COPSS-NISS COVID-19 Data Science Webinar Series

Thursday, May 13, 2021 12-1pm ET (9-10am PT)

[Please Note: This session has already occurred.  Go to the News Story for this event to read about what happened.] 

Communication of Statistical and Epidemiologic Concepts to Broad Audiences

About this Webinar Series

The COPSS-NISS COVID-19 Data Science webinar series is co-organized by the Committee of the Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) and its five charter member societies (ASAENARIMSSSC, and WNAR), as well as NISS.  This bi-weekly seminar features the latest research that is positioned on the cusp of new understanding and analysis of COVID-19 pandemic data, and promotes data-driven research and decision making to combat COVID-19. Find out more about this series and view all the previous sessions on the Webinar Series page.


The past year has seen a huge increase in the communication of statistical, medical, and public health concepts, methods, and results to broad audiences.  The general public has been exposed to the ideas of reproduction numbers, exponential growth, randomized trials, and the challenges of program evaluation in ways that had rarely been seen at such a large scale.  This webinar will provide a discussion between two experts in scientific communication--Jenn Dowd, co-founder of Dear Pandemic and Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, and Ed Yong, staff writer at The Atlantic.  For his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ed has won the George Polk Award for science reporting; the Victor Cohn Prize for medical science reporting, the Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for investigative journalism; the John P. McGovern Award from the American Medical Writers’ Association; and the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for in-depth reporting.  Jenn Dowd has training in Demography, Economics, and Epidemiology, earning a PhD from Princeton University and a postdoctoral fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Michigan. Jenn’s academic work focuses on statistical analysis of large datasets to better understand population health and mortality, including research on the demography and mortality impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  She also serves as a founding member and Chief Scientific Officer of the social media campaign Dear Pandemic (aka, Those Nerdy Girls). They will discuss what they have learned during the course of the pandemic about communicating statistical/epidemiological concepts to broad audiences, what challenges remain, and how might we best address them.


Jennifer Dowd, (Associate Professor of Demography and Population Health, University of Oxford; Founding member, Dear Pandemic)

Ed Yong, (Staff Writer, the Atlantic)

Moderator/Session Co-Organizer

Elizabeth Stuart, (Johns Hopkins University) 

Session Co-Organizer

Natalie Dean, (University of Florida)

Register for this Event Here!

Organizing Committee

Xihong Lin (Chair) (IMS), Harvard University 
Karen Bandeen-Roche (NISS), Johns Hopkins University 
Chris Barker (ASA), Statistical Planning and Analysis Services, Inc
Gary Chan (WNAR), University of Washington 
Rob Deardon (SSC), University of Calgary 
Natalie Dean (COPSS), University of Florida
Debashree Ray (COPSS), Johns Hopkins University
Jie Peng (WNAR), University of California at Davis 
Nathaniel Stevens (SSC), University of Waterloo 
Elizabeth Stuart (ENAR), Johns Hopkins University 
Ryan Tibshirani (IMS), Carnegie Mellon University  
Lily Wang (ASA), Iowa State University 
Lingzhou Xue (NISS), Pennsylvania State University
Lili Zhao (ENAR), University of Michigan 
Glenn Johnson (Web Communications), NISS

Event Type


National Institute of Statistical Sciences


American Statistical Association
Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS)
Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society
Institute for Mathematical Statistics
National Institute of Statistical Sciences
Statistical Society of Canada
Western North American Region of The International Biometric Society


Registration is free.


Online Webinar
Moderator: Elizabeth Stuart (Johns Hopkins) Co-Organizer: Natalie Dean (University of Florida). Speakers: Jennifer Dowd (Oxford University) and Ed Yong (the Atlantic)