2019 Annual Conference Call for Proposals

2019 APDU Annual Conference

July 9-10, 2019

Arlington, VA

“Wide World of Data”

Breadth of public data

Diverse uses of government data

Strengthening & supporting the public data system

The 2019 APDU Annual Conference is welcoming APDU members and friends to join with our theme of “Wide World of Data” by submitting a proposals for presentations or panels related to public data. The conference, to be held in Arlington, VA on July 9-10, 2019, brings together data users and data producers for conversations and presentations on a wide variety of data and statistical topics, including but not limited to:

  • Data collection, production, and delivery
  • Emerging data issues
  • New data sources and tools
  • Relevant data dissemination technologies
  • Statistical policy

We are inviting proposals on any topic relating to public data, whether based on a particular project, data practice, or formal paper.  In keeping with the theme of the conference, our interest is in highlighting the breadth of public data to both producers and consumers of public data.  We are interested in presentations focused on the past, present, and future of public data such as:

  • Past uses of public data
  • Present/new uses of public data
  • Future of public data – what would consumers of data like to be able to do that they currently cannot do
  • Current availability of public data (health, education, the economy, energy, the environment, climate, and other areas)
  • New developments in public data
    • Newly available data
    • Significant changes/improvements to data
    • New data tools for dissemination, analytics, data visualization, clean-up of data, and user feedback
  • Public data as an input to other public data
  • Administrative data
  • Data privacy – differential privacy vs data suppression
  • Reorganization proposal to combine Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Reorganization proposals for Economic Research Service and Bureau of Transportation Statistics

You may submit ideas for a single presentation or a full panel (three presenters, plus a moderator). However, it is possible that we will accept portions of panel submissions to combine with other presenters. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of work, relevance to APDU Conference attendees, uniqueness of topic and presenter, and thematic fit.

Proposals  will need to be submitted by members of APDU, and all presenters in a panel must register for the conference (full conference registration comes with a free APDU membership).

You must be a member of APDU to submit a proposal, whether a single presentation or a panel. For panel submissions, not all panelists need to be members at the time of submission.  All accepted presenters must register for the conference. Current members will be assessed the discounted membership rate. For presenters who are not currently members, full conference registration will come with a free APDU membership.

We will be accepting proposals until January 28, 2019. Proposers will be notified of our decision by February 28, 2019. Contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net if you have any questions.   

We look forward to hearing from you!

Create your own user feedback survey

APDU Election Results

APDU is pleased to announce the results of the elections for our Board of Directors. Our new Officers and At-Large Directors include:

President: Kevin McAvey, Senior Manager, Manatt Health

Vice President: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government Affairs, Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers

At-Large Director: Susan Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

At-Large Director: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau

Join us in giving a warm welcome to our new members. Congratulations!

2018 APDU Candidate Statements

Candidate for President: Kevin McAvey, Senior Manager, Manatt Health

Bio:

Kevin advises states, healthcare providers, and payers on how to leverage public and private data to inform their most pressing policy and program goals.  Kevin relies upon public datasets – including data from Census, CMS, BLS, and BEA – on a daily basis, using it to build and implement models that predict the impact healthcare reform initiatives may have on coverage, payment, utilization, and costs.  Kevin has an M.S. in Applied Economics from Cornell University, an M.P.P from Georgetown University, and a B.A. from Colgate University.

Goals:

As APDU’s President, I will pursue three overarching goals:

1) Strengthen APDU’s brand as a national network that links users, producers, and disseminators of government statistic data;

2) Enhance APDU’s membership value by piloting new programs to connect and support member organizations; and

3) Increase APDU’s membership across the public and private sectors, bringing new voices to APDU.

Candidate for Vice President: Mary Jo Hoeksema, Director of Government Affairs, Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers

Bio:

Since January 2004, Mary Jo Hoeksema has been the Director of Government Affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers.  In addition to representing PAA and APC, Ms. Hoeksema has co-directed The Census Project since 2008.  Prior to her position with PAA/APC, Ms. Hoeksema worked at the National Institutes of Health for approximately 10 years, as the Legislative Officer at the National Institute on Aging and as the Special Assistant to the Director of the NIH Office of Policy of Extramural Research Administration.  Ms. Hoeksema served as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.  Ms. Hoeksema has a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Susan Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

Bio:

Susan Copella is the Director of the Pennsylvania State Data Center (PaSDC), Institute of State and Regional Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. She has worked at the PaSDC for over 27 years in various roles.  The last 17 years as Director.

