News Archives 2011

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011


CDC's Native Diabetes Wellness Program Rolls Out Book for Middle Schoolers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published Coyote and the Turtle's Dream (external site) [*], a novel for middle schoolers in Native communities. It is the first of three novels being developed by Westat for CDC's Native Diabetes Wellness Program, Office of Diabetes Translation.

Written by Westat Senior Study Director Teresa Lofton, Ph.D., the book is the first in a series of three books that will include a four-volume graphic novel based on the same story. All volumes in this award-winning series are illustrated by Patrick Rolo of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe Indians and designed by Westat.

Coyote and the Turtle's Dream interweaves health and educational messaging into the plot. Type 2 diabetes prevention messages about healthy eating, being physically active, and following traditional wisdom become part of the story itself.

The novel's release was covered by the Department of the Interior's DOI News,, Native News Network, the Cherokee Phoenix, Native American News, and The Lancet.

CDC has ordered a second printing, and free copies of all books in the series are available from CDC-Info Publications (external site) [*] or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat IRB Staff Recognized for Excellence in Human Research Protection

Westat recently received a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Human Research Protection from the Health Improvement Institute. Westat was awarded a Best Practice honor for our Institutional Review Board (IRB) Representative Program and Communication Strategy. Each year the institute recognizes organizations for their excellence and innovation in human research protection.

Our IRB Representative Program provides an opportunity to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are protected as well as facilitate an ongoing partnership between investigators and their colleagues.

"Together, the team, with the leadership from the IRB administrator, further ensures that the rights, safety, and welfare of human subjects in our research are adequately protected," noted Sharon Zack, the IRB administrator. "Along with the investigators, our representatives are involved in the entire cycle of a study. They serve as a bridge between the IRB administrator and numerous investigators, fostering good relations and offering support in resolving any issues."

Over the past few years, Westat's program and number of representatives have expanded. Because of their experience with the IRB process and their ability to work well with other staff, our IRB representatives have influenced numerous facets of Westat's human protections program.

We are honored that the program has been singled out as an example of best practices in research.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Proposes Improved Methods for Consumer Expenditure Survey to Ease Respondent Burden, Reduce Error

For the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on National Statistics, Westat has provided improved data collection methods for the Consumer Expenditure Survey, a key source of information about consumer behavior in the United States. The results from the survey are used to calculate the Consumer Price Index, the nation's primary indicator of inflation.

Current data collection methods rely heavily on the respondents' ability to accurately remember their household expenditures. The committee asked Westat to propose a new design that would reduce both respondent burden and measurement error.

In Westat's report, Redesign Options for the Consumer Expenditure Survey Appendices, the Westat team

  • Proposed using smartphones and receipt scanners to yield more complete and accurate data with less effort from respondents
  • Proposed a revised data collection schedule
  • Provided the cost and precision implications of the new design
  • Designed field studies to evaluate these changes to the survey

The Westat team included David Cantor, Ph.D., Sid Schneider, Ph.D., Brad Edwards, David Judkins, Bob Fay, Ph.D., and Abie Reifer, with the assistance of Pat Cunningham, Lou Rizzo, Ph.D., and Pat Ward, Ph.D.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Attends CDC Cooperative Agreement Partners Meeting

Westat staff Victoria Kioko, Moussa Sarr, Ph.D., and Fatima Jones, Ph.D., joined other members at the second annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement partners meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month.

Members include the newly formed African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and the Laboratory of Bacteriology and Virology at Le Dantec University Hospital, Cheikh Anta Diop (LBV/CAD) University.

ASLM is headed by John Nkengasong, Ph.D., Chief of the Global HIV/AIDS Program's International Laboratory Branch at CDC. ASLM is Pan-African professional body working to advocate the need for laboratory strengthening and capacity building within the African continent.

Westat has supported efforts to

  • Develop an HIV-related external quality assurance and proficiency testing program for all francophone African countries
  • Promote the accreditation of medical laboratories throughout the African continent

Westat provides administrative, laboratory, and technical support for LBV/CAD. In the first year of the cooperative agreement, 25 laboratories were selected to participate in the proficiency testing program. More than 400 laboratories across the African continent are expected to be enrolled in the next 5 years.

For more information: Contact Westat


Gerontological Society Meeting Includes Westat Research

Westat staff will participate in the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting(external site) [*] in Boston, Massachusetts, November 18-22, 2011. GSA's annual meeting brings together more than 3,500 participants in the field of aging. This year's theme is Lifestyle Leads to Lifespan.

This meeting is the premier gathering of gerontologists from the United States and around the world. They participate in more than 400 scientific sessions including symposia, paper, and poster presentations.

Westat will be hosting an exhibit booth (#205) in the exhibit area at the John B. Haynes Convention Center.

Westat staff (names in bold) will present the following poster:

Cynthia Thomas, Lynn McDonald, Priyanthi Silva, John Rietschlin, Sandra Hirst, Laura Watts, and Marie Beaulieu.
Complexities of Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse and Neglect: Lessons Learned Illustrated Through Vignettes.

This poster uses data from the Canadian Elder Abuse study. Westat is collaborating with faculty from the University of Toronto, the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), and researchers from more than six other institutions in Canada and internationally to develop a design for a prevalence study of Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults (those 55 years and over) in Canada.

This pilot study is being funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. One of the study's objectives is to develop instruments that can be used as modules of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Westat is responsible for data collection and analysis.

For more information: Contact Westat


Need for Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Outpaces Graduation Rates; Westat Conducted the Study

Demand for professionals with expertise in occupational safety and health (OS&H) will outstrip supply in the coming years, according to the final report released on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH's) web site (external site) [*]. Westat conducted the study and prepared the final report (external site) [*].

The National Assessment of the Occupational Safety & Health Workforce surveyed employers and providers of educational services to OS&H workers across the United States. There were two key objectives:

  • Assess the current supply and future demand for OS&H professionals
  • Determine the desired professional competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and abilities) required for the next 5 years

"The results of this NIOSH–commissioned survey suggest a troubling shortfall of professional expertise at a time when such services are most needed," NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., stated in an October 20, 2011, NIOSH Update [*].

Under the direction of Westat's Tim McAdams, we conducted a series of focus groups from among affected populations to identify issues of concern, developed and pretested questionnaires for employers and providers, developed sampling strategies for both surveys, conducted all data collection activities, applied data weights, developed data tables, and prepared the final report.

For more information: Contact Westat


CDC Influenza Vaccination Communication and Social Marketing Campaign Awarded to Westat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has selected Westat to assist in promoting its influenza immunization efforts. We will support partnership development activities to increase awareness of the importance, benefits, and safety of influenza vaccination and to broaden the vaccination campaign's reach.

Westat will work with CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) to promote vaccination among the U.S. population and specific groups for whom immunization is especially important. These groups are key either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. The timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later and can last as late as May.

For more information: Contact Westat


AEA Conference Features Westat Staff Papers and Presentations

Researchers from Westat will be participating as presenters, discussants, panel chairs, and topical interest group leaders in the 2011 annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association (AEA)(external site) [*]. The conference, whose theme is Values and Valuing, will be held in Anaheim, California, from November 2-5.

Westat is a conference sponsor and will be hosting an exhibit booth in the AEA exhibit area at the Hilton Anaheim. Westat staff will be available to discuss our experience and qualifications in designing and conducting evaluations.

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(external site) [*].

Mary Achatz.
Community Capacity Assessment: The Role of Evaluation in Creating Conditions for Continuous Learning and Accountability for Results.
David Bernstein.
Collecting Useful Data from Diverse Stakeholder Groups: Design Considerations and Challenges.
David Bernstein.
Extending Your Evaluation's Short Half-life So It Is Longer Than a Day: A Personal Perspective.
Frances Carter, Lisa Aponte-Soto, Deborah Ling Grant, Soria Colomer, Johnavae Campbell, and Karen Anderson.
Championing Culturally Responsive Leadership for Evaluation Practice.
Carol Cober.
Design Considerations for Collecting Data from Deaf-Blind Individuals.
Tamara Daley.
Assessing Asian Programs Addressing Forced Labor and Child Sex Trafficking.
Joy Frechtling, John Wells, Xiadong Zhang, Andy Slaughter, and Dan Heck.
Catalyzing the STEM Teaching and Learning: Evaluating NSF's Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) Program.
Joy Frechtling and Meryl Sufian.
The National Evaluation of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Initiative: Challenges and Strategies for Addressing Them.
Frances Gragg.
Assessing Trafficking Programs in Middle East/North Africa (MENA): Use of Evaluability Assessment for Program Improvement.
Jessica Harrell.
Assessing Prevention Programs in Central America by Changing Norms Through Peer-to-Peer Training.
Mustafa Karakus and Allison Roeser.
Impact of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Labor Market Outcomes of Ex-Offenders.
Christopher Lysy.
What to Consider When Choosing a Data Visualization Application or Approach.
Simani Price, Lance Potter, and Craig Lefebvre.
Comparison of Blog and Newspaper Coverage of a Food Recall.
Beth Rabinovich.
Evaluating International Trafficking Programs: The Role of Evaluability Assessments in Determining Program Readiness and Documenting Program Strategy Evolution. Introduction and Description of the Methodological Approach Used for the Evaluability Assessments.
Debra Rog.
Balancing Rigor, Relevance, and Reason: Fitting Methods to the Context.
Debra Rog.
Implementing a Complex Systems Evaluation.
Eden Segal.
Analyses That (Almost) Write Themselves: Using Crosswalks, Matrices, and Schematics to Guide Multi-Method Evaluations and Present Study Findings.
Gary Silverstein, John Wells, Hannah Putman, and Melissa Bryce.
The Informal Science Education (ISE) Online Project Monitoring System (OPMS).
Xiadong Zhang, Joy Frechtling, Andy Slaughter, and Harris Cooper.
Resource, Technology, and Model for K-12 STEM Learning and Teaching: Evaluating the Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) Program.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Features Digital Communications at Public Health Meeting

Westat staff will be participating in this year's American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Exposition (external site) [*], which will be held in Washington, DC, October 29-November 2, 2011. 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 Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds & Bodies. APHA's meeting program addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.

