The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 8, 1999

February 8, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 21

"Living Wage" adopted
Disparities between blacks and whites receiving cardiac procedures reduced
"Dean of Dissemination" John Hollifield dies at 59
ASPCA and CAAT award new Lasker Fellowship
"Scene on Campus"
High school students use Hopkins-designed CD-ROM learning program
In Brief
Employment Opportunities
Weekly Notices
Weekly Calendar
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Foreign Affairs Symposium begins
One day last May undergraduates Jay Suresh and Hari Chandra found themselves at the entrance to the Organization of American States in Washington. The two had gone to the nation's capital not to sight-see but rather with a specific agenda: to recruit speakers for the 1999 Johns Hopkins University Symposium on Foreign Affairs. As co-directors of the symposium, Suresh and Chandra were on a mission to assemble a first-rate panel of former heads of state and experts on world affairs.
    Their quest this day was Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of OAS and former president of Colombia. They had come unannounced, and when they approached the entrance, they handed the security guard an invitation to the symposium, which they had brought with them. Both Suresh and Chandra thought that might be the end of the encounter, but to their surprise they were told to wait. Sometime later the guard told them that Gaviria's chief of staff had to make some phone calls and they would have to continue to be patient. Later still, a call came into the guard house. It seems their patience had paid off. Full story...

Statistician stays ahead of the curve
Health researchers wondered whether African infants grew more slowly if their mothers consumed insufficient vitamin A during pregnancy. Drug addiction experts wanted to see whether a new medication would ease withdrawal pain. Researchers studying men's health needed to know how HIV infection affects immune cell counts over a period of years.
   To help make sense of the raw data they collected, scientists in each of these studies called in Colin Wu, a biostatistics expert from the School of Engineering. Wu, an associate professor of mathematical sciences, uses a relatively new form of data analysis called curve estimation to produce clearer pictures of how health changes over time.
   Standard statistical methods provide just a snapshot of health conditions at a single point in time. In the growth study, for example, standard methods could have told researchers the average weight, exactly two years after birth, of children born to HIV-positive, vitamin A-deficient mothers. But Wu's technique yielded a curve that spanned the length of a project. It let researchers compare average growth figures for the children two months after birth, 23 months after or anywhere in between. Full story...

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