Let’s talk about data science

Hi, my name is Rowena and I’m a Data Scientist at the new Data Science Campus.

Data Science is an exciting area to be working in. There are emerging methods and continuously improving technologies that are propelling this field

I really enjoy using mathematics to produce insights and intelligence from data, in particular, data related to population health and social care. In my last job, I was working on a project evaluating the effects of a major council housing regeneration program on the health and well being of occupants living in those homes. I undertook statistical analysis using NHS and Local Authority housing records linked together within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank. I have also carried out analysis to understand effects of issuing air pollution warnings to residents with respiratory conditions on numbers of emergency hospital visits and, prior to that I worked with cancer data and carried out various analyses such as evaluating incidences of cancer in relation to point sources of potentially risky exposures.

I studied Mathematics at uni, and later did an MSc in Operational Research and Applied Statistics with a focus on mathematical modelling in healthcare. I like hard coding analytical programs to build models – particular those that can be graphically visualised.

For one assignment, I built a Discrete Event Simulation of the queuing system at Cardiff’s International White Water rafting centre to identify bottlenecks in the system to see where improvements could be gained. Using visual animation to represent the movement of rafters through preparation and on the rapids really helped to communicate the analysis to operational managers. Similarly, for my dissertation, I built a model to simulate the flow of cancer patients through different processes of care, from identifying symptoms, diagnosis and treatment through to long term outcomes. This was more difficult than modelling rafters but was very useful to highlight how data from different sources can be pulled together to provide a more holistic view of a patient pathway and the health care system.

There is a lot of work to be done, but the benefits that can arise from using Data Science methods to improve public services make it a cause I am very enthusiastic to be a part of. I particularly enjoy collaborating with people from a variety of disciplines such as computer science, engineering, medicine, geography – to name just a few of those working in this field.

I love to talk about Data Science and its many, many applications, so if you want to chat about my work please do get in touch.