Outside of statistics departments, we are often seen as tactical and operational implementers. This branding makes it hard for statisticians to be included in strategic discussions. This limits our ability to influence the organizations and projects. It can even lead to entire departments being outsourced or not appropriately funded because of this terrible reputation. I’m long on a journey to fight against this branding. This journey also requires us statisticians to learn about thinking and acting strategically.

Thus, I’m thrilled to talk with Swarna Khare about this topic. Swarna is a long-term listener of The Effective Statistician and today, it is a great opportunity for her to share with us the ways to think and act more strategic.

We answer the following important points:

  • The role of the branding of statistics and how it led Swarna to change from statistics into RWE?
  • What does “working strategically” means for her?
  • What did she do to prepare for this change?
  • What she learned after the switch to RWE?
  • What she recommends to statisticians to become more involved in strategic discussions?

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Swarna Khare

Real World Evidence Manager at Novartis UK

Swarna is a statistician by training (MSc in Statistics from the University of Sheffield, PGDip in Applied Statistics from the Australian National University, PGDip in Mathematics from the University of London) and she has worked as a statistical expert for almost 10 years. She has started my career in various academic and research positions, focussing mainly on real-world data analysis and curation specifically in paediatric diabetes, neonatal health, environmental health and climate science and various non-communicable diseases.

She then transitioned out of academia about 5 years ago to explore the opportunities to influence patient and public health through industry. She started as Senior Statistician at Almac Diagnostics where she worked with some most exciting, cutting edge next gen assays in cancer detection using advanced genetic data analytics.

She is currently working as RWE Manager at Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK where she ensures that we can fully leverage, often underutilised, real world health data landscape to get patient-relevant insights into diseases and treatments by adopting innovative study designs and big data analytics. She is a dedicated lifelong learner and she strongly believe that if life never stops teaching, we must never stop learning. Her interests, outside of coding and programming, include travelling off the beaten path and exploring the global culinary traditions!

Picture shows: Swarna Khare

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I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

I work to achieve a future in which everyone can access the right evidence in the right format at the right time to make sound decisions.

When my kids are sick, I want to have good evidence to discuss with the physician about the different therapy choices.

When my mother is sick, I want her to understand the evidence and being able to understand it.

When I get sick, I want to find evidence that I can trust and that helps me to have meaningful discussions with my healthcare professionals.

I want to live in a world, where the media reports correctly about medical evidence and in which society distinguishes between fake evidence and real evidence.

Let’s work together to achieve this.