Ingram Olkin Forums - Updates

Ingram Olkin (July 23, 1924 – April 28, 2016)

Ingram Olkin Forums (IOFs) were  established in 2018 to honor the memory of Ingram Olkin (July 23, 1924 – April 28, 2016), recognizing that Ingram had a passion for both the field of statistics and its impact and believing

Statistics are beautiful – both theory and applications;
Statistics are powerful; they can be used for good;
Statistics make unique, center-stage contributions in service to society and making such contributions more widely recognized will invigorate the statistics field;
Cross-disciplinary research is a fuel that can thrust Statistical Science forward.

IOFs, with the tag “Statistics Serving Society”, focus on current societal issues that might benefit from new or renewed attention from the statistical community. 

Major goals for the IOFs are promoting participant interaction, the development of new research agendas and the building of follow-on working teams. The inaugural IOF workshop was in June 2019 on the Statistics of Gun Violence was an exciting demonstration that the Forum model could advance these goals.  A paper emanating from this workshop is now in press.

The Committee anticipated conducting one in-person forum per year.  Then came COVID.  The second planned IOF was to be on the Opioid Crises. But it was postponed, thinking all would be well soon. In the meantime, we took up the challenge of having IOFs online.  IOFs were not intended to be another webinar series.  Could we really – online - get researchers and practitioners who were strangers from different fields to define new research topics and coalesce into working groups around then?  IOFs on Police Use of Force, Unplanned Clinical Trial Disruptions, Algorithmic Fairness and Social Justice, Covid and the Schools: Modeling Openings, Closings and Learning Loss are operational with multiple manuscripts from different groups in preparation.

Having established proof of concept, ongoing NISS will accept IOF proposals kicking off with online, in-person, and hybrid Forum formats.  Watch for details in the January 2022 newsletter. 

Ingram Olkin Forums 2019-2021

Gun Violence - The Statistical Issues (June 26-27, 2019)
COVID and the Schools: Modeling Openings, Closings, and Learning Loss (December 16, 2020)
Unplanned Clinical Trial Disruptions: 
NIH Perspectives  (July 21, 2020)
CDC, FDA and EMA Perspectives (July 28, 2020)
Estimands and Missing Data (September 1, 2020)
Randomization Tests (September 15, 2020)
Coping with Information Loss and the Use of Auxiliary Sources of Data (March 23, 2021)
Bayesian and frequentist approaches to rescuing disrupted trials (April 27, 2021)
Algorithmic Fairness and Social Justice (September 25, 2020)
Police Use of Force (June 4, 2021)
The Opioid Crisis  (Postponed) 

Fulfilling the Vision of The 1988 Cross-Disciplinary Report (Ingram Olkin and Jerome Sacks, co-chairs) that called for the establishment of an Institute of Statistical Sciences to

a)  Identify important societal problems;
b)  Form research teams to attack these problems;
c)  Establish post-doctoral and sabbatical programs and fellowships;
d)  Organize workshops for science reporters, congressional staff, and other public groups; and
e)  Stimulate curricular improvement – in particular it should concern itself with statistics education issues that are important to the future of statistical science and its applications.

2021 NISS Committee on Ingram Olkin Forms

David L. Banks
Betsy Becker
Michael Brundage
Nancy Flournoy (Chair)
Claire Kelling
Jim Rosenberger
Jerry Sacks
Christopher Schmid
Lingzhou Xue
Megan Glenn (Sec.)

If you are interested in serving on the IOF oversight and proposal review committee, contact NISS Director Jim Rosenberger at and/or Nancy Committee Chair Flournoy at

Sunday, November 14, 2021 by Glenn Johnson