Our presence at this year's conference reflects Westat's growing capabilities in digital communication. We will have a mobile web site created for conference attendees. Scanning the QR code on our APHA handout will lead visitors to the site.

Attendees can stop by Booth #5020 in the exhibit hall to meet Westat staff; learn about our capabilities, projects, and career opportunities; and enter to win an iPad®2.

We will participate in the Exhibitor Theater, a new conference feature. On Tuesday, November 1 at noon, Westat staff will participate in a panel discussion titled, Jack Be Nimble: Accommodating the Changing Landscape of Research and Communications. Panelist will discuss how Westat has adapted to challenges and opportunities in the changing world of public health research and communications.

Westat staff (names in bold) will be presenting, moderating, and organizing the following:

Wilhelmina Ross. (Presenter.)
Pathological Examination of Axillary Lymph Nodes (ALNs) as a Predictor of Survival in Women with Invasive Breast Cancer and Associated Health Disparities.
Amelia Burke. (Presenter.)
Evaluating the Impact of Digital Media: S.O.C.I.A.L. Framework Applied.
Nancy Weinfield. (Presenter.)
Father Recruitment and Retention in Longitudinal Research: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis.
Diane Adams, Christopher Williams, Brenda Leath, and Jamila Rashid. (Organizers.)
Health Informatics Roundtable. Special invited forum collaboratively convened by the APHA, Health Informatics Information Technology Section, and the Office of the National Coordinator.
Luceli Cuasay. (Moderator.)
What Box? Innovative Research and Practice Methodologies.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Staff Participate in Clinical Research Society Conference

Westat staff participated in the Annual Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) conference in San Diego, California, September 23-25, 2011. Nearly 1,000 clinical research professionals attended the meeting, which focused on continuing education and professional development.

Westat staff presented the following material:

Jennifer Bryant. (Presentation.)
Optimizing the Site Monitor Training Experience.

Ms. Bryant's presentation highlighted enhancements made to Westat's approach for training new site monitors. These enhancements include introducing a standardized process for evaluating the staff member's experience and capabilities in order to tailor an individualized training plan, and assigning specific objectives for the trainee at each on-site monitoring training visit.

Georgine Price and Barbara Driver. (Poster.)
Efficient Approach for Developing Effective Case Report Forms.

The poster outlined our team approach for the process of developing clinical study case report forms (CRF). It included the process of establishing a CRF development team (CDT) comprised of protocol, data management, biostatistical, and systems experts. It also addressed the procedures the CDT follows to promote the development of well-designed CRFs, thereby, improving the quality and completeness of data collected.

For more information: Contact Westat


2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Released

The 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey(external site) [*] (FedView) has been released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Westat has assisted OPM for the past four survey administrations with tasks from survey administration, weighting, and data analysis, to the creation and design of the reports.

Surveying 266,000 Federal employees, FedView is the largest Federal employee survey administered on a regular basis. It measures employees' perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions that characterizes successful organizations are present in their agencies. FedView provides valuable insight into the challenges agency leaders face in ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce and how well they are responding.

This year's report provided a range of interesting data.

  • On the topic of human capital assessment and accountability, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission topped the list in all categories (leadership and knowledge management, results-oriented performance culture, and talent management and job satisfaction).
  • Twenty percent of Federal employees telework, with only 2 percent teleworking 3 or more days per week. There were, however, four agencies that had 70 percent or more employees who were teleworking.
  • Federal employees were more positive (65 percent positive) than private sector employees (63 percent positive) on being given the opportunity to improve their skills in their organization.

Several news organizations reported on the survey findings, including the Washington Post(external site) [*], Federal News Radio(external site) [*], AOL Government(external site), and Government Executive (external site) [*].

For more information: Contact Westat


21st Annual Morris Hansen Lecture: October 18, 2011

Robert M. Groves, Ph.D., director, U.S. Census Bureau, and Roderick J. Little, Ph.D., associate director for statistical methodology and standards, U.S. Census Bureau, will give the 21st Annual Morris Hansen Lecture on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 3:30 p.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) South Building in Washington, DC. The lecture is titled Total Survey Error: Missing Conceptual Components, and Design-Based/Model-Based Viewpoints.

The Morris Hansen Lecture series (external site) [*] is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society (WSS), Westat, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The lecture will be held at the USDA's South Building is between 12th and 14th Streets at the Smithsonian Metro Stop (Blue/Orange Lines). Enter through Wing 5 or Wing 7 from Independence Avenue. (The special assistance entrance is at 12th Street and Independence Avenue.) A photo ID is required. Please preregister online (external site) [*] 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 created to honor Morris Hansen, a former Westat Chairman of the Board. His 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.

For more information: Contact Westat


National Longitudinal Survey on Tobacco Use (NLSTU) Awarded to Westat

In support of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Westat will conduct the National Longitudinal Survey on Tobacco Use (NLSTU), a cohort study of users and non-users (aged 12 or older) of tobacco products.

The NLSTU will establish a regulatory-science framework to monitor the behavioral and health impacts of provisions in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA).

FSPTCA gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco-product advertising, labeling, marketing, constituents, ingredients, and additives. These regulatory changes are expected to influence tobacco-product risk perceptions, exposures, and use patterns in the short term, and to reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality in the long term.

By measuring and accurately reporting on behavioral and health effects associated with these regulatory changes, the NLSTU will provide an empirical evidence base for developing, implementing, and evaluating tobacco-product regulations in the United States.

The study is a panel survey that involves interviewing approximately 38,000 adults plus 7,000 youth (ages 12-17) on an annual basis. Biological specimens (whole blood, urine, and buccal cell) will also be collected from each adult.

For more information: Contact Westat


Advancing Clinical Decision Support Report Released

For the Office of the National Coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services, Westat has published Advancing Clinical Decision Support: Key Lessons in Clinical Decision Support Implementation. [*]

The report is in response to the growing demand to accelerate the successful implementation and effective use of computer-based clinical decision support (CDS) interventions, and facilitate evidence-based clinical practice and meaningful use of health information technology (IT).

The purpose of this technical report is to organize and disseminate best practices in CDS implementation and design, based on research and the collection of evidence-based and experience-based lessons, useful practices, and components for CDS implementation across a range of CDS interventions.

Advancing Clinical Decision Support adds to the growing body of knowledge on successes, barriers, and lessons in CDS implementation.

For more information: Contact Westat


TB Public Service Advertisements Pretested by Westat

Westat India Social Sciences was recently awarded a research contract by BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) for pretesting two public service advertisement (PSA) concepts about tuberculosis (TB).

The PSAs aim to encourage individuals who are coughing for more than 2 weeks to get their sputum tested for TB at Designated Microscopic Centres (DMC) of the Government of India. BBC WST plans to produce and broadcast the advertisements on television and produce a long format radio program to support the TV campaign.

The main objectives of the research were to identify the PSA concept that best communicates the message clearly and effectively to audiences and to determine the efficacy of the long format radio concept in persuading vulnerable audiences to get tested for TB.

Westat India conducted 24 focus group discussions across the six program states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The target respondents were men and women 18 to 50 years old living in both urban and rural areas.

The respondents also included some who are vulnerable to TB infection: current and ex-smokers, those using traditional fire-stoves for cooking, those living in close and congested spaces, mobile and migrant workers, and those with a family history of persistent cough.

The Westat India research team plans to analyze the research findings using the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) as the conceptual framework of analysis. The team has also tried to measure the cognitive responses of the participants for gauging their levels of involvement with the two PSAs. Topline results of the research have been presented to BBC WST, PSI, and the Government of India teams, and the findings are being analyzed for preparing the final report.

For more information: Contact Westat India


Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Highlighted in New York Times

Data from the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture was recently highlighted in a New York Times blog, "The New Old Age." The survey, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), was developed by Westat. It asks nursing home providers and staff their opinions about the culture of patient safety in their nursing home.

The September 13, 2011, Times� blog article, "Eavesdropping on the Nursing Home Staff (external site) [*]," described the report as a way to learn what nursing home staff have to say about the facilities where they work.

Survey data were gathered from more than 16,000 staff across 226 nursing homes. The report found that

  • 76 percent of nursing home staff respondents would recommend their nursing home as safe.
  • 62 percent gave their nursing home a grade of "excellent" or "very good" in terms of resident safety.
  • Only 56 percent of respondents believe that staff are treated fairly when they make mistakes.
  • Only 55 percent feel that it is safe to report mistakes.

The report also identified staffing as an area for improvement: Only 41 percent of respondents believe that their nursing home has enough staff to handle the workload.

"The survey assesses staff opinions about aspects of organizational culture that affect patient safety, such as teamwork, communication, management support, training, and staffing," noted Westat Senior Study Director Joann Sorra, Ph.D. Nursing homes administer the survey to identify areas for quality and patient safety improvement. Westat also developed the comparative database report that presents comparative statistics from nursing homes that administered the survey.

The survey's web site(external site) [*] provides

  • The nursing home survey
  • Related toolkit materials
  • The comparative report
  • Additional patient safety culture surveys for use in hospitals and outpatient medical offices

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat to Identify and Disseminate Quality Improvement Measures, Evaluation Strategies for Integrated Health Care

Recognizing the growth in health care that integrates treatment of mental/substance use disorders with primary care, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has asked Westat to develop materials and provide technical assistance on quality improvement measures and evaluation methods in behavioral health-primary care integration.

