 2001 and is a member of the Editorial Board for Public Opinion Quarterly. Dr. Brick is also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

For more information: Contact Westat


http://www.aapor.org [*]

06/08/07

REDS-II RFP: Response Extension
Call for HIV Test Development/Evaluation Component

For the Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II), Westat is seeking proposals from U.S.-based infectious disease test developers/manufacturers for the HIV test development/evaluation component. The component is available to full and open competition. Work will be conducted on behalf of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

The full RFP and Amendment is posted on this site. The due date for response has been extended to Monday, July 9, 2007, 3 p.m. EST. One award will be made for a 3-year period.

The contractor will develop, refine, assemble, validate, and obtain Food and Drug Administration licensing for an HIV-SELECTEST enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (EIA) kit and a Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test.

Kits will be distributed to national and international laboratories conducting Phase I to III HIV-1 vaccine trials. They will be used for distinguishing true HIV-1 infections from vaccine-induced HIV-1 antibody responses.

For more information:
email REDSIIRFP@westat.com

06/08/07

AAPOR Annual Conference Attracts Variety of Presentations from Westat Researchers

Westat researchers made a variety of presentations at the 2007 American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Annual Conference held May 17-20 in Anaheim, California. The theme of this year's conference was Of Polls and Policy. A list of papers and presentations to which Westat staff (names in bold) contributed is presented below.

Bruce Allen, Pat Dean Brick, and Sarah Dipko. Telephone Research Calling Centers: The Emerging Option of At-Home Interviewers.

Hoang Anh Nguyen, Sunghee Lee, David Grant, and Sherman Edwards. Impact of Pre-Paid Monetary Incentives and Sponsorship in Survey Advance Letters: An Experiment in the 2005 California Health Interview Survey.

J. Michael Brick, Sherman Edwards, and Sunghee Lee. Sampling and Interviewing Methods for Cell Phone Surveys.

Mary Dingwall, Meghan Wool, Sharon Jasim-Hanif, Tim Wade, Andrey Egorov, and Ann Williams. Recruitment and Retention for a Hispanic Population: Results from a Community Health Study.

Sarah Dipko, Kerry Levin, Barbara Forsyth, Debra Stark, and Mary-Helen Risler. A Case of Positives Outweighing Negatives: Examining Mixed Effects of Advance Letters in a List Sample Telephone Survey of Low-Income Taxpayers.

Sylvia Dohrmann. Coverage and Utility of Purchased Residential Address Lists: A Detailed Review of Selected Local Areas.

Brad Edwards, Ryan Hubbard, and Sid Schneider. (Roundtable.) AAPOR.ORG: A Fresh Look.

Sherman Edwards and John Rauch. The Effects of Substituting Generic for Customized Questionnaires in a Health Plan Satisfaction Survey.

Katie Gasque. (Poster.) Using Statistical Process Control as a Data Monitoring and Analysis Tool for the Drug Abuse Warning Network.

David Kashihara and Diana Wobus. The Effect of Reporting Aid Use on the Accuracy of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Responses.

Scott Keeter, J. Michael Brick, Gregory A. Smith, Courtney Kennedy, Chintan Turakhia, and Mark Schulman. Designing and Implementing a Probability Sample of Muslim Americans.

Martha Stapleton Kudela, Barbara Forsyth, Kerry Levin, Gordon Willis, and Dierdre Lawrence. Using Analytic Coding Tools to Compare Pretesting Methods.

For more information: Contact Westat

05/31/07

Dr. Leyla Mohadjer and David Judkins Named 2007 Fellows of ASA

Dr. Leyla K. Mohadjer, a Westat Vice President and senior statistician, and David R. Judkins, a Westat senior statistician, have been named 2007 Fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the nation's preeminent statistical association. Fifty-seven other members were also given this award, which was announced on May 18, 2007.

The recipients received the honor in recognition of their outstanding professional contributions to and leadership in the field of statistical science. The Fellows will be presented at a ceremony on July 31, 2007, at the ASA's 167th annual Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The designation of Fellow has been a superlative honor in ASA for more than 90 years. Each year the Committee on Fellows can elect no more than 1/3 of 1 percent of the total ASA membership as Fellows. This is the first year in which two Westat employees have been given this distinction.

