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Biostatistics and health services faculty member Ruth Etzioni co-authors data science textbook

Competence in data science has become essential for health services and health outcomes researchers. Today’s data-driven challenges require an understanding of statistics, health econometrics, and predictive analysis.

Ruth Etzioni

A recently released textbook, “Statistics for Health Data Science: An Organic Approach,” aims to cultivate such competence by providing a useful and practical foundation for working with clinical, administrative and population health data.

Co-authored by Ruth Etzioni, affiliate professor of biostatistics and professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, the text is designed for researchers who have had some exposure to the basics of statistical analysis. It brings together key statistical ideas that are foundational for contemporary investigators in health services, health outcomes and health policy.

 “The text grew out of my graduate course in the health services program, which attracts students from across the school,” says Etzioni. “I do believe it is a unique offering in this space because it is so interdisciplinary but also explains a lot of statistics. My students have loved it.”

“The text is extremely helpful and relevant to health services research,” says Health Services PhD student Ammarah Mahmud. “The two chapters that I benefitted from most were on survey data and two-part models. The explanations and information were clear and digestible. I plan to refer back to this book in my future graduate research work.”

The textbook’s organic approach refers to its intent to grow understanding in a manner that feels natural, with each new concept an extension of what has come before. The text uses nontechnical explanations supported by relevant examples, and applies methods to real-world research questions using real-world data.

“Overall, this book has a flow that definitely makes for a wonderful read. I found this book to be exactly the reference I needed while taking advanced, graduate-level biostatistics and health services classes,” says Global Health PhD student Mohamed Albirair.