Working with a panel of national experts, Westat will identify psychometrically sound measures of integrated care and prepare a Web-based atlas of measures for quality improvement and evaluation.

The Westat team includes the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota. The team will also provide technical assistance on integrated health care quality improvement and evaluation to primary care practices, systems of care, and other interested parties.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Is Measuring the Effectiveness of Programs for the Aging

Westat is providing technical assistance to the Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, and state agencies on aging to construct, test, and apply outcome indicators that can show tangible benefits for older people who receive services such as transportation, home care, and nutrition.

Of particular importance is modeling the effect of these services on diverting nursing home placements, as well as identifying any cost savings that occur when home care serves as an alternative to institutionalization.

Westat is now finalizing the measures and building a web site for nationwide dissemination and promotion of performance measurement in state and community programs on aging.

For more information: Contact Westat


Probation and Parole Surveys to Be Administered, Redesigned by Westat

Westat will administer the Annual Probation Survey and the Annual Parole Survey (the P&P surveys) for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice, for the next 4 years.

This year Westat will transition the surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau, which has collected the data for BJS in the past. In 2013, we will redesign the surveys to use a new approach based on standard core surveys for both probation and parole and supplemental topical modules that will rotate.

Through these surveys, BJS annually obtains

  • Summary counts of the number of adults under probation and parole supervision at the beginning and end of each calendar year,
  • Numbers of entries to and exits from probation and parole, and
  • Information on selected characteristics of the year-end population.

The new rotating modules will allow BJS to gain in-depth information about issues of importance to community corrections professionals and researchers.

The P&P data are obtained from administrative sources maintained by state probation and/or parole agencies; municipal, county, or court agencies; and the Federal system.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat to Conduct a Phased Evaluation for Improved HIE Toolkit

Westat will conduct an iterative evaluation and revision of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Information Exchange (HIE) Evaluation Toolkit. This revised toolkit will support many developing and existing regional, state, and territorial health authorities in conducting program evaluations of their HIEs.

Westat will use multiple methods to investigate the toolkit's audience, content, usefulness, and usability. This evaluation will be conducted in four phases:

  1. Baseline evaluation
  2. External feedback phase
  3. Usability phase
  4. Prospective evaluation

At the conclusion of each phase, Westat will work with AHRQ to define and prioritize toolkit revisions. In-depth interviews with potential users will also inform the selection of proposed revisions. Final revisions will improve the usefulness and usability of the toolkit for the target audience.

The culmination of this work will be a final report that summarizes the evaluation results and a revised HIE Evaluation Toolkit.

For more information: Contact Westat


Edward C. Bryant Scholarship Trust Fund Awardee Announced for 2011

The Edward C. Bryant Scholarship Trust Fund Award for 2011 was awarded to Anne-Sophie Charest for her outstanding academic achievement in survey statistics. The scholarship fund was endowed by Westat to honor our co-founder and long-time leader, the late Edward C. Bryant, Ph.D.

Ms. Charest is a Ph.D. candidate in the Statistics Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Her dissertation work concerns differential privacy as a tool for statistical disclosure limitation.

The award was announced at the American Statistical Association (ASA) 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings in Miami Beach, Florida, held July 30 to August 4, 2011.

The ASA is the world's largest community of statisticians. For 170 years, the ASA has supported excellence in the development, application, and dissemination of statistical science through meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation, and advocacy.

For more information: American Statistical Association(external site) [*]


Westat to Support Study of Inherited Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes

For the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Westat will support a study to examine the underlying genetic disorders of patients with an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome and their families. The study will also analyze how factors can affect the course of these syndromes, particularly the connection between these disorders and cancer.

Westat has supported this scope of work under a previous contract, as well as under a support services contract with the Clinical Genetics Branch of NCI. We will continue to provide management, coordination, and clinical and logistical support services.

This work includes

  • Developing study materials and procedures
  • Collecting questionnaires, medical records, pathology materials, and clinical and laboratory data
  • Coordinating clinical evaluation
  • Genetic counseling and disclosure
  • Providing patient education and support
  • Specimen collection, processing, shipment, and requisition
  • Data management, preparation, and processing
  • Study monitoring, quality control, and reporting
  • Inventory management (family medical records, pathology and photography materials)

For more information: Contact Westat


Keith Rust, Ph.D., Elected President of Washington Statistical Society

Keith Rust, Ph.D., a Vice President and Associate Director of Westat's Statistical Staff, has been elected President of the Washington Statistical Society (WSS). He is currently serving as President-Elect until the end of May 2012. His full presidential term will begin in June 2012.

Dr. Rust is a senior statistician with extensive experience in sampling methods, the design and specification of large-scale sample surveys, and analysis of survey data. His areas of special expertise include methods for analyzing large, complex data sets; methods of deriving survey weights; and sampling error estimation procedures.

"The Washington Statistical Society is an exceptionally active and vibrant organization, and the largest local chapter of the American Statistical Association," noted Dr. Rust. "It is a great honor to be elected to lead the Society, and I look forward to working with the Board over the next 3 years."

The WSS includes approximately 900 members who work in the government, academic, and private sectors, spanning many disciplines. Their interests and expertise cover an extensive range of areas in applied and theoretical statistics, data collection, survey methods, and allied subjects.

For more information: Contact Westat


National Health Communication Conference Features Contributors from Westat

Westat health communications marketing professionals and researchers will participate as session moderators and presenters at the Fifth Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (external site) [*] in Atlanta, Georgia, August 9-11, 2011. Westat is also a conference sponsor.

The conference is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the following co-sponsors:

  • National Cancer Institute
  • National Public Health Information Coalition
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This year's conference theme is Listening for Change. The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, and provides a forum for dialogue within and across the disciplines of health communication, marketing, and media research.

A list of sessions to which Westat staff (names in bold) will contribute follows.

Amelia Burke. (Presentation.)
Connecting the Dots: Using Social Media to Measure Behavior Change in Public Health Campaigns.
Cynthia Baur and Simani Price. (Presentation.)
Development and Testing of a Model and Instruments for the Collection of Comparative Communication and Marketing Data.
Teresa Lofton and Shayna Heller. (Poster.)
Eagle Books: Diabetes Prevention through Education-Entertainment.
Dulari Gandhi, Chandria Jones, Glynis Jones, Abiola Ogunbiyi, and Mary Anne Myers. (Poster.)
The Power of Voices: Bringing Together Consumers of Color to Talk About Recovery from Mental Illness.

Conference Planning Committee members Elaine Eaker and Terry Savage will serve as session moderators.

Westat will host an information session entitled Taking Health Communication Out of Health on August 9. Westat staff and invited guests will discuss innovative ways to think about audience targeting to more effectively reach the 360° person in today's crowded and dynamic communications marketplace.

For more information: Contact Westat


2011 AAPOR Policy Impact Award Recognizes Researchers' Work on Review of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Westat Researchers and Team Honored

Westat team displaying award given by AAPOR The Westat Team (l to r): Shelley Perry, Kimya Lee, Wendy Hicks, David Cantor, Susan Berkowitz, and Wayne Hintze.
2011 AAPOR Policy Impact Awardees 2011 AAPOR Policy Impact Awardees: Jay Goodwin (U.S. Army Research Institute), Shelley Perry (Westat), Sandra Berry (RAND Corporation), and Bernard Rostker (RAND Corporation).

Staff from Westat, the U.S. Department of Defense Comprehensive Review Working Group, and the RAND Corporation were honored at the 2011 American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Annual Conference for their work on the Comprehensive Review of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

The AAPOR Policy Impact Award is awarded each year, recognizing outstanding research that has had a clear impact on improving policy decisions practice or discourse, either in the public or private sectors.

Westat conducted a study of the DADT policy, a law that bars openly gay soldiers from serving in the military. The project surveyed nearly half a million military members (active-duty personnel and reservists at all ranks) and military spouses for their views on the impact of possible DADT repeal on military recruitment, retention, effectiveness, and unit cohesion.

Shelley Perry, Ph.D., project director of the study, was on hand to accept the award for the Westat team. "Westat has a long history of partnering with the DOD and the Services to collect data on high profile issues that accurately reflect the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of military personnel and their families," she noted later."We were honored to be a part of this effort."

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Researchers Participate in Joint Statistical Meetings

Researchers from Westat will be participating as authors, panelists, discussants, session chairs, and organizers in this year's Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM), to be held in Miami Beach, Florida, July 30-August 4, 2011. The conference is expected to attract more than 6,000 statisticians from around the world.

JSM is jointly sponsored by the following organizations:

  • American Statistical Association
  • International Biometric Society (Eastern and Western North American Regions)
  • Institute of Mathematical Statistics
  • Statistical Society of Canada
  • International Chinese Statistical Association
  • International Indian Statistical Association

Westat staff presentations and discussions will cover a wide range of topics, including predicting violent crime rates, methods for inference from hard-to-reach populations, the implications of statistical measurement on public policy, and a variety of other topics.

A list of papers, presentations, and sessions to which Westat staff (names in bold) will contribute follows. For details on the time and location of each session, refer to the JSM Program (external site) [*].