The PaSDC was created by Executive Order in 1981 to be the official source of population and economic statistics for the commonwealth.  As such, she provides data and products and services to all sectors of the community including businesses, academia, governments, non-profits or citizens.  These services include data collection, data management, data analysis, visualization, research design, training and technology.

Susan is the Pennsylvania liaison to the Census Bureau for the State Data Center (SDC) and Business and Information Data Center (BIDC) programs as well as the Federal Cooperative on Population Estimates (FSCPE) and Projections (FSCPP) programs.  She is also a member of The Association of Public Data Users (APDU), ACS User Group and various state committees.

Some of the tasks she has accomplished in relationship with the Census Bureau include:

  • Beta tester for various data tools
  • Developed PUMA areas for Pennsylvania for both 2000 and 2010
  • Participated in Count Review for both 2000 and 2010 for Pennsylvania
  • Early participant for Count Review for 2020 for Pennsylvania
  • Currently serving on the APDU board.
  • Served on the Steering committees for the SDC, FSCPE and FSCPP
  • Continue to serve on subcommittees for both the SDC and the FSCPE
  • Review various Population Estimate files prior to release
  • Provide Census Bureau with input data used in development of the Population Estimates
  • Responsible for the developed of the Hands-on Census Training workshop. The workshop teaches students about census basics, geography, American Factfinder and other Census tools

Susan has extensive experience working with data.  She has over 35 years of experience in managing various data solution projects.  She manages projects from conception, execution and completion. This includes developing potential sponsor relationships, project leads, funding proposals and budgets.  Once projects are approved, she is involved in all project activities as well as being responsible for budget management and ensuring timely tasks completion within budget.

Prior to coming to the PaSDC, Sue worked as a Planner for both a County Planning and Regional Planning office in Pennsylvania.  During her time at those agencies she worked closely with local communities.

Goals:

  • To identify ways to increase membership in APDU. APDU is a great organization but I feel that we need to reach out to other public data users to have them join the group.
  • To use my background to help mentor new members.

Candidate for At-Large Director: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau

Bio:

Beth is a Senior Research Associate at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). At PRB, Beth works on a wide range of U.S. demographic topics, with a focus on subnational analysis and data visualization. Prior to joining PRB, she served as Senior Demographer at the San Diego Association of Governments and later taught sociology at Pensacola State College. Her publications are cross-disciplinary and span topics from inequality to mortality, as well as forecast and estimation methods—all have relied heavily on public data. She has been the social media content curator for the Southern Demographic Association for more than three years (growing the audience from 18 followers to more than 800). She is also active in the American Community Survey Data Users Group online community. Beth completed her master’s degree in Demographic and Social Analysis at the University of California, Irvine.

Goals:

I believe one of the challenges facing any member organization, including APDU, is engaging with members (and attracting new members) in an era of instantaneous communication. In addition to maintaining the valuable annual conference, I would work with the APDU Board and management group to brainstorm, test, and implement new communication channels and strategies to add value for existing members and (hopefully) attract new members.

Call for Volunteers: APDU Conference Committee

Want to have a hand in shaping the direction of the 2019 APDU Annual Conference? APDU is looking for volunteers to help the Conference Committee put on a great conference. You can help to select topics from our Call for Proposals, help manage selected sessions, and/or contribute to the evaluation and management of the Data Viz Awards. The Annual Conference will be held on July 9-10, 2019 in Arlington, VA.

If you are interested in assisting the Conference Committee, please contact Brendan Buff at bbuff@crec.net for more details.

USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators

Download: Presentation (PDF)

USDA Research Relocation and Reorganization: Perspectives from Former USDA Chief Scientists and Administrators
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in August caught Congress and USDA stakeholders by surprise with a proposal to relocate the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the Washington, DC area and to move ERS from the USDA research arm to a policy arm.

The proposal has raised many questions: Will there be a chance for the USDA partner community to comment? Was the partner and stakeholder community previously consulted? Why the speed of action? What is Congress’s role? What is the problem being addressed? Many concerns have also been raised: Will NIFA and ERS relevance and reach be impacted by being moved away from key audiences and policymakers? Will ERS’s standing as a world premier economics research institution be retained with the expected staff attrition for those not willing to move their families? What will be the impact of ERS’s perception as an independent, trusted source of information and analysis be impacted by its move to a USDA policy office?

The panelists will address the many questions and concerns raised about the USDA proposal; address viewer questions; and suggest actions for Congress, USDA, and viewers.

