PHASTAR’s Head of Statistical Research and Consultancy, Professor Jennifer Rogers, was recently announced as the winner of the annual HealthWatch Award for 2020. For her acceptance speech, Jen grappled with the COVID-19 statistics that we have been seeing since the start of the pandemic, trying to make sense of messy data and calling into question some of the more dubious claims that have been made.
I’ve always felt that public engagement is an important part of my career and I have strived to be an ambassador in my field, bringing statistics to the masses. This isn’t just because I am passionate about statistics, but also because I feel it’s important that the general public have a basic understanding of statistical concepts. Every single day, we are bombarded with news headlines telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing and we are expected to use these sometimes-shocking headlines to inform decisions on how to live our everyday lives. Sometimes, these headlines can be misleading, and often our own personal experiences can skew our interpretation, so I feel that it is essential to give people the tools they need to ask the right questions of the data that they see, so that they can make informed evidence-based decisions.