Current News

Amy Cohn

May 17, 2022

CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn co-authored a clinical applications paper that was recently published by BMC Ophthalmology. This paper titled “Measuring impact of a quality improvement initiative on glaucoma clinic flow using an automated real-time locating system” was first presented at the American Glaucoma Society Annual Meeting in March 2019 and has now been been published. The publisher BioMed Central (BMC) Ophthalmology is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles regarding the overall prevention, diagnosis and care of eye diseases and related topics in genetics, pathophysiology, and epidemiology. Congrats to Professor Cohn on this amazing accomplishment!

– Written by Prachi Fozdar, CHEPS Student

May 8, 2022

CHEPSters Harini and Nick were invited to the ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting in San Diego where they were able to present their research. Despite being the youngest attendees, Harini described how they felt well prepared “thanks to such extensive support and opportunities CHEPS has already given us to grow professionally and academically.” Dr. Peahl of Michigan Medicine exclaimed how Harini and Nick were more than prepared “bringing humility, keen intellect, and genuine curiosity to every conversation.” Beyond this, they were able to highlight the key values of CHEPS, using engineering to optimize healthcare, through their ability to easily communicate with physicians and also clearly educate physicians on key IOE concepts that will improve healthcare long term. Congrats to Harini and Nick on their outstanding work!

– Written by Prachi Fozdar, CHEPS Student

April 24, 2022

CHEPS Student Rachel Zhang was recently named the 57th Drum Major of the University of Michigan Marching Band! While majoring in Biomedical Engineering through the Honors Engineering program at Umich, Rachel has also been pursuing a music minor and has been a three year member of the marching band’s clarinet section. Rachel also previously served as her high school’s drum major her junior and senior years. This is an incredible accomplishment and opportunity for Rachel and the CHEPS community is extremely proud of her!

– Written by Prachi Fozdar, CHEPS Student

Amy Cohn

April 14, 2022

CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn was one of fifteen professors in the state of Michigan to be nominated for a Distinguished Professor of the Year award from the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU). According to MASU, the award “recognizes the outstanding contributions and dedication exhibited by the faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students.” Congratulations to Professor Cohn on the much-deserved nomination!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

March 24, 2022

The Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) has sponsored a capstone project at the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS). According to their website, “Bellwether League Foundation brings to light the efforts of the influencers, innovators, pioneers, and risk-takers that helped and continue to help mold and shape the healthcare supply chain profession. Their successes serve as education and inspiration for future generations.”

Mark Van Sumeren, one of the BLF members working with CHEPS on this project said the organization was originally launched, “to recognize both end of career and early career people that were making an impact on the healthcare supply chain. And through the last 14 years, they realized that education was a vital element of advancing the profession. And it was not only education of early and mid-career people but it was also educating younger folks and attracting them to the field.”

As part of BLF’s support of future healthcare supply chain leaders, CHEPS is proud to be the home of the foundation’s inaugural capstone project. The team is working with Michigan Medicine to analyze their supply chain and look at the different ways products come into the hospital. It’s important that the hospital get the products they order on time and in the correct quantity, something that became even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students working on this capstone project have the opportunity to work directly with Michigan Medicine and its suppliers. They also benefit from the leadership of Bellwether League Foundation members Nick Gaich, CEO Nick Gaich and Associates, and Administrator, Bellwether League Foundation’s Bellwether Philanthropy division; and Mark Van Sumeren, Managing Director, Health Industry Advisor. Professionals honored and recognized by BLF “have demonstrated significant leadership in, influence on, and contributions to the healthcare supply chain.” Those near, at or beyond the end of their careers are inducted into BLF’s Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership; those in the beginning of their careers earn Future Famer status.

Laura Ely, an Industrial and Operations Masters student in Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety concentration, has enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from leaders in healthcare supply chain. She said of working with Nick and Mark, “I call them mentors. They let us do all the work but they’re there to guide us along the way and make sure that our ideas are on the right track. It’s been cool to have that mentorship from people who are so experienced in the industry. They’ve been able to provide a lot of insight into things that we don’t necessarily have experience with and they’ve given us some resources from their other jobs that have been very helpful.”

Mark and Nick have both been impressed by the knowledge and professionalism shown by the CHEPS students on the team. Nick said, “I have just enjoyed the excitement we’ve seen come from the students and how engaged they are. From day one, I never felt that the students were doing this just to check off something as far as their resume. They’ve been very invested in trying to understand the core issues and what they can bring to the table and that’s just been a beautiful thing to be a part of.”

We’re honored to be a part of this collaboration with the Bellwether League Foundation and thank everyone who has made this project such a success. The CHEPS student team is made up of Laura Ely, Jeremy Segal, and Advaidh Venkat. They work closely with Bellwether League Foundation members Nick Gaich and Mark Van Sumeren; Daiwen Zhang, CHEPS Fellow; Amy Cohn, CHEPS Faculty Director; and Kristine Komives, SCM Director Michigan Health.

