The Fred Hutch Biostatistics Program hosts seminars featuring presentations by Fred Hutch and outside scientists to share their latest developments and recent research. Each seminar includes an hour-long presentation and discussion during which speakers showcase their work and findings.
This seminar will be via Zoom.
The causal dose response curve is commonly selected as the statistical parameter of interest in studies where the goal is to understand the effect of a continuous exposure on an outcome. Most of the available methodology for statistical inference on the dose-response function in the continuous exposure setting requires strong parametric assumptions on the probability distribution. Such parametric assumptions are typically untenable in practice and lead to invalid inference. It is often preferable to instead use nonparametric methods for inference, which only make mild assumptions about the data-generating mechanism. We propose a nonparametric test of the null hypothesis that the dose-response function is equal to a constant function. We argue that when the null hypothesis holds, the dose-response function has zero variance. Thus, one can test the null hypothesis by assessing whether there is sufficient evidence to claim that the variance is positive. We construct a novel estimator for the variance of the dose-response function, for which we can fully characterize the null limiting distribution and thus perform well-calibrated tests of the null hypothesis. We also present an approach for constructing simultaneous confidence bands for the dose-response function by inverting our proposed hypothesis test. We assess the validity of our proposal in a simulation study. In a data example, we study whether, in a population of patients who have initiated treatment for HIV, how the distance required to travel to an HIV clinic affects retention in care.