Leeds-Bradford local group meeting: Florence Nightingale, pigeon-holes and mustard seeds

On Wednesday 20 May, the Leeds-Bradford local group hosted RSS president Professor Deborah Ashby, with a talk, 'Florence Nightingale, pigeon-holes and mustard seeds: Using data to improve health from the time of the Crimea to the time to the coronavirus'.

Deborah took attendees on a journey through the life and times of Florence Nightingale, beyond her healthcare and statistical biography. Particular attention was paid to her passion for education for the public, for statisticians and for politicians. Deborah’s talked segued into a presentation on current issues around the education of politicians and how the RSS is addressing the need in their Data Manifesto. In many ways, the RSS is continuing the work of Florence Nightingale with efforts to build statistical capacity with its training, initiatives like Statisticians for Society or AIMS, involvement in centres for doctoral training, reports and manifestoes.

The latter part of Deborah’s presentation concerned the COVID-19 pandemic. She provided a summary of current activities worldwide and by the Society, particularly the COVID-19 Task Force. Our Q&A session was busy and thought-provoking with questions about the position of women in Florence’s and current times, the capacity of current efforts against the pandemic, and the balance of problem solvers and information providers.

All questions and answers can be reviewed from the recording which is live on the Leeds-Bradford local group’s webpage and shortly on the Leeds-Bradford local group’s YouTube playlist.
Author details:
Ciarán McInerney, PhD, is secretary of the Leeds-Bradford local group. He is a research fellow in the School of Computing at University of Leeds and the NIHR Yorkshire & Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, where he studies the design and evaluation of digital innovation for patient safety.

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