The following blog entry is from John Olaomi, Associate Professor from the University of South Africa. He recently attended the Data-Driven Decisions in Healthcare Opening Workshop.
In my quest for knowledge and international exposures into the current trend in statistics and its applications, I first got in contact with SAMSI in 2007, responding to the 2008-2009 Postdoc position request, thanks to Google Search. I was invited to participate in 2008-2009 Workshop on Sequential Monte Carlo Methods but could not, due to last minute funding challenges. Since then, I have always been notified about all SAMSI programs.
The Data-Driven Decisions in Healthcare (DDDHC) opening workshop was another opportunity to participate in SAMSI programs, which I eventually succeeded with, thanks to the funding from my institution, the University of South Africa. From the organization to the execution and the forming of working groups, the workshop was a real success. The tutorials and the technical sessions were informative, practical and posed many relevant research challenges which is really worth coming for. Meeting erudite scholars and colleagues (both academic and professional) that can contribute to one’s academic prowess is priceless.
Technically, the expositions on Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)- Observational Studies, Patient Flow, Personalized Healthcare and Healthcare Databases really opened my eyes to many applications and the need for statisticians to be at the forefront to achieving the healthcare goals. Although the presentations were good, my expectations were that a lot of methodological issues (with Statistical and Operations Research perspectives) will be raised and tackled. This was lacking, as virtually all presentations were like 80 percent healthcare issues and 20 percent (statistical or operations research) methodology, which I think should be vise-versa. This is necessary to avoid errors of the third kind: the error committed by giving the right answer to the wrong problem (Kimball, 1957).
In all, I think my trip really worth it. Thanks to SAMSI for the opportunity and the good facilitation.
Olaomi, John. O. (PhD)
Department of Statistics,
University of South Africa (UNISA)
P. O. Box 392 UNISA 0003
Pretoria, South Africa