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

March 8, 2022

On Tuesday, March 8th, CHEPS alum Jordan Goodman held a Lunch and Learn for CHEPS students. Jordan graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with B.S. and M.S. in Industrial and Operations Engineering. He worked at CHEPS for three years during his time at U of M. Since his graduation, Jordan has worked as a Product Analysist and now Technical Lead of Reporting and Insights at ArborMetrix.

Jordan started his talk by discussing his background and time at CHEPS. He then introduced ArborMetrix and the work he does there. He went into depth on his experiences using Tableau, SQL, Python, and mixed-integer linear programming and provided examples of several projects he’d done using those tools. Finally, Jordan took the time to answer CHEPS students’ questions on everything from Tableau to communicating with your coworkers and collaborators.

Thanks to Jordan for a wonderful Lunch and Learn!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

February 16, 2022

On Wednesday, February 16th, CHEPS held a speed “dating” social. CHEPS students Makayla, Emily, and Lauren came up with the idea to help CHEPSters who hadn’t met yet get to know one another. The setup was similar to speed dating where students rotated and had 3 minutes to chat with each of the other students attending only the goal was to make friends with your fellow CHEPSters. Pizza, snacks, and fun were had by all!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Gene Kim

January 20, 2022

CHEPS Senior Administrative Assistant Gene Kim has been awarded a College of Engineering (CoE) Staff Incentive Award. According to the CoE website, “The program recognizes staff who consistently demonstrate the College’s vision, mission and values.” Specifically, the program recognizes staff who live the core values of:

  • Leadership and excellence
  • Creativity, innovation and daring
  • Diversity, equity and social impact
  • Collegiality and collaboration
  • Transparency and trustworthiness

We’re happy to see Gene recognized for all he does to make CHEPS such a special place!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

December 6, 2021

For the final seminar in the 2021 CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined Dr. Nicoleta Serban, Ph.D., to discuss her work on “Data Analytics for Public Health Systems.” Dr. Serban is the Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research record is quite diverse, from mathematical statistics to modeling to data analysis to statistical learning, with recent contributions on drawing principled inferences on healthcare delivery and health policy. She has also been involved in broad impact research activities; the most noteworthy is her leadership of the Health Analytics initiative, a collaborative effort anchored in partnership with a varied network of clinicians, healthcare providers, and public health entities. To date, she has published more than 60 journal articles, and a collaborative book with Dr. William B. Rouse titled Understanding and Managing the Complexity of Healthcare published by MIT Press and single-authored book titled Healthcare System Access: Measurement, Inference and Intervention published by Wiley.  She is the editor for physical sciences, engineering, and the environment for the Annals of Applied Statistics Journal. She has reviewed for multiple funding agencies and she has served in multiple workshops and meetings organized by the National Academies.

Dr. Serban’s recent work focuses on how data-driven methods can promote public health. During the seminar, she discussed how data collected within the public health system can be used to advance personalized medicine, target interventions, and evaluate guidelines and practices, among many other applications. It can provide opportunities to set up “policy” labs wherein policies and interventions can be tested without their direct deployment to the public. She went on to overview data analytics in healthcare within the paradigm of data science, integrating all data processes, from data acquisition and processing to data translation to data modeling and decision making. The key message from the presentation was that data science is at the core of informed decisions, interventions, and ultimately at the core of systems transformations. For more information on this aspect of Dr. Parekh’s work, please see chapter 6 of her book Healthcare System Access: Measurement, Inference and Intervention.

Thank you to Dr. Serban for the wonderful presentation! A video of the talk is available here.

This concludes the 2021 CHEPS Seminar Series. Thank you to everyone who attended, and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

November 29, 2021

For the November 29th seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Dr. Vikas Parekh, M.D., to discuss his work on “The Role of Command Centers in Health System Operations.” Dr. Parekh is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan and the Associate Chief Medical Officer for UM Health. As Associate Chief Medical officer, he guides the health system’s work on capacity management and readmissions. He leads an operational analytics team working to optimize patient flow and operational challenges throughout the health system as part of the multi-million-dollar Command Center project. He has published and presented nationally in the fields of hospital medicine, residency education, and hospital operations and capacity management. Dr. Parekh is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and completed his residency training at the University of Michigan. He has won several awards, including the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize, the Special Recognition Award for Contributions to the House Officer Teaching Program, the H. Marvin Pollard Award, the Department of Medicine’s highest award for resident teaching, the Chair’s Impact Award for his work during COVID-19, and was inducted into the Medical School’s League of Educational Excellence.  

