March 14-17, 2021


Brent Coull
ENAR 2021 President

I am excited to welcome you to the ENAR 2021 Spring Meeting, scheduled to be held in Baltimore! I would like to extend a special welcome to our first-time attendees and look forward to your return for future meetings and your future involvement in ENAR!

We are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty due to the COVID-19 epidemic. While none of us know what professional life will look like in Spring 2021, we have been actively planning for an in-person meeting in Baltimore. We recognize these plans depend on the trajectory of the pandemic and developments in public health protections against the virus in the coming months. Our highest priority is to keep all meeting attendees safe and healthy. Therefore, the Program Committee and ENAR office will monitor these developments closely in the coming months and rely on the most up-to-date science and public health guidance to make a final determination on the format of the meeting. Even in light of this uncertainty, the program and educational committees have developed engaging educational and invited scientific programs for meeting attendees, and I look forward to a great meeting no matter the format. 

The four-day meeting, March 14-17, 2021, will host biostatistics students, researchers, and practitioners, from academia, government, and industry. The meeting will expose attendees to the latest developments in statistical methods, software, and applications through the scientific and educational programs. The meeting also provides wonderful opportunities for professional networking and collaboration, learning new career development strategies, opening up new employment opportunities through the meeting’s career placement services, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues. Our exhibitors and vendors will display the latest textbooks and will demonstrate new software.

ENAR is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, professionalism and civil discourse, which cultivates an environment where ideas are exchanged openly and freely with mutual respect and trust. ENAR has adopted a Meeting Conduct Policy intended to guide all attendees at ENAR’s annual Spring Meeting and attendees will be required to assent to the policy as part of registration.

Further, ENAR unequivocally affirms its goal to help fight systemic racism in the United States and in our field, and to actively work to implement anti-racist practices among statisticians and promote diversity and equity across the scope of ENAR’s activities and policies. In addition to our long-running successful workshop on diversity and inclusion, again offered at this year’s meeting, ENAR is committed to bring to the forefront the role of biostatistics in health disparities, fairness, and equity research, and we recognize we can help accomplish these goals through our educational and scientific sessions at our Spring meeting. You will see these values reflected in this year’s program.

I am continually in awe of the effort, time and dedication of so many putting together the program for the ENAR Spring Meeting. I offer my genuine thanks to all the volunteers for helping make the ENAR Spring Meeting a success!

Scientific Program 
Through the leadership of the Program Chair Howard Chang (Emory University) and Associate Chair Yize Zhao (Yale University), and contributions from many of you, the Program Committee (consisting of 13 ASA section representatives and 3 at-large ENAR members) has assembled a diverse and exciting invited program. The sessions cover a wide range of topics, including statistics in equity research, statistical methods in COVID research, innovative clinical trial design, electronic health records data, algorithmic fairness in machine learning, artificial intelligence in medicine, large scale ‘omics data, medical imaging, the analysis of Bio-bank data, competing risks data, single-cell genomics, wearable/mobile technology, causal inference, methods for microbiome data, opioid policy evaluation, and recent biostatistical advances in aging and gerontology research. The IMS Program Chair Pei Wang (Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai) has put together complementary sessions on statistical strategies for combating COVID-19,  statistical and computational tools for large scale ‘omics data, single cell genomics, the analysis of expression quantitative trait loci, microbiome data analysis, tensor methods in biomedical data analysis, imaging data, and random matrix theory for high-dimensional statistics.

Poster sessions will continue to be a vital component of the ENAR Spring Meeting program. In addition to contributed and invited posters, the 2021 ENAR Spring Meeting will contain contributed SPEED poster sessions, in which presenters give a two-minute elevator speech on the highlights of their posters. As in previous years, these speed sessions will utilize digital poster boards, giving presenters the opportunity for more interactive posters. Monday, March 15th will feature the thematically grouped contributed speed poster sessions. These will feature two invited posters from well-known researchers and will run parallel with the rest of the sessions in the scientific program. Following long-standing tradition, the regular contributed posters will be featured during the Opening Mixer on Sunday evening. This year, poster presenters will be assigned one-hour slots to be available at their poster, giving everyone a chance to view the amazing research on display. Posters in this session will be eligible to win an award as part of the popular ENAR Regional Advisory Board’s poster competition!