Sylvia Dohrmann, Lin Li, and Leyla Mohadjer.
Updating the Measures of Size of Local Areas Late in the Decade Using USPS Address Lists.
Brad Edwards (Organizer).
Multi-Mode Surveys: Design and Effects.
Robert Fay (Discussant).
Resampling Methods for Variance Estimation in Surveys of Governments.
Robert E. Fay and Jane Li.
Predicting Violent Crime Rates for the 2010 Redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
Ismael Flores Cervantes and J. Michael Brick.
Reweighting in the Presence of Nonresponse in Stratified Designs.
Hongsheng Hao, Leyla Mohadjer, Lin Li, Wendy Van de Kerckhove, Sylvia Dohrmann, and Randy Curtin.
Sample Design Changes for the NHANES 2011-2014 Annual Surveys.
David Judkins (Chair & Organizer).
What Would Deming Have Said About Value-Added?
Jennifer Kali, John Burke, Lloyd Hicks, Lou Rizzo, and Keith Rust.
Incorporating a First-Stage Finite Population Correction (fpc) in Variance Estimation for a Two-Stage Design in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Graham Kalton (Discussant).
Celebrating Wayne Fuller's 80th Birthday.
Tom Krenzke, Jane Li, David Judkins, and Michael Larsen.
Evaluating a Constrained Hotdeck to Perturb American Community Survey Data for the Census Transportation Planning Products.
Thanh Lê, Greg Norman, Karen Tourangeau, Mike Brick, and Gail Mulligan.
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 � Sample Design Issues.
Hyunshik Lee (Chair).
Challenging Populations and Novel Sample Designs.
Hyunshik Lee and David Marker.
Resampling Variance Estimation for Two-Phase Sample.
Jane Li, Tom Krenzke, Mike Brick, David Judkins, and Michael Larsen.
Variance Estimation for Census Transportation Planning Products with Perturbed American Community Survey Data.
David Marker (Chair).
Council of Chapters Governing Board Executive Committee.
David Marker (Chair & Organizer).
The Implications of Statistical Measurement on Public Policy.
Karen Christine Masken, Michael Brick, and Joel Wakesberg.
Nonresponse Adjustment for a Vector of Outcomes and the MAR Assumption.
Leyla Mohadjer.
Challenges in Minimizing Nonsampling Errors in an International Assessment of Adult Competencies.
Lou Rizzo and Keith Rust.
Development of a First-Stage Finite Population Correction in the Variance Estimator for a Two-Stage PPS Design.
John Rogers (Author).
Sample Size Guidelines When Using a Validation Study to Adjust for Measurement Error Bias in Linear Regression.
Keith Rust (Discussant).
Using the American Community Survey as a Sampling Frame: A Collaborative Effort.
Richard Sigman, Graham Kalton, Nevin Krishna, Christopher H. Johnson, and Alexa M. Oster.
Weighting Venue-Based Sample Data for the National HIV Behavioral System's 2008 Survey of Men Who Have Sex with Men.
Wendy Van de Kerckhove, Robert E. Fay, Leyla Mohadjer, and Lester R. Curtin.
The Development of State Estimates from a National Health Survey.

For more information: Contact Westat


Luceli C. Cuasay, Dr.P.H., Invited to Speak on Health Disparities of Filipino Americans

Luceli C. Cuasay, Dr.P.H., a Westat senior biostatistician, was an invited speaker at the first Filipino American Cardiovascular Health Summit in Washington, DC, on July 8-9, 2011.

The summit was jointly sponsored by the New York University School of Medicine, Center for the Study of Asian American Health, and University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America. The event was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The summit provided the opportunity for health providers to strategize about ways to address health disparities experienced by Filipino Americans. This community has a disproportionately heavy burden of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Dr. Cuasay's presentation focused on her study on the prevalence and determinants of type 2 diabetes among Filipino Americans in the Houston, Texas, area, and she went on to describe the sociodemographic and health characteristics of the Filipino population in the United States. Dr. Cuasay joined three experts on the panel titled, Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Thyroid Dysfunction on Cardiovascular Health.

For more information: Contact Westat


Evidence-Based Practices Product for Supportive Housing Wins Awards for Technical Communication

The Permanent Supportive Housing Evidence-Based Practices KIT, developed for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), won two awards from the Society for Technical Communication (STC). Westat developed the KIT in conjunction with Advocates for Human Potential.

The award honors include:

  • Distinguished Technical Communication, Washington, DC, Chapter
  • Best of Show, International Summit Awards Competition

Westat has worked with SAMHSA to create the Evidence-Based Practices KIT series, a critical component of SAMHSA's science-to-services strategy. The Permanent Supportive Housing KIT outlines the essential components of supportive housing services and programs for people with mental illness. The KIT also discusses how to develop new programs within mental health systems that are grounded in evidence-based practices. The KIT includes eight booklets and is available in print and CD-ROM formats.

For more information: Contact Westat


National Lung Screening Study Results Published, Findings Indicate CT Scans Reduce Cancer Deaths by 20%; Westat Served as Coordinating Center

The primary research results(external site) [*] from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) large-scale National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) have been published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Initial results of the findings were released in November 2010, noting CT scans detecting cancers at relatively early stages, thus reducing deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent.

The NLST was a collaborative effort of NCI and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN). Two component studies compose the NLST: the Lung Screening Study (LSS), a special study of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial; and a trial conducted under an NCI-funded grant to ACRIN. Westat served as the coordinating and data center for the LSS component of the trial. The results have received international media attention.

The NLST is a randomized trial involving more than 53,000 current and former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74 at 33 screening sites. The trial has compared the effects of two screening procedures for lung cancer—low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) and standard chest X-ray—on lung cancer mortality. The study found 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths among trial participants screened with low-dose helical CT.

NCI Director Harold Varmus, MD, noted that the publication of the results gives researchers, policymakers, and the public full access to primary findings from the NLST to guide the use of low-dose helical CT scanning by current and former smokers

Brenda Brewer, the Westat project director of NLST, said that she and the other Westat NLST staff are proud to have played a role in this landmark research study.

For more information: Contact Westat

National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening. NEJM. Online June 29, 2011. In print, August 4, 2011.

For an updated Q&A on the NLST, please go to site) [*].

To view a video discussion of the design and outcomes of the NLST, please go to site) [*].


Luceli Cuasay, Dr.P.H., Discussed Minority Health Needs at Cancer Center Workshop

Westat's Luceli Cuasay, Dr.P.H., gave a presentation on the health profile of Asian Americans at the 9th Annual Disparities in Health in the Global Context Summer Workshop at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, on June 22.

The goals of the workshop were to provide a comprehensive approach to reduce the impact of chronic disease as it impacts health disparity and public health, and provide attendees with a broad base of knowledge related to a bio-psychosocial approach in addressing health disparities.

Dr. Cuasay's presentation was titled, Health Needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: Stories from the Model Minority. It was part of the Health Disparities, Social Determinants & Obesity session.

"The Model Minority stereotype presents challenges in addressing health disparities," noted Dr. Cuasay. "Despite their favorable socioeconomic status, major health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, persist for Asian Americans. They are the fastest growing race in the United States in the last decade. It is increasingly important to understand their health status, behaviors, attitudes, and needs; design culturally and linguistically appropriate programs; and improve access to care. The role of researchers, health care professionals, and community leaders is critical in reducing health disparities."

For more information: Contact Westat


Raleigh-Durham Area Residents Needed for Driving Behavior Study

Nearly 500 residents of the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, area are needed for a National Academy of Sciences study of driving behavior. The Second Strategic Highway Research Program(external site) [*] investigates the underlying causes of highway crashes and congestion in a short-term program of focused research.

Westat is collecting driving data for a National Academy of Sciences' study

The NextGen device in the trunk of the vehicle The NextGen device stores encrypted data of the driver and vehicle performance. The device is generally located in the trunk or back area of the vehicle.
The head unit hanging behind the rearview mirror The head unit hangs behind the rearview mirror. The unit houses several cameras, including one that captures video of the driver.

Over the course of the study (1-2 years), special monitoring equipment installed in the drivers' cars will capture both driver and vehicle performance data. The technology includes forward radar, continuously recording video cameras, GPS, accelerometers, and other sensors.

The objective is to identify countermeasures that will significantly improve highway safety through an understanding of driving behaviors. The study will incorporate approximately 3,100 drivers in six states throughout the United States.

"It is really important to understand what happens to drivers and their vehicles in the real world. The study results will lead to better and safer highway and auto design," according to James Jenness, Ph.D., the Westat Senior Study Director on the project.

"Similar technology is used in automotive design and even in NASCAR," according to Westat Site Manager Martha Wilaby. "It's pretty high-tech, but it isn't obtrusive when it's installed. It doesn't interfere with driving, and it doesn't harm your vehicle."

"We're recruiting 476 local drivers and their personal cars," Ms. Wilaby said. "We need drivers of all ages, especially those under 25 and those over 65." Any volunteer under 18 would require parental permission.

While their vehicle is being instrumented, drivers will be asked to fill out questionnaires and take some tests to provide information to support research on the relationship between driver characteristics and highway safety. Then, they will simply follow their regular driving patterns. Drivers will be reimbursed $500 per year for their participation.

For more information: Contact Westat


Cancer Registries Conference Includes Westat Staff

Westat staff will be participating in this year's North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) Annual Conference(external site) [*]. The meeting will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 18-24, 2011.

The theme for this year's meeting is Cancer Surveillance: Keeping Pace with Policy, Science, and Technology. Presentations will emphasize the ways in which cancer surveillance affects and is affected by public health policy and by advances in medical science and health information technology.

Westat will be exhibiting at Booth 210 in the exhibit hall. Westat project staff members will be available to provide meeting attendees an opportunity to learn about our projects and capabilities.