Dr. Parekh’s work focuses on how to increase hospital capacity by improving operational efficiency. During the seminar, he discussed how hospitals nationally have struggled with the challenges of increasing demand and limited overall capacity, which has led to bottlenecks in care and inefficient patient flow through the hospital. Given constraints on expanding bed capacity, including both high costs and regulatory barriers, hospitals have increasingly focused on improving operational efficiency as a method to improve patient flow. Michigan Medicine and UM Health have been on a journey to improve patient flow through the application of engineering principles, analytics, improved management of variation, and creation of a system-wide playbook for how to approach capacity management and patient flow in their hospitals. This work has culminated in a project to develop and implement a hospital command center, planned to begin operation in late 2022, as the next step in creating reliable, system-wide processes to manage patient flow and safety. In his talk, Dr. Parekh described UM Health’s journey in hospital capacity management, walked through the playbook and principles they follow, and explained how they are planning to integrate all of these lessons learned into the new hospital command center. For more information on Dr. Parekh’s work, please see his article, “Use of Systems Engineering to Design a Hospital Command Center.”

Thank you to Dr. Parekh for the fascinating presentation! A video of the talk is available here.

Our next and final seminar will be held on December 6th at 4:30 PM ET, when we will be joined by Dr. Nicoleta Serban, Ph.D., who will present her work on “Data Analytics for Public Health Systems.”

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

November 25, 2021

CHEPSter Dipra Debnath, a BME Master’s student, ran in the 2021 Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot Drumstick Double in Detroit, MI on Thanksgiving Day. The Drumstick Double is a 10K followed immediately by a 5K. He beat his personal best in the 10K on this run. While Dipra said the Turkey Trot was a highlight of his week, he also added “I’m not sure how people look so happy and graceful when they cross finish lines.” Happy and graceful or not, great job on completing the race, Dipra!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Chalil Madathil Presentation

November 22, 2021

For the November 22nd seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Dr. Sreenath Chalil Madathil, Ph.D., to discuss his work on “Process Mining Approaches to Identify System-Level Factors in Maternal Health Disparities.” Dr. Chalil Madathilis an Assistant Professor in the Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering (IMSE) at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Before joining UTEP, he worked as a research scientist at the Watson Institute of Systems Excellence at The Research Foundation of the State University of New York at Binghamton. Dr. Chalil Madathil received his Ph.D. and MS in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. His current research interest is in applying operations research and data analytics to healthcare and supply chain domains. He is a member of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) and serves as chair for the IISE Health Systems Track. He is also a member of INFORMS and Alpha Pi Mu.

Dr. Chalil Madathil’s work focuses on how problems that lead to maternal health disparities can be identified using process mining. During the seminar, he discussed how the US has some of the highest maternal mortality and morbidity rates among all developed countries, despite spending the most on maternity care. Half of all maternal deaths, Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM), and near-misses are preventable with timely and appropriate care. For maternal mortality and SMM due to several specific conditions, such as hemorrhage and preeclampsia, the rates of preventability are even higher. Socioeconomic factors have been shown to impact maternal outcomes, but there is little research explicitly examining system-level factors like delays, missed or late diagnoses, inadequate teamwork, and poor coordination within the healthcare system, all of which can contribute to these adverse outcomes and disparities. National and state-level efforts to improve maternal care have led to the development of pathways describing the best practices in maternity care, but many challenges still exist. By examining patients’ journey through the healthcare system, Dr. Chalil Madathil and his research team were able to identify, and ultimately predict, specific system features associated with adverse outcomes. This process mining approach evaluated the process of receiving maternal care using event logs. Preliminary data analysis using visualization and decision tree techniques offer insights about disparities in maternal care by identifying variability in captured care pathways that are associated with adverse maternal outcomes. For more information on Dr. Chalil Madathil’s work, please see his articles “Integrated Framework of Process Mining and Simulation—Optimization for Pod Structured Clinical Layout Design” and “Advancing Evidence-Based Healthcare Facility Design: a Systematic Literature Review.”

Thank you to Dr. Chalil Madathil for the wonderful presentation!

Our next seminar will be held on November 29th at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Vikas Perekh, MD., who will present his work on “The Role of Command Centers in Health System Operations.”

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

November 18, 2021

CHEPS students recently had the opportunity to visit The University of Michigan Clinical Simulation Center (CSC) thanks to small group visits coordinated by CHEPS students Stephanie Ganzi and Fumiya Abe-Nornes. According to the Center’s website it is “an innovative instructional environment and learning laboratory providing challenging, immersive simulation training for students, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals at the University of Michigan.”

Stephanie said, “It was a good opportunity to learn more about how physicians and medical staff train and about medicine in general. Dr. Cooke was fantastic and made sure to talk about some of the engineering-type projects they’ve done there.” She also appreciated the chance to interact with her fellow CHEPSters and said, “It was also a good bonding experience for CHEPS students. I know I at least talked more with people outside of my project groups than I ever have before.”

Thank you to Dr. Cooke and CSC team for welcoming CHEPSters and sharing your work with us!

– Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

November 15, 2021

For the November 15th seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, M.D., M.S., to discuss his work on “Disabusing Disability™: Demonstrating That DISability Doesn’t Mean INability.” Dr. Okanlamiis an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Urology at Michigan Medicine, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services at the University of Michigan, where he oversees the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, two Testing Accommodation Centers, and the Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program. He attended college at Stanford University and earned his MD from the University of Michigan before matching into Orthopedic Surgery at Yale. At the beginning of his 3rd year, he experienced a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the chest down. After two surgeries and intense rehabilitation, he regained some motor function, and navigates the world as a proud wheelchair user. He went on to earn a Master’s in Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship from The University of Notre Dame, and completed his Family Medicine Residency at Memorial Hospital. Nationally, he serves as the Disability Issues representative on the Steering Committee for the Group on Diversity and Inclusion at the AAMC and sits on the National Medical Association’s Council on Medical Legislation. He speaks around the country on topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including, but not limited to creating a health system that is accessible to and inclusive of both patients and providers with disabilities, and providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education.

Dr. Okanlami’s work focuses on improving the treatment of and accommodations available to people with disabilities. During the seminar, Dr. Okanlami facilitated a conversation about the treatment of people with disabilities. He discussed how disability is regularly neglected in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion, yet it is the one demographic that we may all identify with one day. Therefore, he argues, disability should serve as a means of demonstrating that we are all much more similar than we are different. As a disabled, black, Nigerian, immigrant, cis-gender heterosexual, male, physician, athlete, Dr. Okanlami focused his presentation on the intersectionality between all of those identities, striving to demonstrate that disability is not inability, and encouraging the audience to allow people to demonstrate what they can do, rather than attempting to limit them based on what they can’t. He also strove to engage attendees in conversation about what each of us can do within our own spheres of influence to make sure we are not perpetuating ableism in our personal, academic, and professional lives.

Thank you to Dr. Okanlami for the fascinating conversation! A video of the talk is available here.

Our next seminar will be held on November 22nd at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Sreenath Chalil Madathil, Ph.D., who will present his work on “Process Mining Approaches to Identify System-Level Factors in Maternal Health Disparities.

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

Amy Cohn

November 11, 2021

CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn has been appointed as Michigan Medicine’s Chief Transformation Officer. In an announcement about this appointment, Dr. Marschall S. Runge, Dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs for University of Michigan, and CEO of Michigan Medicine, said, “She will lead a health care operational engineering team that will collaborate with executive leadership to define project priorities, provide rapid response to critical operational events, and improve outcomes by studying and implementing process re-design and enhancements.” In his announcement, Dr. Runge emphasized the many contributions Professor Cohn has made to the COVID-19 response at the University and Michigan Medicine including her work on testing, vaccinations, and the ResponsiBLUE app. He stated, “Her ability to drive large and complex projects, many new to our organization, and her unique engineering perspective were the predominant factors that led us to create the Chief Transformation Officer appointment.”

Congratulations to Professor Cohn on this new position! We know it will give her many opportunities to continue making a positive difference here at the University, Michigan Medicine, and beyond.

-Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

November 10, 2021

On November 10, 2021, we were joined by Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Chief Information Officer of Michigan Medicine, presenting on the unique challenges and opportunities of IT organization and data management at the University of Michigan, and in the healthcare industry at large.

Dr. Rosenberg’s background as a clinician and a manager helped him better understand the gap between the clinical, research, and IT sectors of the medical system. As the leader of the Health Information Technology & Services (HITS), Dr. Rosenberg and his team are paving the way for a new IT organizational structure that unifies relationships with service providers, better shares resources between clinical and research departments, and aims to reduce duplicated efforts. Beforehand, the University of Michigan medical system had multiple IT providers, many of which were legacy systems. HITS addresses this issue by supporting secure, cost-effective, interoperable, and reliable solutions across departments, mainly by being the main intermediary between departments and service providers.

Dr. Rosenberg also provided his insights from his time as the CIO for the University of Michigan. Most notably, Dr. Rosenberg explained how centralizing key IT infrastructure, appointing IT managers for domain-specific infrastructure (academic, clinical, business, etc.), and creating a vetted repository of usable code helps break down barriers to project execution.

Additionally, Dr. Rosenberg touched upon Michigan Medicine’s IT decision-making environment, highlighting the fact that no one committee has ultimate power over IT decisions. However, shared services like HITS touch nearly every department, which allows HITS to approach key IT decisions from a position of strength.

The final portion of the talk highlighted certain unique challenges about data infrastructure and storage at Michigan Medicine. Although many may believe most healthcare data comes from electronic health records, Dr. Rosenberg pointed out that one image of a light-sheet microscope could create more data than one year worth of health records. In other words, the majority of healthcare data comes from physical equipment such as continuous-time sensors and high-quality imaging technology. Simply asking researchers and clinicians to “clean up their data” would be unreasonable, as would paying for more and more data storage yearly. Dr. Rosenberg’s team is currently working on solutions to address this data challenge, by organizing the data by different use cases.

We thank Dr. Rosenberg for this insightful talk and look forward to learning more about UMich Med’s IT innovations in the future!

