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Joan Buenconsejo

Director and Biometrics Team Leader, Astra Zeneca
DIA Statistics Community Chair

Read Biography


When did you realize you wanted to become a statistician with focus on biometrics?

As a child, I was always good in math, and when I had to choose my undergraduate major, applied mathematics was a no-brainer. After watching the movie Outbreak in 1995, I wanted to be an epidemiologist or in a related field, so applying to graduate school in Public Health seemed to be a great choice. While epidemiology classes were interesting, Biostatistics courses gravitated towards me more. As a statistician in the biomedical field, I am always using my technical skills to answer important research questions and communicate findings that could impact people’s lives. How cool is that?

Where do you see your field going? What is your vision of the field in 2030?

Currently, businesses are transforming their organizations to be more digital and data-centric. Big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are at the forefront of these changes. Many statisticians are leading these changes given their technical expertise, problem-solving skills, and business acumen. I see excellent partnering with cross-functional members and continued growth in leadership, as statisticians expand their skills and embrace the changes. My vision for 2030 is the continued growth of the field of statistics as a core area for organizations that harness technology and data to improve decision-making.

What advice would you give your younger self about to enter the “real world?”

I would tell my younger self not to worry about not knowing everything—that it is okay to make mistakes and to learn from those experiences. I would also tell my younger self to be curious and not to be afraid to ask questions. I would also encourage my younger self to network and to seek a mentor within the organization.

Imagine a day without work, the internet, and any other obligations. What would you do?

If I have a day to myself without work, internet, or driving my kids around activities, I would either be curled up in the sofa reading a romantic novel, or in my kitchen baking cupcakes. I would also take a moment to just breathe.

How has DIA helped you?

Through DIA, I have met many leaders in industry and regulatory agencies, not only within statistics, but also from other functional areas. Because of DIA’s global presence and neutrality, there are numerous opportunities for me to learn from experts from different regulatory agencies, academia, and industries, and to engage in scientific exchanges with them. Their annual meetings and statistics forums are exceptional with relevant and timely topics, and speakers that are recognized thought-leaders. The Communities within DIA are dynamic and are led by volunteers who are passionate about developing new programs and activities for members, disseminating relevant information through webinars, and fostering partnership and collaboration.

Joan Buenconsejo, PhD, MS, is a Director and Biometrics Team Leader supporting the oncology therapeutic area within the Biometrics and Information Sciences at AstraZeneca. Prior to joining AZ, she was a statistics team leader at CDER, US FDA. She is the chair of the DIA Statistics Community, North America. Buenconsejo received her Master’s degree in Mathematical Statistics from University of California, Irvine, and a Master’s degree in Public Health and Doctorate degree in Biostatistics from Yale University.

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