Panelists
Stephen Censky
Cathie Woteki
Gale Buchanan
Susan Offutt
Scott Swinton

John Abowd of the Census Bureau Calls for Response to Federal Register Notice

By John Abowd, Associate Director for Research and Methodology at the US Census Bureau. 

The blog referenced below was just released on www.census.gov. It explains how our new disclosure avoidance methods protect confidentiality and fitness-for-use. More importantly, it calls attention to the Federal Register Notice posted here (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/07/19/2018-15458/soliciting-feedback-from-users-on-2020-census-data-products) soliciting user feedback on the 2010 Census data products.

It is imperative that sophisticated data users respond to this FRN. As my new blog makes clear, we can control the fitness-for-use of the 2020 Census data products, but the Census Bureau cannot give every use case the same margin-of-error (just as we currently cannot give every statistic from the ACS the same MOE). The use case for the PL94-171 redistricting data is written into that statute. It is the only use case currently reflected in the design of the 2020 Census disclosure avoidance system. Other data users must  supply information that demonstrates how the categorical and geographic detail in historical summary and detailed data tables, national and state demographic profiles, and topical briefs translates into their own use cases.

Public Data Leaders Gather to Look Ahead:  Closing Thoughts on our 2018 APDU Conference

By: Kevin McAvey, Vice President, Association of Public Data Users

This year, in mid-July, public data collectors and users across the country gathered in Arlington, Virginia to discuss the future of public data and its promise to inform public and private sector decisions.  From Stanford University librarians to data-reliant private sector executives to commissioners of our nation’s top statistical agencies, all reaffirmed their unwavering belief in the value of public data and of the unique perspective APDU’s Annual Conference provides in understanding how our critical public data resources continue to evolve.

APDU President Cliff Cook set the tone of this year’s conference, challenging participants to not only look at what we have accomplished over the past year, but to take the opportunity to engage other APDU members in where we need to go from here.  The opening panel, which I had the privilege of moderating, only reinforced the point.  Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician of the United States, and Nick Hart, Director of the Evidence-based Policymaking Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, outlined for APDU participants how the federal data landscape is changing in important and beneficial ways.  They discussed the impact the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act has had on how federal policies are developed, and highlighted recent steps the federal government is taking to rationalize our federal data agency resources in the pursuit of a comprehensive federal “data strategy.”

Data strategies are methodical plans to connect data users to the data they need, when they need it.  They are foundational to enhancing and modernizing any data ecosystem, and have long been a staple of many data-reliant private sector industries (including my own, healthcare).  It was uplifting and encouraging to hear the breadth and depth of thought our federal data policy leaders are investing into our nation’s long-term public data plans – and the earnestness with which they want feedback.  Dr. Potok, in particular, encouraged all APDU members to submit use cases to their federal data strategy website, and to stay in-touch as an active and engaged constituency.

Per usual for so many of us, the 2018 APDU Conference rolled quickly – too quickly – on from there, engaging members around public data updates and cross-cutting public data challenges.  A small sampling of the topics included:

·        Shari Laster, Head of Open Stacks at Arizona State University, led a panel on how we should all think about preserving “born-digital” public data, in an era where our knowledge and records can (literally) be deleted with a click;

·        Kathy Pettit, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, moderated presentations and discussions around key indicator innovations around housing, consumer credit, and labor market reporting;

·        Mary Jo Hoeksema, the Director of Government and Public Affairs at the Population Association of America, tag-teamed APDU’s staple “Washington Briefing” with James Dyer of Baker Donelson, providing audience members an inside – and off-the-record – look at the “on the Hill” challenges facing our country’s federal statistical programs; and

·        Warren Brown, APDU’s President Emeritus and Research Faculty at Cornell University, rounded out our critical technical conversations, leading a panel discussing on best practices for linking administrative and survey data.

The APDU Conference’s second day was also treated to a lunchtime conversation with Erica Groshen, former BLS Secretary and current Cornell University Visiting Senior Scholar, John Thompson, Executive Director of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, and a (returning) Dr. Potok, where they discussed the federal government’s recent proposals to significantly reorganize several federal data agencies.

The 2018 APDU Conference was another successful event created by members for members, and left all with a better sense of the year behind us.  Even more importantly, however, the Conference primed us for the critical decisions and steps that lay ahead, as we collectively reshape our public data environment to meet our rapidly evolving data needs.

Thank you all for joining us, and I hope to see you all again in 2019.