-Written by Kishor Bharadwaj, IOE Undergraduate Student

November 8, 2021

For the November 8th seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Alexander Hallway, BA, and Dr. Michael Englesbe, MD, to present their work on “Engineering Solutions to Surgical Pain Management.” Alex Hallway is a Research Area Specialist affiliated with the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network and the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC). Alex studied Human Biology and Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University and has worked on patient care and quality improvement initiatives at Michigan Medicine since 2017. As the Pain-control Optimization Pathway Lead, Alex works with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the MSQC to promote surgical pain control innovation in Michigan hospitals. Alex also leads the MSQC Prehabilitation program, which aims to collect novel preoperative data elements and optimize patient health prior to surgery. He has published his work in journals such as JAMA Surgery, The Journal of the American College of Surgeons, and JAMA Network OPEN. Michael Englesbe, MD, FACS is the Cyrenus G. Darling Sr., MD and Cyrenus G. Darling Jr., MD Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan in the Section of Transplantation Surgery. Dr. Englesbe received his undergraduate degree at Yale University, obtained his medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and completed his general surgery residency at the University of Michigan Health System. Dr. Englesbe also did a surgical research post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. Englesbe specializes in kidney and liver transplantation in adults and children. He has a specific expertise in portal hypertension in children and adults.

Alex and Dr. Englesbe’s work focuses on reducing rates of opioid abuse through policy, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration at the local and state levels. In western medicine, it is common practice to prescribe opioids for pain after surgery. While these medications are an important tool for pain management, excessive opioid prescribing, especially after surgery, can lead to long-term dependence and medication diversion in our communities. This is a dangerous trend that has contributed to the rise of the opioid epidemic in the United States. Dr. Englesbe and Alex Hallway have spent the last 5 years studying these trends and developing solutions to reduce excessive opioid prescribing in acute care. By using engineering methods and collaborating with physicians, they have been able to effectively reduce the quantity of opioids prescribed, helping to limit the burden of the opioid epidemic. For more information on Alex and Dr. Englesbe’s work, please see their Journal of the American College of Surgeons article, “Patient Satisfaction and Pain Control Using an Opioid-Sparing Postoperative Pathway.

Thank you to Alex and Dr. Englesbe for the wonderful presentation! A video of their talk is available here.

Our next seminar will be held on November 15th at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, M.D., M.S.

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

Carter presentation

November 1, 2021

For the November 1st seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Dr. Michael W. Carter, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, presenting his work on “How Can We Make a Real Difference in Healthcare? The Challenges of Implementation.” Dr. Carter is the Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering, founded by him in 2009. Since 1989, his research focus has been in the area of health care resource modeling. He is on the editorial board for the journals “Health Care Management Science,” “Operations Research for Health Care,” “Health Systems,” and “IISE Transactions on Healthcare Systems.” In 2012, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and in 2013, he was inducted as a Fellow of INFORMS, the international society for Operations Research and Management Science. In 2018, he became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2019, he won the Northrup Frye Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Toronto Alumni Association, and in 2021, he was awarded the University of Toronto “President’s Impact Award” for his contributions to improving healthcare in Canada.

Dr. Carter’s work focuses on resource modeling within healthcare systems. Over the course of his career, he has noticed that there is a gap between what operations research is done and what actually is implemented in healthcare settings. There are many aspects of healthcare that create barriers to implementing models that operations researchers produce. Dr. Carter has encountered many of these obstacles in his time as an operations researcher and has been able to develop strategies to overcome them. In this talk, he identified what he sees as the five largest hurdles to model implementation in healthcare as well as approaches to counter them. For more information about Dr. Carter’s work, please view his papers “Data-Driven Generic Discrete Event Simulation Model of Hospital Patient Flow Considering Surge”  and “Modelling the Future of Canadian Cardiac Surgery Workforce Using System Dynamics.”

Thank you to Dr. Carter for a fascinating presentation!

A video of his talk is available here.

Our next seminar will be held on November 8th at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Alexander Hallway, BA, and Michael Englesbe, MD, who will present their work on Engineering Solutions to Surgical Pain Management.”

– Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

October 27, 2021

Several CHEPS students, alums, and faculty presented at the 2021 INFORMS conference which was held from October 24 – 27, 2021. CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn also chaired a session focused on CHEPS projects. The majority of CHEPSters presented virtually at this year’s hybrid in-person/virtual conference. Presentations by CHEPS students and alumni included:

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

October 25, 2021

On Monday, October 25th, CHEPS held a virtual Lunch and Learn with Marika Bonacorsi, Analytics Manager at Northwestern Medicine; John Palmateer, Manager at Northwestern Medicine; and Kelly Weiss, Analytics Developer at Northwestern Medicine. Northwestern Medicine is a system of 11 hospitals across the Chicagoland area with more than 33,000 employees. They try to make sure their “patients first approach” is central to all they do. To begin the presentation, John shared their mission, vision, and values as well as a timeline of how their health system has evolved over the years.

Marika, a University of Michigan alum, spoke about the Access Analytic Product Team. They work to “provide convenient, complete, and caring interactions with patients.” This may mean working on products to improve the time between scheduling and having an appointment, speed of answers to patient questions, and patient self-service through apps and MyChart. Marika discussed tools her team uses and tools they are continuing to learn in order to be successful. She also showed examples of products her team has developed throughout the years. One example is a model they developed to predict no-show appointments. She also offered an example of the type of projects interns work on at Northwestern Medicine.

