Visit of Professor Elizabeth Stuart – Propensity Score Methods

During November, the Victorian Centre for Biostatistics (ViCBiostat) in Melbourne hosted Professor Elizabeth Stuart from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (US). Liz is a Professor in the Departments of Mental Health and Biostatistics, and also serves as Associate Dean for Education in her School. Liz received her Ph.D. in statistics in 2004 from Harvard University and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. She is known for her extensive experience in methods for estimating causal effects and dealing with the complications of missing data in experimental and non-experimental studies, particularly as applied to mental health, public policy, and education. She has published influential papers on propensity score methods and generalizing treatment effect estimates to target populations, and taught courses on causal inference and propensity scores to a wide range of audiences, including at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (both in person and online), the US Food and Drug Administration, and at conferences.

During her week-long visit, Liz led a one-day course on propensity score methods for estimating causal effects in non‐experimental studies, attracting participants from all around Australia and from as far afield as New Zealand and Japan. Propensity scores are an increasingly common tool for estimating the effects of interventions in observational (“non‐experimental”) settings and for answering complex questions in randomized controlled trials. During this short course, she discussed the importance of the careful design of observational studies, and the role of propensity scores in that design, with the main goal of providing practical guidance on the use of propensity scores to estimate causal effects. Liz also gave two seminars during her week in Melbourne: speaking at the University of Melbourne on the external validity and generalisability of results from clinical trials to target populations and at a ViCBiostat seminar at Monash University on the impact of measurement error in covariates on propensity score matching. 

In her short week in Melbourne, not only did Liz give thought-provoking and well-attended presentations, she also took the time to meet with biostatistics researchers and PhD students from across Melbourne. Liz’s visit contributed to building the discipline of biostatistics in Victoria and Australia by providing high-level training of professional biostatisticians and fostering collaborations.

For those who could not attend Liz’s course on propensity score methods or one of her seminars, some of the topics presented will also be taught in online courses at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. More details can be found here

Dr. Jessica Kasza (SSA Victorian Branch; Monash Univ.), Sabine Braat (SSA Biostatistics Section; Univ. of Melbourne), Prof. Julie A. Simpson (Univ. of Melbourne), and Prof. John Carlin (MCRI & Univ. of Melbourne)

Left to Right: Dr. Jessica Kasza, Prof. Julie A. Simpson, Prof. Elizabeth A. Stuart







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