Reorganizing Federal Data Agencies

Download:  Presentation PDF

This June the White House released a proposal that would shift the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the Department of Labor to the Department of Commerce, joining with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau under a single economics and statistics agency. Join us for a facilitated conversation with Dr. Ken Poole as he talks with Dr. Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician of the United States at the Office of Management and Budget and Dr. Erica Groshen, former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Attendees will learn more about the reorganization from Dr. Potok and Dr. Groshen, better understand the rationale for the proposal, and gain insights about key considerations that still need to be addressed. This is your chance to provide feedback about your concerns. You are strongly encouraged to bring questions, concerns, and ideas to the conversation.

Presenters:
Dr. Nancy A. Potok, Chief Statistician of the United States, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
Dr. Erica Groshen, Former Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Dr. Kenneth E. Poole, CEO, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness

Important Changes at the Economic Research Service

The Secretary of Agriculture announced on Thursday, August 9 that the Economic Research Service will undergo several significant changes in the coming year. USDA is moving ERS out of the Research, Education, and Economics area of the USDA to the Secretary’s Office of the Chief Economist.  The rationale is that this move will better align the missions of ERS and the Chief Economist.

In addition, most ERS and NIFA personnel will have to relocate outside of the Washington, DC metro area to an undetermined location. In fact, USDA also announced on August 9, its search for a site selection consultant to help with this process. Since the new locations have yet to be determined, it is possible that ERS and NIFA may be co-located when their new homes are found as expected by the end of 2019.

Finally, USDA recently announced that Mary Bohman, the Administrator of the Economic Research Service, will move to a new position the Office of the Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to serve as Associate Administrator (Economics), on September 2, 2018.

USDA Secretary Perdue provided the following reasons for these changes:

“1. To improve (their) ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from our land-grant universities. (They’ve) seen significant turnover in these positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, DC area, particularly given the high cost of living and long commutes.

2. To place these important USDA resources closer to many of (their) stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the DC area.

3. To benefit the American taxpayers. There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.”

These are controversial changes that have significant impacts on public statistics and signal intent by the Trump Administration to move forward on other changes to agencies, especially if they can be done through administrative action. Former USDA ERS Commission Katherine Smith Evans, now of the American Economic Association, recently wrote an editorial on proposed funding cuts for ERS – the agency faces significant threats to funding, staff, and mission.  APDU will keep you informed as further as this issue develops and will join with others to serve as your voice to address our shared concerns on these issues.

UPDATE 10/18: APDU President Calls for Members to Comment on Federal Data Policy

UPDATE 10/18: The Department of Commerce is requesting  Phase 2 comments on the Federal Data Strategy. The request for comments, Request for Comments on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset: Phase 2, is open until November 16, 2018. The 47 draft practices of the Federal Data Strategy for also have a request for comment due by Nov 16 .  The revised principles of the Federal Data Strategy is based on comments to the June request for comments.

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Calls for Comments from federal statistical agencies have long been part of the APDU Newsletter.  The summer  turned out to be a busy time both for the Census Bureau and for the interagency staff working on the Federal Data Strategy.  We want to point out to our readers pending requests for comments from these two groups of particular importance:

  • Request for Comments on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset:
    Comments are requested on the proposed high level pillars and principles for the Federal Data Strategy. Comments on this notice must be received by July 27, 2018.
  • Call for Use Cases to Inform the First federal Data Strategy:
    This call is in support of the Federal Government’s commitment to create a comprehensive Federal Data Strategy as part of the Cross-Agency Priority Goal Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset.  Proposals should be received July 27.
  • Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; 2020 Census:
    This request invites comments on 2020 Census office and field operations. Noteworthy topics include the manner in which citizenship data will be provided to the states, which in turn might lead to a design change in PL 94-171 redistricting data file, the use of administrative records and procedures around internet self-response.  To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before August 7, 2018.
  • Soliciting Feedback From Users on 2020 Census Data Products:
    The Census Bureau is currently planning the potential suite of 2020 Census data products and is seeking data user feedback to help understand how the public uses decennial census data products. The Census Bureau is especially interested in receiving responses to specific questions outlined in the FRN.  Public feedback is essential for a complete review of the decennial data products and will assist the Census Bureau in prioritizing products from the 2020 Census.  An informational webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, July 31 from 2:00 – 3:00 and will provide answers to questions about the feedback process.  Comments on this notice must be received by September 17, 2018.

We know our readers are all busy professionals, but we urge you to take the time to read, think about , and respond to at least one of these requests.  This is our opportunity to affect federal data policy for the next several years. When we met with agency staff at last week’s APDU conference in they were clear that they want to hear from us and invited us to provide feedback.