Kelly, also a University of Michigan alum, discussed the Analytics Service Line Team. As someone earlier in her career, she was able to share internships and other opportunities she took advantage of while a student in order to prepare for her career including an internship at Spectrum Health and working as a Research Assistant for the Michigan Medicine Department of Psychiatry. She also showed an example of dashboards she has worked on since she’s been at Northwestern Medicine including one to better understand trends in staffing and operations trends.

John gave an overview of the Northwestern Medicine Internship Program including opportunities CHEPS students may be able to apply to for Summer 2022. He also spoke about the Intern Innovation Challenge their intern program hosts each year and shared some of the ideas that have come out of past innovation challenges. He, Marika, and Kelly also offered advice on what stands out when applying to internships.

Thank you to all three speakers for an interesting talk!

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

October 14, 2021

Rachel Zhang is quoted in a recent article from The Advocate titled “Univ. of Michigan Band Blares LGBTQ+ Support in Halftime Show.” Rachel, a Biomedical Engineering undergraduate working at CHEPS, is also a clarinet player and a part of the halftime show on September 25th which honored the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout the performance which honored the 50th anniversary of the University of Michigan Spectrum Center, marching band members created formations spelling “love wins,” “spectrum,” and “family,” on the field as well as creating a field full of hearts. The performance included music from Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, and more. Rachel is quoted in The Advocate article saying, “This was our week, this was the week for the LGBTQ+ community to feel seen and to feel valued and respected. And it was a really beautiful thing to see.”

A video of the performance is available below.

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Otles presentation

October 11, 2021

For the October 11th seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Erkin Otles, an M.D./Ph.D student, presenting his work on “Engineering Machine Learning for Medicine: Developing, Deploying, and Evaluating Dynamic Prediction Models.” Erkin Otles is a Medical Scientist Training Program Fellow (MD-PhD student) at the University of Michigan. He has completed three years of medical school training and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering. His research lies at the intersection of computer science, industrial engineering, and medicine, centered on creating machine learning and artificial intelligence tools for patients, physicians, and health systems. Erkin’s dissertation work focuses on the development, implementation, and prospective usage of dynamic health outcome prediction models, such as in early warning systems. He is co-advised by Dr. Brian Denton in the Industrial and Operations Engineering department and Dr. Jenna Wiens in the Computer Science and Engineering department. Erkin has a professional background in health IT, having managed electronic health record development and healthcare data science teams. He holds a Master’s of Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. After completion of his MD-PhD training, Erkin plans on pursuing medical residency training in emergency medicine.

Erkin’s work focuses on the development, validation, and implementation of machine learning (ML) models for use in healthcare. This research requires a strong understanding of clinical needs, analytical methods, and systems engineering. With ML seeing increasing use in health care, it is important to ensure that these tools are effective and accurate in doing the tasks attributed to them. Erkin presented his work on the development of an ML model for predicting the timing of returning to work for patients experiencing occupational injuries, using this as a launching point to discuss engineering ML for medicine more broadly. He gave an in-depth overview of the development process of a dynamic prediction model that used workers compensation claims data. He concluded his talk with a discussion of the issues surrounding ML model task framing, validation, and implementation. More information on Erkin’s work is available in his JAMA Internal Medicine article, “External Validation of a Widely Implemented Proprietary Sepsis Prediction Model in Hospitalized Patients.”

Thank you to Erkin Otles for a fascinating presentation!

Please note that there will not be a seminar next week or the week after. Our next seminar will be held on November 1st at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Michael W. Carter, Ph.D., LEL, FCAE, who will present his work on “Challenges in Healthcare Scheduling Applications.”

— Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

October 10, 2021

CHEPS alums Adam VanDeusen and Sarah Bach ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, August 10th. Running marathons together is a bit of a tradition for these two and they enjoyed meeting up in Chicago. Sarah said, “My time was four minutes off my PR but I was happy considering the conditions… it was 75 and 75% humidity when we started with highs in the 80’s midday so it was a hot one! They had cold sponges and water spray stations on the course and my parents handed Adam and me bottles/bags of ice when we went by which was a life saver!” Adam shared similar sentiments. He said, “Weather conditions were less than ideal but we both crossed the finish line with (exhausted) smiles.”

Credit for the mid-race photos below goes to Sarah’s brother!

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Kate Burns and Amy Cohn

October 10, 2021

You may have spotted CHEPS alum, Kate Burns, on the field at halftime during the September 18th Michigan vs. Northern Illinois football game. Kate is a member of the Michigan Women’s Rowing team. They were honored on the field for winning a Big Ten Championship last Spring. This is the second Big Ten Championship win since Kate’s been on the team. They won six out of seven races, getting 2nd place in the race they didn’t win. It was the best finishing in Michigan history. The team went on the get 4th at NCAAs.