Individuals are nominated for the honor by fellow members and must have an established reputation and made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work to be selected.

Dr. Mohadjer's contributions to survey data research include work in sample design, estimation and analysis of variance, categorical data analysis, and regression modeling. She is also a faculty member of the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.

Mr. Judkins' theoretical and applied contributions in the fields of survey sampling and program evaluation include the development of innovative methods for large-scale imputation, variance estimation, and propensity scoring.

We at Westat congratulate our colleagues on this honor.

For more information:

For more information: Contact Westat


http://www.amstat.org/pressroom/index.cfm?fuseaction=2007fellows [*]

05/17/07

Westat Staff Share Expertise at SAS Global Forum 2007

Six of Westat's programming staff provided their expertise at the SAS Global Forum 2007, from April 16-19, in Orlando, Florida. The SAS Global Forum conference, known as the premier source of news and ideas for SAS software users, drew nearly 4,000 attendees for 3 days of technical presentations on SAS software programming techniques and use.

Westat staff members Edward Heaton, Rick M. Mitchell, and Michael A. Raithel were invited to present SAS technical papers at this year’s conference. In addition, Linda L. Libeg presented a contributed paper. Duke Owen, Conference Executive Board member, and Mr. Mitchell, Conference Section Chair, served organizational roles in the conference. Mr. Raithel also taught a half-day seminar on the use of SAS Indexes as part of the preconference training schedule. The list of papers presented by Westat staff follows.

Edward Heaton. Creating a Local Library.

Edward Heaton. Reading Excel Workbooks.

Linda L. Libeg. FUNCTIONSIZE: Process Your External Files.

Rick M. Mitchell. Finding Your Mistakes Before They Find You—A Quality Approach for SAS® Programmers.

Michael A. Raithel. Creating and Exploiting SAS Indexes for Better Application Program Performance.

Michael A. Raithel. Process Your SAS® Data Sets Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere—You Choose SAS/CONNECT®

Michael A. Raithel. A Simple Chargeback System for SAS® Running on UNIX and Linux Servers.

For more information:
http://support.sas.com/events/sasglobalforum/index.html [*]

For more information: Contact Westat

04/26/07

Westat Staff Participate in AERA Annual Meeting

Thirteen Westat researchers participated in this year’s American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, discussing a wide range of topics, including special education, mathematics and science teaching, high school grade inflation and transcripts, and professional development, among others. The meeting was held in Chicago, Illinois, from April 9-13, 2007, with approximately 13,000 education researchers in attendance. A list of papers and presentations to which Westat staff (names in bold) contributed follows.

Elaine Carlson and Jose Blackorby. Preschoolers and Elementary-Age Children with Disabilities: Similarities and Differences in Characteristics, Services, and Levels of Functioning.

Joseph McInerney, Katylee Hoover, Myles Boylan, and Celeste Pea. A K-20 Perspective on the “Nation’s Highest Honor” for Mathematics and Science Teaching Excellence.

Joy Angeles Mordica, Janis Brown, and Stephen Roey. The Path to Challenging Courses: Findings from the NAEP 2005 High School Transcript Study.

Jason Nicholas. The Conundrum of Gap Analyses Using NAEP Data.

Gloria Park, Ryuko Kubota, and Kevin O’Donnell. Is Privilege a Mitigating Factor? The Educational Journey of East Asian Women in TESOL Programs.

Nicholas Zill and Gary Resnick. Educational and Research Opportunities Using the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES).

Stephen Roey, Robert Perkins, and Janis Brown. Grade Quality and Grade Inflation in High Schools.

Arthur Vanderveen, Jim Choike, Carolyn Shettle, and John Wells. Evaluation of the Video-Supported Mathematics Professional Development (VSMPD) Program.

Mary Dilworth and Barbara Williams. Career Opportunities to Conduct Educational Research That Influences National Policy Decisions. Roundtable discussion.

For more information: Contact Westat

04/19/07

NHTSA Statistical Support Contract Awarded to Westat

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded Westat its third consecutive contract for data collection and statistical support for NHTSA's occupant restraint use surveys. Westat held the previous support contract (2000-06) as well as an earlier, one-time National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) contract in 1999. By the end of the new contract, our history of seat belt survey work will have extended over 25 years since we designed the first statewide surveys for New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio in the late 1980s.