Educational Program
Our educational program provides many opportunities to learn new statistical methods and application areas, develop new computational skills, and to discuss effective approaches to develop research programs, career development strategies, and leadership skills with leading experts in our field. The Educational Advisory Committee has assembled a diverse and cutting-edge set of short courses, tutorials and roundtables covering a wide range of topics from renowned instructors. We are grateful to all the short course and tutorial instructors and roundtable leaders willing to share their expertise with attendees.

Short course topics include the analysis of single-cell RNA seq data, targeted learning and causal inference, Bayesian adaptive methodologies for master protocols, strategies for using race and measuring racial disparities, analyses of data generated by wearables and other smartphone data, statistical considerations for Phase II basket trial designs, and generating real world evidence from real world data. Tutorial topics include algorithmic fairness in practice, Bayesian biopharmaceutical applications using PROC MCMC and PROC BGLIMM in SAS, how to measure vaccine effectiveness, application of Gaussian graphical models, integration of genetics and imaging data, and reproducible methods in R. Roundtable luncheons provide a more focused discussion with distinguished statisticians from academia, government and industry. Topics range from reviewing and writing grants, working in a medical center, data science and COVID, causal inference, promoting graduate student mental health, mentoring, and scientific leadership. Be sure to take a look and sign up for something interesting!

I would like to extend a special thanks to the members of the Educational Advisory Committee – Babette Brumback (University of Florida), Andrea Cook (Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute), David Fardo (University of Kentucky), Mithat Gönen (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Research Center), and Therri Usher (Food and Drug Administration) for their excellent guidance during the development of an outstanding educational program.

Keynote Lecture
I am thrilled to announce that the ENAR 2021 Presidential Invited Address will be given by Dr. F. DuBois Bowman, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Michigan. Dr. Bowman is a biostatistician, who has made central scientific contributions to the understanding and treatment of multiple neurological diseases. Methodologically, he has developed and applied spatio-temporal and other high-dimensional methods for brain imaging data. He has been a leader in the biostatistical community, neuroscience, data science, and diversity and inclusion efforts in STEM throughout his career.  

To learn more about Dr. Bowman and his Invited Address, please see the Presidential Invited Address.

Additional Meeting Activities
The ENAR 2021 Spring Meeting will feature several other activities in addition to the scientific and educational programs. On Sunday, March 14th, there will be the Fostering Diversity in Biostatistics Workshop, organized by Felicia R. Simpson (Winston-Salem State University) and Loni Philip Tabb, (Drexel University). Through panel discussions, biostatistics graduate students and professionals in academia, government, and industry will share their experiences and discuss topics such as mentoring, recruiting, and retaining students in related graduate programs. This workshop has been very popular and impactful, and registration typically fills up quickly. Please be sure to register early if you are interested in attending!

Students, recent graduates, and other young professionals should plan to attend the Networking Mixer on Monday evening and the Tuesday luncheon event organized by the Council for Emerging and New Statisticians (CENS). These are great opportunities for our “younger” members to meet new people, learn about CENS and become more engaged with ENAR. Attendees seeking employment and prospective employers have the opportunity to connect via the Career Placement Center.

Tuesday evening will feature our ENAR Sponsor and Exhibitor Mixer. You will be able to browse the latest books and software while joining the sponsors and exhibitors for the reception in the exhibition area after the last Tuesday session. It will be a great opportunity to catch up with friends, collaborators, and colleagues.

We hope to see at the 2021 ENAR Spring Meeting!

Brent Coull, ENAR 2021 President