Westat staff (names in bold) will be participating in the following:

Mary Mesnard. (Poster presentation.)
Non-Hospital Reporting Impact on Cancer Statistics in Maryland.
Serban Negoita. (Paper.)
Consolidation of Cancer Stage and Prognostic Factor Data Elements – Operational Issues in Collaborative Stage Data Collection System.
Serban Negoita. (Paper.)
Relevance of Gleason Score for the Initial Management of Prostate Adenocarcinoma: A Population-Based Perspective.
Serban Negoita. (Paper.)
SEER Program for Continuous Evaluation of 2010 CSv2 Implementation and Changes.
Wilhelmina Ross. (Paper.)
Exploring the Utility of CA125 as a Clinically Relevant Prognostic Factor in Patients with Ovarian Cancer.
David Stinchcomb. (Paper.)
Selecting the Optimal Window Size for Spatial Scan Statistics.

Westat staff also provided support for the following presentations:

Feasibility of Using U.S. Census 2000 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) to Evaluate Population Uniqueness for Population-based Cancer Microdata. K. Cronin, National Cancer Institute (NCI)/SEER.

Maintenance of a Registry Data Management System: Collaborative Results Stemming from the SEER*DMS Change Control Board. N. Schussler, National Cancer Institute (NCI)/SEER.

Multidisciplinary Approach to Timely Reporting of Surveillance Statistics: Utility of SEER February Submission Files. K. Cronin, National Cancer Institute (NCI)/SEER.

SEER*ABS Abstracting Tool. L. Coyle, IMS.

For more information: Contact Westat


Communications Association Honors NEI with First Place Award, Westat Developed Web Product

The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) has announced that a National Eye Institute (NEI) project that Westat works on is among the winners of the 2011 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition.

The NEI's Eye on NEI News Magazine(external site) [*] was honored with a First Place Gold Screen Award in the Electronic Publication category.

The NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition salutes superior communications efforts of Government agencies and recognizes the people that create them.

  • Blue Pencil Award categories are designed for writing, editing, photography, and published products, such as magazines, books, newsletters, and other related materials.
  • Gold Screen Award categories recognize audiovisual and multimedia products, including broadcast and Internet-based products.

More than 430 entries in 38 categories were received and judged by a prestigious panel of experts and merited a total of 39 First Place, 37 Second Place, and 59 Awards of Excellence.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Appoints New President

James E. Smith, Ph.D., has been appointed President of Westat at the May 26th annual stockholders meeting. Westat is an employee-owned corporation providing research services to agencies of the U.S. Government, as well as businesses, foundations, and state and local governments.

Westat is ranked in the top 10 global market and survey research companies in the Honomichl survey and 24th among the Washington region's private companies by the Washington Business Journal.

Dr. Smith has been a corporate officer at Westat since 1988 and a member of its Board of Directors since 2006. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in sociology from the University of Southern California, and a B.S. degree in sociology from Brigham Young University. He joined Westat in 1985.

Dr. Smith succeeds Joseph A. Hunt who has served as Westat's President for the past 32 years. Mr. Hunt will continue as a Westat officer and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Appointment article in the Gazette(external site) [*]

For more information: Contact Westat


Science360 for iPad Application Launched

Developed on Westat's project supporting the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) web site,, the Science360 for iPad application was launched Thursday, June 9. The application is now available for free download in the App Store section of Apple's iTunes store(external site) [*].

Westat's subcontractor Bottle Rocket Apps designed and developed the application, which showcases captivating multimedia content from NSF-funded institutions, displayed in high-resolution images and videos. Westat's Stephanie Fears, Dan Unger, and Steve Lonker worked with NSF and Bottle Rocket to guide the design and development of the app.

The name "Science360" reflects the app's unique presentation of science content in a spherical, "infinitely scrollable" format. The application also enables users to share images and video via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information: Contact Westat


Prestigious Award for Accountability Reporting Given to Westat Project

The Association of Government Accountants has given its top honor to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the agency's 2010 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). Westat worked closely with the FAA to design and produce the PAR.

The Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting (CEAR) Award is awarded to Federal Government entities whose PARs achieve the highest standards of clarity in communicating financial information and demonstrating accountability.

The FAA was one of 18 Federal agencies honored with the CEAR at a National Press Club ceremony last month.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat to Continue as Coordinating Center for DES Followup Study

Westat will continue its coordinating center function for the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) DES Followup Study. This study examines the long-term health effects of exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen that was first prescribed in 1938 to women who experienced miscarriages or premature deliveries.

Since 1993, Westat has supported NCI in coordinating the long-term followup study, which involves cohorts maintained by five field centers and includes more than 21,000 DES-exposed and unexposed mothers and their children.

We will be responsible for overall study coordination and liaison with the five field centers, as well as developing followup Teleform and web-based questionnaires for the fifth (2011) round of followup.

Westat staff will also perform the following tasks:

  • Prepare procedures manuals, abstract forms, and newsletters;
  • Update and maintain the study web site;
  • Support and coordinate National Death Index linkage and tracing;
  • Process and edit questionnaire and pathology data;
  • Receipt pathology slides and coordinate their review;
  • Maintain a comprehensive cohort database; and
  • Provide support for cancer registry search submissions.

For more information: Contact Westat


Digital Health Resources Developed by Westat Win Awards

Three Westat clients have won Web Health AwardsSM from the Health Information Resource CenterSM, a national clearinghouse for professionals who work in consumer health fields. The awards honor the nation's best digital health resources.

Westat helped develop the following products for these clients:

Winning entries were chosen from more than 500 entries judged by a panel of distinguished experts in digital health media.

For more information: Contact Westat


Two Westat Statisticians Elected to Key Roles in the American Statistical Association

David Morganstein and Jill Montaquila, both Fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA), have been elected to serve ASA in key roles beginning January 1, 2012.

David Morganstein, Vice President and Director of the Statistical Staff at Westat, has been elected Vice President of ASA. Serving on its Board of Directors, he will be involved in strategic initiatives over the next 3 years and will play a key role in the governance of ASA.

"ASA is a multicultural, increasingly diverse organization with many special and disparate interests," stated Mr. Morganstein. "I seek to expand my understanding of the various and possibly conflicting concerns of ASA's 15,000-plus members and bring this understanding to the Board in designing the ASA of the future."

Jill Montaquila, Associate Director and senior statistician at Westat, has been elected Chair-Elect of ASA's Section on Survey Research Methods. She will provide leadership and future direction to the section over the next 3 years. Ms. Montaquila is "looking forward to promoting and fostering collaboration among survey researchers during this time of transition, as the field moves away from 'standard' methods and technologies and looks to adapt new approaches."

ASA is the world's largest community of statisticians. Its members serve in industry, government, and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare.

For more information: Contact Westat


New, Simpler TB Treatment Is Biggest Breakthrough in Decades; Westat Supported Study

Latent tuberculosis (TB) treatment usually requires 9 months of daily pill-taking, but a new study, supported by Westat, shows that once-a-week drugs for a 3-month period work just as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released data regarding this clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of a new preventive TB treatment regimen (using currently available anti-TB drugs) among persons with latent TB infection who are at high risk for progression to TB disease.

The multicountry clinical trial results (external site) [*] showed that a supervised once-weekly regimen of rifapentine and isoniazid taken for 3 months was just as effective as the standard self-administered 9-month daily regimen of isoniazid, and was completed by more participants.

The Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC) Monitoring Coordinating Center has been supported by Westat for 13 years. Westat monitors clinical sites and protocols; assists in developing protocols, procedures, and related materials; and conducts protocol education and training. We also provide statistical consultation, coordinate annual meetings, and manage the TBTC web site.

For more information: Contact Westat


National Health and Aging Trends Study Begins, Inviting Seniors to Participate

Westat has begun nationwide participant recruitment and data collection for the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). The study will examine how the daily lives of older adults change as they age. About 9,000 individuals age 65 and older who are enrolled in Medicare will be invited to participate.

The study, supported by the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, is designed to help researchers understand changes in health and functioning among seniors. It will also help them understand the social and economic consequences of health and aging for individuals, families, and society.

Westat is working with researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on this new research study.

Participants will be interviewed about their health, family, daily activities and tasks, and how they get around their home and community. In addition, participants will be asked to do some simple everyday activities that include standing, getting up from a chair, walking, and activities that measure memory and breathing.

The Westat Telephone Research Center (TRC) will also begin data collection in May on a related survey of family members and friends who help NHATS participants. The National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

About 2,000 telephone interviews will be conducted with individuals selected for the NSOC. The NSOC will look at the important role of family members and friends in providing help and care for their older relatives and friends with their daily activities.

For more information: Contact Westat


Nancy Dianis to Participate at Clinical Research Conference

Nancy Dianis, a Westat Vice President and an Associate Director of the Clinical Trials Area, will moderate a conference session about challenges faced by contract research organizations at MAGI's Clinical Research Conference (external site) [*] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 22-25, 2011. The conference will include a broad range of topics related to clinical research. Speakers include representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, research institutes, and government agencies.

MAGI is an acronym for Model Agreements & Guidelines International, which has more than 6,000 members who represent clinical research sponsors, sites, and CROs. Their objective is to standardize best practices for clinical research operations, business, and regulatory compliance.

For more information: Contact Westat


Susan Berkowitz, Ph.D., to Discuss Review of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at European Conference on Qualitative Research

Westat's Susan Berkowitz, Ph.D., a senior study director, will present a paper about the comprehensive review of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to the European conference on Qualitative Research for Policy Making(external site) [*] May 26-27, 2011, in Belfast, United Kingdom.

This highly interactive, cross-disciplinary conference will bring together top academics, practitioners, and policy planners to discuss successful strategies of delivering qualitative research for policymaking in times of austerity.

Dr. Berkowitz's paper is titled Don't Ask, Don't Tell Law: Challenges in Delivering Qualitative Findings to Senior-Level Policymakers in the U.S. Department of Defense. The paper focuses on the work of Westat's qualitative analysis team that:

  • Looked at the anticipated impact of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on U.S. military service members and their families,
  • Analyzed a massive amount of qualitative data from a variety of sources (town hall meetings, focus groups, in-box comments, online dialogues), and
  • Developed a strategy to explain and deliver the findings to senior-level policymakers in the Pentagon.

