NIH: Office of Disease Prevention

Medicine: Mind the Gap

Communicating Possible Harms and Benefits of Treatment and Lifestyle

Professor David Spiegelhalter, OBE, FRSExternal Website Policy
Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk
Senior Scientist
Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit
Associate Fellow
Centre for Science and Policy
University of Cambridge

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Building 45 (Natcher), Rooms E1/E2
NIH Campus | Bethesda, Maryland


Presented by:

Office of Disease Prevention
National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Office of Biostatistics Research
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

About the Seminar

There is increasing attention to presenting potential benefits and harms of treatments and lifestyle choices in a balanced and transparent way. Prof. Spiegelhalter discussed some proposals for how this might be done, focused on alternative ways in which numbers and graphics may be used, and emphasized the role of interactive animations and videos. Recent research on public preferences and understanding of different formats strongly suggests that one size does not fit all, and a range of alternative presentations may be appropriate.

About Professor David Spiegelhalter, OBE, FRS

Prof. Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, where he is also a senior scientist in the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit. His background is in medical statistics, particularly the use of Bayesian methods in clinical trials, health technology assessment, and drug safety. He led the statistical team in the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry and also gave evidence to the Shipman Inquiry. Prof. Spiegelhalter has been a consultant to a number of public and private organizations, including pharmaceutical companies. In his current post, he leads a small team that is attempting to improve the way in which the quantitative aspects of risk and uncertainty are discussed in society. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2005 and awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2006 for services to medical statistics.