Kate is currently getting her Master’s in Industrial and Operations Engineering as part of the SUGS program. She’s doing her fifth year of rowing having gained an extra year of eligibility due to COVID. She said, “I am so lucky to come back for a fifth year and be part of the team the team the team, and get another chance to make history.”

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Waljee seminar

October 4, 2021

For the October 4th seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series, we were joined by Dr. Akbar Waljee, presenting his work on “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Low-Resource Settings.” Dr. Waljee is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. At the UM Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI), he serves as the Associate Director of the Data and Methods Hub and as the Director of the Michigan Integrated Center for Health Analytics and Medical Prediction (MiCHAMP). He also serves as the Director of the VA CCMR Prediction Modeling Unit (PMU) and, clinically, he is the Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease clinic both at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Dr. Waljee’s work focuses on utilizing machine learning to better provide high-value medical care in resource-constrained settings. With increasingly effective and increasingly expensive treatments constantly being developed, there is growing concern among policymakers, payors, and health systems as to how to provide high-cost care to patients. Using the example of inflammatory bowel disease, Dr. Waljee described two novel methods for optimizing care delivery in low-resource settings. One of these approaches uses artificial intelligence/machine learning-based approaches to target treatments to those most likely to benefit. The other optimizes treatment delivery by minimizing costs while maximizing benefits. Both of these methods could have applications globally by helping guide treatment decisions in low- and middle-income countries. More information on Dr. Waljee’s work is available in his JCC article, “Machine Learning Algorithms for Objective Remission and Clinical Outcomes with Thiopurines.”

Thank you to Dr. Waljee for a wonderful presentation!

Our next seminar will be held on October 11th at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Erkin Otles, an MD/Ph.D. student, who will present his work on “Engineering Machine Learning for Medicine: Developing, Deploying, and Evaluating Dynamic Prediction Models.”

— Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

Lavieri presentation

September 27th, 2021

For our latest installment in the CHEPS Seminar Series on September 27th, we were joined by a multidisciplinary research team made up of Mariel Lavieri, Ph.D.; David Hutton, Ph.D.; Neehar Parikh, MD; Luke DeRoos, Ph.D. Student; and Wesley J. Marrero Colón, Ph.D., presenting their work on “Understanding the Imbalance of Supply and Demand of Transplant Organs in the US: A Multidisciplinary Team Approach.” Dr. Mariel Lavieri is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her most recent research focuses on medical decision-making, in particular on determining optimal monitoring and treatment by explicitly modeling stochastic disease progression. Dr. David Hutton is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. His current research is focused on health policy and medical decision-making, in particular, the use of mathematical models to assist with the allocation of resources for health. Dr. Neehar Parikh is a physician and researcher at Michigan Medicine working in Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine, and Transplant Hepatology. His clinical and research work focuses on treatment and outcomes for hepatobiliary malignancies. He has research interests in liver cancer treatment allocation, treatment effectiveness modeling, cost and cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions, quality of life, liver transplantation and allocation, and cancer screening and prevention. Luke DeRoos is a Ph.D. student in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan under the guidance of Dr. Mariel Lavieri. His research focuses on improving the quality of and access to healthcare. Dr. Wesley J. Marrero Colón is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the MGH Institute for Technology Assessment at Harvard Medical School. His current research focuses on the usage and creation of data-driven methods to make better decisions and aims to address healthcare applications from a population and patient perspective.

The research team discussed the growing issue of organ donor shortages. The lack of organ donors means that people who need organ transplants may be on the waiting list for an extended period of time, unable to receive potentially life-saving treatment. Looking specifically at liver transplants, the team explained their framework for understanding how different factors affect the supply and demand of organs. They went on to use this framework to predict organ supply and demand levels in the future, both under current conditions and if certain policy changes were enacted. For more information on their results, please see their Liver Transplantation article, “Projections in donor organs available for liver transplantation in the United States: 2014-2025.” One of the key policy changes they examined was the effect of making organ donation consent opt-out, rather than opt-in, which has the potential to increase organ donation rates. More information on the effect of this policy is available in their JAMA Network Open article, “Estimated Association Between Organ Availability and Presumed Consent in Solid Organ Transplant.”

A video of the talk is available here.

Thank you to all of our speakers for a wonderful presentation!

Our next seminar will be held on October 4th at 4:30 PM ET, where we will be joined by Dr. Akbar Waljee to discuss “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Low-Resource Settings.”

— Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

Makar seminar

September 20th, 2021

For our second seminar in the CHEPS Seminar Series on September 20th, we were joined by Dr. Maggie Makar, presenting her work on “Machine Learning and Causality: Building Efficient, Reliable Models for Decision-Making.” Dr. Makar is a Presidential postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science at MIT, during which time she interned at Microsoft Research and Google Brain. Prior to MIT, Dr. Makar worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, studying end-of-life care. Her work has appeared in ICML, AAAI, JSM, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Health Affairs, and Epidemiology, among others.