This conference is co-organized by the Merlien Institute and the ARK Team from the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Designing the Evaluation of the Presidential Initiative to Reduce Long-Term Foster Care

President Barack Obama highlighted the Permanency Innovations Initiative in his Presidential Proclamation for National Foster Care Month on April 29, 2011. Westat is designing a comprehensive evaluation plan for this initiative.

The initiative is administered by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is currently funding six grantees to develop and implement innovative interventions in their states or county child welfare systems to achieve stable permanent placements for children who would otherwise remain in long-term foster care.

The President noted that over the next 5 years, this program will invest $100 million in new intervention strategies to help foster youth move into permanent homes.

It is essential that the demonstration projects contribute to the evidence base for child welfare services that improve permanency outcomes. To meet this goal, the Westat evaluation team must plan the most rigorous evaluations possible. Our tasks include

  • Coordinating with grantees to formulate site-specific evaluation plans,
  • Designing the cross-site evaluation plan, and
  • Generating resource estimates for evaluation activities during future years of the initiative.

"This investment in a concerted effort to improve permanency outcomes is unprecedented both in its scope and in its clear focus on developing the evidence base for effective intervention strategies," noted Andrea Sedlak, Ph.D., a Westat Vice President and project director for the evaluation. "Westat's evaluation team must plan the most rigorous evaluations possible to ensure that this initiative produces information that other child welfare agencies can apply in their systems to increase permanent placements and improve the well-being of children and youth who would otherwise remain in foster care for 3 years or longer."

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Teams with Networks on Patient-Centered Outcomes

Westat has partnered with several primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) to work on two projects for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The projects focus on comparative effectiveness research, more widely known as patient-centered outcomes research.

  • Building Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Protocols (BICEP). Led by the Connecticut Center for Primary Care (CCPC), Westat is assembling a database from electronic health records on 350,000 patients with hypertension and diabetes available through CCPC's primary care practices.
  • Leveraging PBRNs to Accelerate Implementation and Diffusion of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Guidelines in Primary Care Practices. Westat teams with 4 PBRNs to implement an initiative to disseminate evidence-based chronic kidney disease guidelines into primary care practice. A multicomponent implementation approach that includes practice facilitation and local learning collaboratives will help 32 primary care practices in each PBRN implement the National Kidney Foundation CKD Guidelines to improve detection, management, and treatment of this condition.

For more information: Contact Westat


SAS Global Forum Features Westat Staff in Key Roles

Westat staff participated in the SAS Global Forum 2011(external site) [*] in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4-7. The forum is considered the premier event for SAS professionals worldwide, offering unequaled educational and networking opportunities.

Westat staff member Stuart Long presented an invited technical paper. Michael Raithel taught a preconference seminar, chaired a panel discussion, and presented an invited paper.

Mike Rhoads and Mr. Raithel served as mentors in the new SAS Global Forum Presenter Mentoring Program. Rick Mitchell, Conference Executive Board member, served an organizational role at the conference.

The list of events that Westat staff and coauthors participated in follows (Westat staff listed in bold).

Stuart Long, Ed Heaton, and Dan Scharf.
ODS Output Datasets That Work for You (external site) [*]. (Paper).
Michael Raithel.
How to Become a Top SAS Programmer. (Seminar)
So, You Want to be A SAS Press Author. (Panel discussion)
PROC DATASETS; The Swiss Army Knife of SAS® Procedures (external site) [*]. (Paper)

For more information: Contact Westat


Society for Clinical Trials Meeting Includes Westat Staff

Westat staff will be participating in this year's Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) Annual Meeting(external site) [*]. The meeting will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 15-18, 2011.

The SCT engages dialogue on important issues of the day facing clinical trialists. The theme for this year's meeting is the design and conduct of international trials, with a special emphasis on Asia.

Westat staff members will be available following the presentations/poster sessions to provide meeting attendees an opportunity to learn about our projects and capabilities.

The following Westat staff will be presenting at the meeting:

Brenda Brewer. Poster.
Creating and Supporting a Productive Environment for Ancillary Study Development in a Multi-Center Trial.
Kathy Clingan. Poster.
A Unique Web-Based Tool for Performing and Tracking Data Quality Assurance Tasks in a Multi-Center Study.
Nancy Payte. Presentation.
Solutions for Monitoring Medical Record Abstraction Quality in a Multi-Center Study.
Jennifer Rosenbaum. Poster.
A Complex Web-Based Structure for Coordinating Review and Tracking Progress of Ancillary Studies in the National Lung Screening Trial.
Jennifer Rosenbaum. Poster.
An Efficient Web-Based Approach to Managing a Complex Cause of Death Review Process.

For more information: Contact Westat


David Cantor, Ph.D., Elected to AAPOR Executive Council

David Cantor, Ph.D., a Westat Associate Director and senior scientist, has been elected Associate Standards Committee Chair of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 2011-12 Executive Council. His term on the new Executive Council will begin at the upcoming Annual Conference (external site) [*] in Phoenix, Arizona, May 12-15, 2011. More than 60 AAPOR members ran for office this year.

The following is the roster of the new council:

  • Paul Lavrakas, Vice President/President-Elect
  • Rachel Caspar, Associate Secretary-Treasurer
  • Patricia Moy, Councilor-at-Large
  • David Cantor, Associate Standards Committee Chair
  • Paul Beatty, Associate Conference Chair
  • Marjorie Connelly, Associate Communications Committee Chair
  • Liz Hamel, Associate Membership and Chapter Relations Chair

For more information: Contact Westat


Educational Research Meeting Features Westat Staff

Westat researchers will be serving as presenters at this year's American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting (external site) [*]. The meeting will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 8-12, 2011. The theme for this year's meeting is Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good.

AERA is the most prominent international professional organization advancing the dual goals of education research and its practical application. The annual meeting convenes more than 14,000 education researchers from the United States and abroad.

Reflecting our organization's broad range of research activity, Westat attendees will be presenting the results of studies on a variety of topics, including:

  • High school dropout rates
  • School vouchers
  • Reading curricula
  • Special education
  • Teacher pay-for-performance
  • Student course enrollment patterns

The following is a list of papers to be presented by Westat staff and coauthors (Westat staff listed in bold).

Belinda Gimbert, Keith MacAllum, Kimberley Raue, John Wells, and Holly Bozeman.
Performance-Based Pay for Teachers and Administrators: A Case Study of an Alternative Compensation Program in Urban Ohio School Districts.
Jennifer A. Hamilton.
Implementation and Impact of the Newark, New Jersey, Striving Readers Project.
Keith MacAllum, John P. Wells, Xiaodong Zhang, and Belinda Gimbert.
Evaluation of Ohio's Teacher Incentive Fund: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo.
Allison D'Amour Meisch, Amy Falk Smith, and Jennifer A. Hamilton.
The Impact of READ 180 on the Literacy Skills of Students with Disabilities.
Robert Colby Perkins and Stephen E. Roey.
Professional development course. Accessing and Analyzing High School Transcript Study Data for Inspired Educational Research Purposes.
Martha L. Thurlow, Jamal Abedi, Deborah R. Dillon, and Marsha L. Brauen.
Exploring an Accessible Reading Assessment for Students with Disabilities.
John P. Wells.
Teacher Responses to Pay-for-Performance Policies: Survey Results from Four High-Poverty, Urban School Districts.
Patrick J. Wolf, Babette Gutmann, Michael J. Puma, Brian Kisida, Lou Rizzo, and Nada Eissa.
Evaluation of the Impact of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report.

For more information: Contact Westat


Federal Survey Information Workshops Include Westat Expertise

Westat staff participated in the 2011 Federal CASIC (Computer-Assisted Survey Information Collection) Workshops in Washington, DC, March 22-24, 2011. Westat Vice Presidents Jane Shepherd and Brad Edwards are the Westat coordinators for this annual workshop series. The series is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Census Bureau.

Westat staff (names in bold) chaired workshops, served on panels, and gave presentations on a variety of current issues.

Greg Binzer. Panel. Cloud Computing.

Taylor Cooper. Presentation. Securing a Large Project with Private Cloud Computing.

Bryan Davis. Presentation. Stress Testing Prior to Production Deployment.

Brad Edwards. Session Co-Chair. Multimode Data Collection.

Brad Edwards. Panel. Use of Technology to Improve Productivity, Increase Efficiency, and Lower Costs.

Brad Edwards and Laura Branden. Presentation. Piggyback Surveys with Mixed Mode Designs.

Richard Frey and Jim O'Reilly. Statistics Netherlands Demonstration. Blaise 5.0 and Cloud Computing.

Wendy Hicks, Brad Edwards, and Rick Dulaney. Presentation. CARI.

Eric Jodts. Panel. Multigenerational Workforce.

Mary Laidlaw, Karen Brenner, and Jane Shepherd. Presentation. Leveraging Data Management Tools.

Lisa Rodriguez and Bob Patchen. Presentation. Universal Design in NAEP Computer-Based Assessments.

Sid Schneider, Abie Reifer, and BLS staff. Presentation. Redesigning the Consumer Expenditure Survey: Usability and Data Quality.

Jane Shepherd. Panel. Telework Management.

Jane Shepherd. Session Co-Chair. Data Management.

Jane Shepherd. Session Co-Chair. Management Challenges in CAI Survey Organizations.

For more information: Contact Westat


Health Care Innovations Exchange Video Series Wins 4 Awards

A video series that Westat developed for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has won several video industry production prizes. The series is titled Health Care Innovations Exchange (HCIE): AHRQ Health Care Quality: Frontline Innovators on Changing Care, Improving Health.

