February 21, 2018 Meeting

Past Meeting

Download Kirk’s Presentation
Download Greg’s Presentation
Download Jagan’s Presentation

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

12:30 PM (Registration)
1:30 – 4:30 PM (Meeting)

Jazz Pharmaceuticals
3170 Porter Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304

3180 Porter Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Facility Host:
Diane Androvich

Event Host:
Thomas Leung (415) 956-3611

Speaker 1

Kirk Paul Lafler

Essential Programming Techniques Every SAS® User Should Learn


SAS software boasts countless functions, algorithms, procedures, options, methods, code constructs, and other features to help users automate and deploy solutions for specific tasks and problems, as well as to access, transform, analyze, and manage data. This presentation identifies essential programming techniques every pragmatic user and programmer should learn.

Topics include determining the number of by-group levels exist within classification variables; data manipulation with the family of CAT functions; merging or joining multiple tables of data; performing table lookup operations with user-defined formats; creating single-value and value-list macro variables with PROC SQL; examining and processing the contents of value-list macro variables; determining the FIRST., LAST. and Between by-group rows; processing repetitive data with arrays; and using metadata to perform better understand the contents of SAS data sets.

About the speaker:

Kirk Paul Lafler is an entrepreneur, consultant and founder of Software Intelligence Corporation and a SAS user since 1979. Kirk is a SAS® application developer, programmer, data analyst, mentor, SAS Certified Professional, advisor and professor at UC San Diego Extension, emeritus sasCommunity advisory board member, and provider of IT consulting services and education to SAS users around the world.

As the author of six books including Google Search Complete! (Odyssey Press. 2014) and PROC SQL: Beyond the Basics Using SAS, Second Edition (SAS Institute. 2013), Kirk has written hundreds of papers and articles; been an Invited speaker at SAS International, regional, special-interest, local, and in-house user group conferences/meetings; and is the recipient of 25 “Best” contributed paper, hands-on workshop (HOW), and poster awards.

Speaker 2

Greg Steffens

Some ways to encourage quality programming


This presentation describes some process steps and SAS macros that can be used to help instill a sense of quality in a SAS programming group. Programmers’ behaviors are strongly influenced by the way they are managed, the processes they are required to follow and the technology they are required to use.

I will describe some easily implemented steps that contribute to letting programmers know quality is important. Topics covered include the following:

    • 1. how the define file can be used in a more valuable way


    • 2. how to populate the additional variable attributes required by define schema version 2


    • 3. an approach to evaluating SAS log files


    • 4. comparing production to validation program files


    • 5. the myth of double programming as a validation method


    • 6. comparing output data and TFLs


    • 7. evaluating datetime stamps of program-related files


    • 8. documenting called macros


About the speaker:

Greg Steffens has been using SAS for programming and applications development since 1981, primarily in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries. He has held job positions ranging from lead technical to director-level management in seven pharmaceutical companies.

Greg’s experience includes the design and development of metadata and software to automate data definition, data transformation, data validation and FDA submissions.

Speaker 3

Jagan Achi

A Six-Sigma Approach in defining Programming Strategy of recurring deliverables


Development of strategy for programming recurring deliverables/tasks is very common in drug development process. Statistical Programming groups in various companies use different techniques and methods to develop processes, which would help their teams to achieve desirable outcomes.

Selecting a right approach requires a careful planning and thorough understanding of the requirements and measuring, analyzing how the chosen approach is working and finally training the staff to implement it. In this presentation, we will use how lean six sigma techniques [Define Measure Analyze Improve Control] can be used to define the right strategy with an example for generating Development Safety Update Reports [DSUR].

About the speaker:

Jagan Achi is an Associate Director Statistical Programming who works with Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Jagan has worked at Medical Devices, Clinical Research Organization over 10 years at different capacities and worked with teams to lead the statistical programming activities leading to regulatory submissions. Jagan holds a Masters in Statistical Genetics from University of Georgia and DVM from ANGRAU, India.