The new contract, which covers 5 years, includes the following:

  • NOPUS,
  • National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats (NSUBS),
  • Seat Belt Use by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (SBUCMVD), and
  • Other methodology development tasks throughout the project.

Mark Freedman, Westat Vice President, who directs research on transportation safety, attributes Westat's success on this series of contracts to our ability to implement large-scale field surveys under very tight time constraints, continuously advance the state-of-the-art of observational field survey methods, and provide timely delivery of restraint use estimates.

Fran Bents, Westat's project director for these surveys, notes that the continued dedication of project and support staff and excellent working relationship with the client help to meet challenging requirements, especially as the number and complexity of surveys have increased in recent years.

For more information: Contact Westat

03/30/07

Westat to Exhibit at Several 2007 Health-related Conferences/Job Fairs

Westat will be exhibiting at several health-related conferences and job fairs this year. Representatives will be on hand to speak with prospective clients and staff. See the following list for conferences, dates, and sites.

Partnerships with CRO's
When: April 10-12, 2007
Where: Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando, Florida
Booth number: 447
www.cropartners.com [*]

Society for International Development (SID) Washington 2007 Annual Career Conference
When: April 12, 2007
Where: Washington, DC
Booth number: Westat
www.sidw.org/2007AnnualCareerConference [*]

BioCapital Career Fair
When: April 12, 2007
Where: Pooks Hill Marriott, Bethesda, Maryland
Booth number: Westat
www.biospace.com [*]

Global Health Council International Conference
When: May 29-June 1, 2007
Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
Booth number: 304
www.globalhealth.org/conference [*]

03/25/07

CDC Recognizes Westat with a Partners in Public Health Improvement Award

Westat received a Partners in Public Health Improvement award by the National Center for Hepatitis, HIV, STD, & TB Prevention for outstanding service to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC).

The CDC Division of Tuberculosis Elimination launched TBESC in 2001 to serve as the division's main research arm for epidemiologic, behavioral, economic, laboratory, and operational research. Within a year Westat was contracted to provide administrative and research support.

Westat's support includes assistance with organizing TBESC's semiannual meetings and hiring contractor support personnel. Westat also provides the consortium with the following:

  • Statistical consultation;
  • Development, printing, and translation of surveys into 10 foreign languages;
  • Development and implementation of site monitoring plans; and
  • Consultation to the consortium's standing committees.

"The Westat TBESC project team is honored to be acknowledged for our support of the crucial research being conducted by the TBESC," noted Project Director Nancy Dianis. "We look forward to our continued involvement with this research endeavor."

For more information: Contact Westat

03/09/07

OPM Releases 2006 FHCS Results on Workforce Issues, Westat Provides Key Survey Support

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently released Governmentwide and agency-by-agency results of the web-based Federal Human Capital Survey (FHCS). More than 400,000 employees in approximately 80 departments and agencies across the Executive Branch were invited to participate in the survey, making it the largest Governmentwide employee satisfaction survey to date. The FHCS gauges employees' job satisfaction and perceptions of workforce management effectiveness. It lets agency leaders know how far they have come in creating better working environments for their employees and what remains to be done.

For the 2006 FHCS, Westat provided a full range of consultation and support services from planning and management, to sample design and weighting, survey administration, data analysis, and action planning. Westat also collaborated with OPM team members in designing and producing 42 Federal agencies reports and briefing presentations that summarized the 2006 FHCS findings for each agency and compared them with the 2002 and 2004 FHCS data and private sector results. (Westat also supported the 2004 FHCS.)

In 2006, OPM introduced a new feature of the FHCS to agencies—it developed and ranked agencies on four indices: leadership and knowledge management, results-oriented performance culture, talent management, and job satisfaction. The indices are directly tied to the areas of strategic human resource management on which the agencies are regularly evaluated.

"Federal agencies are accountable for ensuring they have an effective workforce…one that gets things done," said OPM Director Linda M. Springer in a briefing at the National Press Club on January 30, 2007. "These rankings do a great job of letting individual agencies know where they stand on meeting human capital expectations. They also give managers and supervisors important insights into those workforce issues that need immediate attention."

The FHCS Governmentwide results can be viewed at www.fhcs2006.opm.gov [*].