The award honors include:

  • 2011 Telly Awards; three Bronze Awards; categories: Government Relations, Health and Wellness, Information
  • 2010 Aegis Award; category: Training/Education

The video series(external site) [*] features profiles of six different health care professionals sharing stories about the human impact of their innovations. The stories range from a child in daycare who falls ill and receives timely treatment through telemedicine to an unemployed truck driver who goes back to work after receiving needed care.

The production team for the series includes the following staff:

  • Michael Skinner, Pendrawgn Productions, director/producer
  • Kay Gallagher, Westat, video producer
  • Veronica Nieva, Ph.D., Westat, AHRQ HCIE editor-in-chief and project director
  • Elaine Swift, Ph.D., Westat, task leader
  • Deborah Carpenter, Westat, AHRQ HCIE project manager

"Our AHRQ Healthcare Innovations team is very proud of these awards," noted Dr. Nieva. "The videos are beautifully crafted to highlight the passion that our innovators bring to their important work of improving health care delivery in this country."

Telly Awards honor distinguished work in areas as video and film productions, and web commercials. The Aegis Awards are the video industry's premier competition for peer recognition of outstanding video productions and non-network TV commercials.

For more information: Contact Westat


Richard Rosenthal Joins Westat as Vice President

Richard Rosenthal has joined Westat as a Vice President and Associate Director. He brings specialized experience in large-scale operations and management, information technology (IT) and web-enabled solutions, as well as strategic planning and customer relationship management. His topical areas of expertise include criminal justice, substance abuse, housing, regulatory programs, and education, with a focus on knowledge management and IT-enabled modernization and transformation.

Mr. Rosenthal will play a key role in Westat's public-facing information service, clearinghouse, contact center, and mission-focused IT enablement initiatives.

"I believe Westat is extremely well positioned for growth and expansion of its product lines," noted Mr. Rosenthal. "I'm delighted to be working with the exceptional talent here in helping introduce new and innovative service offerings and solutions for our current and future customers."

Prior to joining Westat, Mr. Rosenthal was Vice President and manager of a large business unit at Lockheed Martin and previously at Aspen Systems.

We look forward to Mr. Rosenthal's contributions as we continue to develop and expand our company's capabilities.

For more information: Contact Westat


Bryant Scholarship Committee Now Accepting Applications for 2011 Award

Applications for the annual Edward C. Bryant Scholarship for an outstanding graduate student in survey statistics are now being accepted. The American Statistical Association (ASA) has announced April 1 as the deadline for the scholarship.

Each year, one eligible student is selected by ASA's Bryant Scholarship Award Committee to receive the $2,500 award. The award will be presented at the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Miami, Florida, on August 2.

The committee chooses the recipient based on the following criteria:

  • Potential to contribute to survey statistics,
  • Applied experience in survey statistics, and
  • Performance in graduate school.

Westat established the Edward C. Bryant Scholarship Trust Fund in 1995 to honor its cofounder and chair emeritus. Under Dr. Bryant's leadership, Westat has grown into what is now one of the world's leading statistical research corporations serving Federal, state, and local governments, as well as businesses and foundations.

Applicants, who must be full-time graduate students studying survey statistics, must submit an application form and three letters of recommendation by April 1. To apply for the scholarship:

Download application: (microsoft word document) [*]

Recommendation letters may be emailed to or mailed to:

732 N. Washington St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
ATTN: ASA Awards Liaison

For more information:
Contact Westat
American Statistical Association (external site) [*]


Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy Review to Be Discussed at Seminar

Westat staff and researchers will discuss the Comprehensive Review of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) Policy on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., as part of the 2011 Contemporary Social Issues Seminar Series (external site) . Westat conducted a study and reported the findings to the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG). The CRWG considered the findings and additional findings of their own and reported the results and their conclusions to the Secretary of Defense.

The seminar, which is free and open to the public, is held in the Camille Kendall Academic Center (external site) [*], Building III, Room 3241, 9636 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850. The seminars are sponsored by the Rockville Institute and the Universities at Shady Grove.

The study obtained the views of nearly half a million military personnel. Attendees will hear the results of the study, the challenges in studying a highly political topic, and the role that the findings had in informing the U.S. Department of Defense.

Speakers include Shelley Perry, Ph.D., and Susan Berkowitz, Ph.D., both of Westat, as well as Sunil Dasgupta, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The 2011 Contemporary Social Issues Seminar Series presents the opportunity for social scientists and researchers at the forefront of their study areas to present fact-driven, research-based findings on topics affecting the public.

Other upcoming seminar dates, topics, and speakers include the following:

Monday, April 11, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
Teen Driving Safety Issues
To combat the high crash risk of teen drivers, most states have implemented Graduated Drivers License (GDL) programs to place limits on the conditions in which novice teen drivers are permitted to operate vehicles. Presenters will discuss the underlying factors associated with teen driving behavior and the effectiveness of GDL-related countermeasure programs.

Mark Freedman, Westat
Neil Lerner, Westat
Captain Tom Didone, Director, Traffic Division, Montgomery County Police Department

Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Educating Students with Disabilities
Learn how children with disabilities have received special education since 1975, where they are receiving services, the services they receive, their outcomes, and new instructional approaches in use today to ensure that all students with disabilities are receiving a free appropriate public education.

Marsha Brauen, Ph.D., Westat
Elaine Carlson, Ph.D., Westat

For more information: Contact Westat


Combination Therapy Can Reduce HIV Transmission to Newborn Infants by 50%

A combination antiretroviral (ARV) drug regimen provided to HIV-exposed infants within the first 2 weeks of life can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by approximately 50 percent as opposed to a single drug regimen. These are the initial results of a study conducted for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Westat served as the coordinating and data center for the trial.

The results are expected to help further establish best treatment practices both domestically and internationally.

Key elements of the study (external site) [*] are as follows:

  • More than 1,700 infants were enrolled from 17 domestic and international sites.
  • The trial spanned a 6-year study period.
  • Infants were born to HIV-infected mothers.
  • Mothers had not been treated with ARV therapy prior to delivery.
  • The trial compared the effects of combination drug treatment regimens to a single drug treatment regimen:
    • Two-drug regimen (Zidovudine and Nevirapine) versus one drug (Zidovudine)
    • Three-drug regimen (Zidovudine, Nelfinavir, and Lamivudine) versus one drug (Zidovudine)

"This study shows combination drug regimens such as these can significantly cut the spread of HIV from mother to infant. This is particularly important when antiretroviral treatment during pregnancy isn't possible," noted Margaret Camarca, the Westat project director of the study. "We are extremely proud to have played a role in this landmark research study."

Results were presented at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held February 27-March 2, 2011, in Boston. A fuller analysis, with more detailed results, will be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal within the next several months.

For more information: Contact Westat


Innovative Research Collaboration Database Recognized by NCI

The Grid-Enabled Measures (GEM) team received recognition for its work at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director's Awards Ceremony (external site) [*] last fall. The team is a partnership of Westat and NCI researchers. GEM is a database for researchers to collaborate and share behavioral constructs, measures, and data.

Members of the team from Westat include Marsha Dunn, David Garner, Cynthia Helba, and Kerry Levin. Team members from NCI include Erik M. Auguston, Cathy L. Backinger, Paul K. Courtney, Bradford Hesse, Glen D. Morgan, Richard Moser, Abdul R. Irfan Shaikh, and Gordon Willis.

Each year at this awards ceremony the NCI Director recognizes the outstanding contributions of colleagues that aid in the continued advancement of the progress in cancer detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and survivorship.

For more information: Contact Westat


Seminar Series on Contemporary Social Issues Announced for 2011

Medical errors and patient safety. Gays in the military. Teen driving. Educating students with disabilities. These are the issues the Contemporary Social Issues series will review the state of in its spring 2011 seminars.

The 2011 Contemporary Social Issues Seminar Series presents the opportunity for social scientists and researchers at the forefront of their study areas to present fact-driven, research-based findings on topics affecting the public.

Practitioners in the field bring the findings to life, with examples from real-world local settings. The seminars are sponsored by the Rockville Institute and the Universities at Shady Grove.

Each seminar, which is free and open to the public, is held in the Camille Kendall Academic Center (external site) [*], Building III, Room 3241, 9636 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850.

Seminar dates, topics, and speakers include the following:

Monday, March 14, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
Medical Errors and Patient Safety
Medication errors, surgical complications, infections, and patient falls continue to endanger lives and undermine the quality of health care. Learn about initiatives led by Federal agencies and innovative health care organizations to track and reduce medical errors, improve patient safety, and ensure quality of care.
Russ Mardon, Ph.D., Westat
Joann Sorra, Ph.D., Westat
David C. Stockwell, M.D., M.B.A. Executive Director, Improvement Science; Medical Director, Patient Safety and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children's National Medical Center
Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Comprehensive Review of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) Policy
Under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), Westat administered a comprehensive review of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy prior to its repeal. The review obtained the views of nearly half a million military personnel. Hear the results of the review, the challenges in studying a highly political topic, and the role that the findings had in informing DOD.
Shelley Perry, Ph.D., Westat
Susan Berkowitz, Ph.D., Westat
Sunil Dasgupta, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Monday, April 11, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
Teen Driving Safety Issues
To combat the high crash risk of teen drivers, most states have implemented Graduated Drivers License (GDL) programs to place limits on the conditions in which novice teen drivers are permitted to operate vehicles. Presenters will discuss the underlying factors associated with teen driving behavior and the effectiveness of GDL-related countermeasure programs.
Mark Freedman, Westat
Neil Lerner, Westat
Captain Tom Didone, Director, Traffic Division, Montgomery County Police Department
Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Educating Students with Disabilities
Learn how children with disabilities have received special education since 1975, where they are receiving services, the services they receive, their outcomes, and new instructional approaches in use today to ensure that all students with disabilities are receiving a free appropriate public education.
Marsha Brauen, Ph.D., Westat
Elaine Carlson, Ph.D., Westat


Patricia Espey-English Joins Westat as VP for Planning and Finance

Westat is pleased to announce that Patricia Espey-English has joined the company as Vice President for Planning and Finance. She, Peter Gill, and Bruce Romer will comprise the leaders of Westat's accounting, contracts, administration, planning, finance, and marketing coordination functions, and each of them reports directly to the President.

