Florence Nightingale Lecture 2024

Date:          Friday 23rd February 2023, 3.30 pm  (Please register here)

Speaker:  Professor Barbara Engelhardt, Stanford University

Title:          Statistics, nursing, and social reform: Following in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale

Abstract: Decision-making tasks in healthcare settings use methods that make a number of assumptions that we know are violated in clinical data. For example, clinicians do not always act optimally; clinicians are more or less aggressive in treating patients; clinicians have biases; and patients have (often unobserved) conditions that lead to differential response to interventions. In this talk, and following in Florence Nightingale's path, I will walk through a handful of these violated assumptions and discuss statistical reinforcement learning and inverse reinforcement learning methods to address these violated assumptions. I will show on a number of scenarios, including sepsis treatment and electrolyte repletion, that these methods that have more flexible assumptions than existing methods lead to substantial improvements in decision-making tasks in clinical settings, reducing bias and leading to improved clinical outcomes.

Bio:             Dr. Barbara E. Engelhardt Is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University and a Senior Investigator at Gladstone Institutes. Before, she moved from Princeton University’s Computer Science Department where she was (across eight years) Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor. Before that, she was an Assistant Professor at Duke University. Earning her B.S and M.S at Stanford, Engelhardt received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, advised by Professor Michael Jordan. She was a postdoc with Professor Matthew Stephens at the University of Chicago. She has spent time working at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Google Research, 23andMe, and Genomics plc. Her research interests involve developing statistical models and methods for the analysis of structured high-dimensional biomedical data, with a goal of understanding the underlying mechanisms of complex phenotypes and human disease.  

The Florence Nightingale Lecture Series is generously sponsored by XTX Markets.


Details of previous lectures can be found here.