02/15/07

Westat Supports Major International TB Clinical Trial

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) has contracted with Westat to support a worldwide clinical trial of moxifloxacin for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Developed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, moxifloxacin, a fluoroquinolone in the quinolone class of antibiotics, has demonstrated efficacy and is approved for the treatment of several acute respiratory infections. The clinical trial is substituting this proven antibiotic for one of the current standard TB drugs to determine if a moxifloxacin-based regimen can eliminate TB infection faster than today's treatment protocol. Sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC), the clinical trial is being conducted in Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Uganda, and the United States.

"Developing faster and better TB drugs is literally a matter of life and death," said Dr. Maria C. Freire, CEO and President of the TB Alliance. "If we can make TB treatment shorter and easier to take, we believe we can save millions of lives and reduce the global burden of this ancient killer disease."

TB, although curable, continues to kill someone somewhere in the world about every 15 seconds—more than 5,000 people every day, or 2 million this year alone. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB. The growing global HIV/AIDS pandemic is fueling an increase in TB, and mounting drug resistance, including multi- and extremely drug resistant TB (MDR-TB and XDR-TB), is often caused by failures of today's TB drug regimen. Although they work, today's drugs are more than 40 years old, involve a complex, lengthy regimen that must be taken for 6 to 9 months—fueling noncompliance and drug resistance—do not work on latent TB, and are not compatible with HIV anti-retroviral drugs.

Westat has provided dedicated staff resources to the Bayer-TB Alliance clinical trial. The work includes assisting with the management of the trial by harmonizing standard operating procedures used at the 27 clinical research sites; supporting data management, including auditing the study database; and assisting with and drafting the clinical study report. Westat also provides training in Good Clinical Practice and Good Laboratory Practice as needed. Westat also conducts site monitoring visits to ensure compliance to Federal regulations and to ensure study data are accurate and complete.

For more information: Contact Westat

01/31/07

Program Evaluation Expert Dr. Debra J. Rog Joins Westat

Dr. Debra J. Rog has joined Westat as an Associate Director. She brings an extensive background in program evaluation research, having served as director or principal investigator for many studies addressing issues such as homelessness and housing, mental illness, child development, family violence, and living with HIV/AIDS.

For the past 17 years, Dr. Rog has been director of the Washington office of the Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement at Vanderbilt University. Prior to that position, she was Associate Director of the Office of Programs for the Homeless Mentally Ill, National Institute of Mental Health, developing homeless evaluation and research programs.

Dr. Rog has written numerous publications on evaluation methodology, housing, homelessness, poverty, mental health, and program and policy development and has edited numerous substantive and methodological volumes, including the Applied Social Research Methods Series and the Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods. She also has served on the editorial boards of, and contributed to, two encyclopedias, the Encyclopedia of Evaluation and the Encyclopedia of Homelessness. She has served on the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association and completed an appointment on the Advisory Committee of Women's Services for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information: Contact Westat

01/12/07

Westat to Conduct Third Grade Follow-up to Head Start Impact Study for HHS

Westat will be conducting the Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Third Grade Follow-Up Study builds on the existing randomized control design in the HSIS to determine the longer term impact of the Head Start program on the well-being of children and families.

Westat will collect and analyze data from children, families, teachers, and principals. The study will quantify the impact of Head Start across child cognitive, social-emotional, and health domains for the original HSIS sample in the spring of their third grade year. It will examine the degree to which the effects of Head Start on initial school readiness are altered, maintained, or perhaps expanded by children's school experiences. The study will also examine the various school quality and family/community factors that come into play up to and during the third grade.

The foundation for the Third Grade Follow-up Study began with the HSIS in fall 2000. At that time approximately 5,000 newly entering 3- and 4-year-olds applying for Head Start were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that had access to Head Start program services or to a control group in which children were not granted access to Head Start but may have received a range of other services chosen by their parents. Data collection began in fall 2002 and continued through 2006, following children through the spring of their first grade year.

"We are gratified that the cooperation of families for the HSIS has been outstanding," said Ronna Cook, Westat Associate Director and project director of the study. "Over time we have been able to maintain response rates of 80 percent of the original sample, and it is exciting to have the opportunity to continue to follow these families and their children."

For more information:

For more information: Contact Westat


http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/index.html [*]

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