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SSA and ASPAI AGM 2020/Florence Nightingale at 200: using data to improve health from the time of the Crimea to the time of the coronavirus

6 Aug 2020 12:34 PM | Marie-Louise Rankin (Administrator)

On a chilly, wintery evening, SSA history was made last Tuesday when we held our first Society AGM via Zoom. As a result of these unprecedented times the ACT Government recently amended the Associations Incorporations ACT 1991, now allowing association AGMs to be held online rather than face-to-face only.

However, the history-making did not stop there. Counting over forty members at the Zoom meeting, the participation rate at this AGM exceeded any number previously recorded at an AGM held outside a Statistical Conference year. Thank you to everyone who joined in!

Our new President, Jess Kasza, took us through the agenda items in such an efficient way that the AGMs for SSA and ASPAI were completed within half an hour. After a brief break, attendees were then treated to a captivating talk by RSS President, Professor Deborah Ashby. Professor Ashby is the Director of the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, where she holds the Chair in Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials. She is a Founding Co-Director of Imperial Clinical Trials Unit. Her talk was titled

Florence Nightingale at 200: using data to improve health from the time of the Crimea to the time of the coronavirus

and the audience was taken on a journey through Florence Nightingale’s fascinating life. Many pieces have been written about Florence being recognised as a pioneering and passionate statistician. Coming from a background of privilege and with powerful connections, Florence chose a life of hard work and never-ending learning, using her - what we these days would call “network” - to try to improve the health situation in her country and abroad. She recognised the connection between statistics and health and used her influence to make the government officials of her time see it as well. The slides of the talk can be viewed here.

I can truthfully say that this interesting talk, presented by a statistician to statisticians, was thoroughly enjoyed by this non-statistician as well.

Marie-Louise Rankin
Executive Officer
Statistical Society of Australia

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