Senior Health Information Consultant
Lori Goldman is a SAS Applications Developer with a background in health care analytics. She is currently working as a contractor in the biotech industry. Goldman has experience maintaining legacy reporting systems while leveraging existing architecture. She reports that she's currently having fun learning the ins and outs of ODS PDF. Goldman has a bachelor's in mathematics and a master's in computer information systems.
How long have you been using SAS®?
What SAS products have you used in the past? What products and solutions are you currently using?
In the past, I primarily used Base SAS and MACRO on mainframe, UNIX (AIX) and eventually on Windows. In my current role, I've added PROC SQL and ODS PDF skills. I'm also using SAS Foundation products. With SAS 9.3, we have the tools for business intelligence (SAS Enterprise BI Server). I'm having fun learning the new tools. I'm even trying to make friends with SAS® Enterprise Guide®.
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
I've used SAS to produce hard-copy reporting systems, Excel-based reporting systems, Cognos-Cube based reporting systems and now PDF.
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
I work mainly with reporting systems that will be run by others. Over the years, I've learned how to interact with the user at run time to collect parameter values. But even now, that technique is out of date. But we won't get to upgrade until we can migrate to the server and rewrite our process.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
Even after 25 years, my most memorable SAS moment comes from the beginning of my career. In my very first job working on my very first project as a health care data analyst, there was a set of SAS programs which did random sampling of claims for Medicare products. This process was defined by Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). It wasn't a proprietary process that we could manipulate at will. The company decided to put this process into "production," which in those days meant COBOL. I couldn't just hand the SAS programs to the COBOL programmers, and I really didn't know SAS back then. So the company brought in a consultant, Tom Marx, who had originally written the SAS programs, to help with the specifications for the COBOL guys. I sat side-by-side with Tom as he simultaneously translated the SAS code and taught me SAS. I was a recent graduate with a mathematics degree and SAS made sense. I understood the SAS code. I understood its top-down design to processing data. Things clicked. I stayed with the project through testing an implementation of the mainframe process; I have remained, to this day, a SAS programmer. Tom Marx was a pioneer and past president of the Boston Area SAS Users Group (BASUG). He brought me not only to their meetings, but to the steering committee (SC) meetings as well. Thanks to him, I've been an active member of the BASUG SC for over 20 years. Sadly, Tom Marx had pancreatic cancer and passed away on March 30, 2012.
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
It's become far more GUI- and object-oriented with tools geared toward the analyst who is not a programmer. SAS Technical Support has become far more accessible. I remember the days when there was only one person per company designated as the SAS representative and that was the only person who could call SAS Technical Support. I'm very grateful that has changed. I love the SAS Community discussion forums. I'm so amazed that my questions get answered. Thank you, Cynthia Zender! I love the blogs, too. Unless you're at a user group, training is still very expensive, although I appreciate how the training department has organized the classes into tracks. I like the SAS Talks webinars.
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
I am a BASUG Steering Committee and a member of NESUG. I've been to several SAS users groups meetings as either an attendee, session coordinator or section chair. I can't remember if I've ever been a section chair for SUGI. I attended my first SAS Global Forum in Orlando last month. I was an attendee.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Definitely. When I encounter roadblocks, I've asked questions on the SAS Community discussion forums (not to be confused with sascommunity wiki site) and I've interacted with many SAS presenters and trainers as an attendee at the SAS Users Group meetings or while working to bring speakers together to present at BASUG. I've also been blessed to be able to ask these trainers some complex questions after the fact and they've helped me out (Russ Lavery, for one, and he was grateful that he learned something, too).
If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?
Lex Jansen's website.