Ms. Espey-English has more than 20 years of management-level experience in business and financial planning for AT&T Government Solutions and its successor, Lucent Technologies. Most recently she was with the Emerging Markets Group, a professional services and development assistance contractor to the U.S. Government.

We look forward to working with Ms. Espey-English as she joins our organization.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Participates in Clinical Operations Conference, Highlights Research in Costa Rica

Westat was a corporate sponsor of the Cambridge Healthtech Institute's Second Annual Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE), which took place in Miami, Florida, from February 7-9, 2011.

The conference offered opportunities for business development and promoted interaction with industry leaders, clinical operation directors, regulatory authorities, and investigators. Westat staff participated and highlighted the opportunities of conducting clinical research in Costa Rica, where the company has one of its six international offices.

The clinical operations summit focused on five themes:

  • Global site selection, feasibility, assessment, operations, and site management
  • Electronic data in clinical trials
  • Drug development Latin America
  • Clinical trial forecasting, budgeting, and project management
  • Patient recruitment in clinical trials

Two Westat staff members participated at the summit:

  • Isabel Trejos, PharmD, MSc, a Westat project manager/Latin American Business Development specialist
  • Yolanda Bertucci, MD, MPH/MCH, a Westat project manager

Dr. Trejos's presented Planning and Conducting Clinical Trials in Costa Rica. Her presentation:

  • Provided a general overview of the Costa Rican research environment,
  • Outlined specific examples of local challenges to international clinical research, and
  • Discussed strategies for overcoming these challenges.


Smoking Cessation Campaign Increases Attempts to Quit

A national, branded, mass media smoking cessation campaign can change smokers' attitudes about quitting and increase their attempts to quit. Those who were aware of the campaign, Become an EX: Re-learn Life Without Cigarettes, were 24 percent more likely to quit than did those who were not exposed to the campaign.

Westat surveyed more than 4,000 adult smokers in 8 market areas and again approximately 6 months later. Using the data collected by Westat, the American Legacy Foundation (ALF) examined the relationship between respondents being aware of the campaign and whether that fact affected respondents' smoking behavior. Westat was also responsible for sampling and weighting.

The full study report appears in the February 2011 issue of the American Journal of Public Health (Am J Public Health 2011 101: 302-309). The conclusions of the report strongly recommend that Federal and state governments provide funding for media campaigns to increase smoking cessation, particularly for campaigns that have been shown to impact quit attempts and abstinence.

For more information: Contact Westat


User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation Now Available

The 2010 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation (document in PDF format) is now available. This handbook is a revision of the National Science Foundation 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation (NSF 02-057). It provides project directors and principal investigators working with NSF with a basic guide for evaluating NSF's educational projects.

People who need to learn more about both the value of evaluation and how to design and carry out an evaluation will find this handbook invaluable. It builds on firmly established principles, blending technical knowledge and common sense to meet the special needs of NSF and its stakeholders.

Joy Frechtling, Ph.D., a Vice President, in Westat's Education Studies Group who directed the work and revised the previous version, noted, "We are pleased to be able to release this updated version. The 2010 Handbook provides all the basic information of its predecessors, along with some special chapters by Dr. Debra Rog and Mel Mark." The 2010 Handbook was produced under contract to Westat from the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

For more information: Contact Westat


AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange Web Site Redesigned for Enhanced Use

Westat and our technology subcontractor Silverchair have relaunched the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Care Innovations Exchange (external site) [*] web site. The web site offers busy health professionals and researchers a variety of opportunities to share, learn about, and ultimately adopt evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and populations.

The redesign includes streamlined navigation, enhanced browsing and filtering, and multimedia and social media elements to make it easier for busy professionals to find and share innovative health care solutions and tools.

A priority of the redesign was improving the global navigation to provide direct and easy access to the main content areas on the site. "Health care professionals, researchers, administrators, and policymakers who visit the Health Care Innovations Exchange web site will have immediate access to a variety of cutting-edge content, including innovations and tools, how-to-innovate articles, implementation guides, learning networks, and events and podcasts," said Veronica Nieva, Ph.D., a Westat Vice President, Project Director, and the Editor-in-Chief of the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange.

Another significant improvement is the enhanced browse-by-subject feature. Users can browse on one or more subjects on the homepage and then narrow the subject down to reach specific topic-level innovations and/or tools. "In testing redesign alternatives, our online user groups clearly liked the option of filtering browse results by topic similar to the way users of e-commerce sites such as do," added Nieva.

"Users of the Innovations Exchange will notice significant improvements in the ease of browsing to find specific information," noted Silverchair's Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Willingham. "By updating the taxonomy used to classify innovations and tools on the site and then making it available as a navigation tool, we've provided a highly effective way to locate the most useful and meaningful content for the individual health care professional."

"Since its launch in 2008, AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange web site has offered health care professionals, researchers, and policymakers hundreds of adoption-ready innovations and practical tools, including implementation guides, and hosted numerous Web events," said Jean R. Slutsky, director of AHRQ's Center for Outcomes and Evidence. "The relaunched site increases AHRQ's ability to build on what we already provide and enhances the overall user experience."

The redesigned site also features new multimedia elements, including videos, social media applications, and rotating photos on issue topics.

AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange features links to other AHRQ-sponsored initiatives, including the Community Care Coordination Learning Network and Linking Clinical Practices and Community for Prevention.

The redesigned web site is the culmination of a year-long collaborative planning and review process involving Westat, Silverchair, and AHRQ. Westat's usability experts conducted several structured feedback sessions to solicit the input of site users and potential users, and incorporated several of their recommendations into the redesign.

For more information:


Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., Honored for Her Work in Child Welfare Research

Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., a Westat Vice President and an Associate Director, has been selected as the winner of the 2011 A. Clayton Hughes Child Welfare Research Award. This Pro Humanitate Award, which is given by the Center for Child Welfare Policy of the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare (NARCCW) (external site) [*], is North America's premier award for the field of child welfare.

The A. Clayton Hughes Child Welfare Research Award is given to a child welfare researcher whose body of work exemplifies intellectual integrity and moral courage in transcending social and political barriers to promote best practice in child welfare. Dr. Sedlak's extensive body of research has shown creativity of design, statistical integrity, and has consistently underpinned further research as well as forming the foundation for improving child welfare policy and practice over several decades.

Dr. Sedlak has been the project director and senior analyst on a number of major Federal contracts in the areas of child abuse, adoption, juvenile delinquency, missing children, runaways, and domestic violence. These contracts include the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, National Survey of Youth in Custody, and National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children.

"I am deeply honored by this important recognition. Anything I've achieved in my research also reflects the hard work, dedication, and encouragement of many others, at Westat, at our client agencies, and in the broad field of child and family researchers," noted Dr. Sedlak. "This community has shared and supported a commitment to excellence, always realizing that the results ultimately matter for what they say about people — children and families — and that the findings can guide policies and practices that change lives."

The award is given at the discretion of the NARCCW Board of Directors, not necessarily annually. Dr. Sedlak will receive the Pro Humanitate Medal and a cash prize. The names of all the Pro Humanitate Award winners will be published in the major child welfare publications and posted on NARCCW's web site.

Dr. Sedlak will receive the award at the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children's 19th Annual Colloquium, which will be held July 13-16, 2011, in Philadelphia.

For more information: Contact Westat


Westat Employees' Generosity Requires Marines to Call for Reinforcements to Collect Toys for Tots

More children in Montgomery County and Frederick County, Maryland, received presents over the recent holiday thanks to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and the generosity of Westat employees.

Employees really got into the spirit this year and surpassed Westat's goal by filling 26 boxes with toys and donating about $200. In 2009, Westat had one of the highest toy donations for the county. In 2010, Westat had the largest donation by far. "This is yet another example of Westat and its employees giving back to the community to support those in need," commented Bruce Romer, a Westat Vice President and Director of Administration.

In 2010, nearly 30,000 families requested toys between the two counties, a need that was much greater than in 2009 for donations. For 4 weeks, 20 boxes were set up across Westat's Rockville and Gaithersburg campuses. The company's campaign goal was to fill 15 boxes, up from 2009's 10 boxes. Originally, the campaign started with a modest 15 boxes, but other research areas throughout the company heard about the campaign and contacted the Employee Service Center to get a box for their areas.

On December 17, the Marines arrived with a pickup truck that could only carry six boxes of toys. Once the Marines realized the amount of toys Westat had collected, they had to call for a moving truck to load the rest of the toys. The entire truck was full of toys, and Westat had to provide moving boxes to store the rest of them.

Initially, there was a huge shortage of toy donations for the two counties this year, and the Marines were not sure where they would get the rest of the toys for the children who signed up. They were truly impressed at the volume of donations from the company and said they'll never forget Westat. "When you think Westat, think big hearts, big donations, and a big truck," said Melissa Mills of the company's Human Resource Services Department.

The Marines said next year they'll bring in more reinforcements.

For more information: Contact Westat

* Related Internet link - Westat is NOT responsible for the privacy practices or the content on other web sites. (See Westat's Privacy Policy.)