Dr. Makar discussed the rise in the use of machine-learning-based causal and predictive models by healthcare practitioners seeking to provide personalized patient care. She described the problems that arise in this practice due to the limitations of current machine-learning techniques. The limitations she focuses on are how casual inference techniques rely upon more data than is typically available in healthcare settings and how most predictive models are insufficiently robust when there are shifts at test time. Dr. Makar’s work focuses on the use of novel techniques that bound the data to circumvent these common problems. More information on Dr. Makar’s work on this topic is available in her ICML article, “Estimation of Bounds on Potential Outcomes For Decision Making.”

Dr. Makar then switched focus to explore solutions to distribution shifts, specifically in the context of contagious disease spread with incomplete testing. She explained how distribution shifts can occur when asymptomatic carriers are not identified as such in the training data set, as is often the case with incomplete testing in real populations. She then presented her solution to this problem: a causally-motivated regularization scheme that allows for high accuracy prediction of an individual’s true infection state, even with biased training data. Her ICML article, “Exploiting Structured data for Learning Contagious Diseases Under Incomplete Testing,” provides more information on this topic.

Thank you to Dr. Makar for a fascinating presentation!

A video of the talk is available here.

Our next seminar will be held on September 27th at 4:30 PM ET, featuring Mariel Lavieri, Ph.D.; David Hutton, Ph.D.; Neehar Parikh, MD; Luke DeRoos, Ph.D. Student; and Wesley J. Marrero Colón, Ph.D. to discuss “Understanding the Imbalance of Supply and Demand of Transplant Organs in the US: A Multidisciplinary Team Approach.”

— Written by Stephanie Ganzi, Public Health Undergraduate Student

September 13th, 2021

On Monday, September 13th, Dr. James Bagian, the Founding Director of CHEPS and now co-founder and the Executive Director of the Center for Risk Analysis Informed Decision Engineering (RAIDE), delivered the first seminar in our Fall 2021 Providing Better Healthcare through Systems Engineering Seminar Series. His talk was titled “How Safe Is Safe Enough: Analyzing Hazards and Risks in the Real World to Inform Decision Making.”

Dr. Bagian discussed how nothing is without risk and went on to describe how “engineering risk analysis provides a systematic, holistic approach for addressing risks associated with complex technical systems.” He discussed considerations that are important in any type of organization be it healthcare or another field such as how to look at what the hazards are in a given endeavor, how to evaluate risk, and the importance of communication in conveying risk. “It’s not enough to know the technical answer,” he said. “You have a number of stakeholders that you have to deal with within your company, your interest, your professional group, and others it will impact.” He said that successfully communicating with those parties plays a large part in determining whether you will be successful in achieving your goals.

Dr. Bagian provided examples of risk analysis from healthcare as well as from his time at NASA working with several shuttle missions. He also emphasized the importance of knowing how the amount of allowable risk is determined and who determines that and accepts the risk. More information about Dr. Bagian’s work in the area of risk analysis is available in our recent issue of CHEPS Pulse. He has also written an editorial “How Safe Is Safe Enough for Space and Health Care? Communication and Acceptance of Risk in the Real World” in JAMA.

Thank you to Dr. Bagian for an excellent seminar!

Our next seminar will be on September 20th at 4:30 PM ET with Maggie Makar, Ph.D. discussing “Machine Learning and Causality: Building Efficient, Reliable Models for Decision-Making.”

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

September 10th, 2021

On Friday, September 10th, CHEPS students, faculty, staff, and even a few alums gathered at the fountain near the Michigan League for an ice cream social. We enjoyed Blank Slate ice cream and the chance to enjoy the beautiful fall weather while catching up with and getting to know our fellow CHEPSters. It was the perfect way to kick-off a new semester and a refreshing change of pace from the Zoom meetings of the past several semesters!

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

September 8th, 2021

New and returning CHEPS students came together in-person and over Zoom on Wednesday, September 8th for a presentation by CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn. While this was a time to go over some serious do’s and don’ts of CHEPS and review HIPAA compliance guidelines, it was also an exciting milestone because it was the first time many of the students attending in-person had been in the CHEPS space. While observing safety guidelines like masking, limiting the number of people in the space at any given time, giving a virtual option, and moving outdoors after the presentation, many of us were able to enjoy seeing one another in 3-D after a year and a half of only Zoom meetings!

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

mark van sumeren

August 20th, 2021

Friend of CHEPS and University of Michigan Industrial & Operations Engineering alum Mark Van Sumeren will be inducted this fall into the Bellwether League Foundation’s Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership. According the the Bellwether League press release, Mark “may be most renowned during the last two years for his data-rich, innovative and inventive “COVID-19 Report.” That daily newsletter reaches a host of influential healthcare clinical, financial and operational leaders who rely on its accuracy and integrity to foster essential business decision-making. But his illustrious and long-standing career in healthcare distribution consulting and strategic planning propels Van Sumeren to the top of the list of most-sought-after strategic minds. To date he has helped guide a variety of award-winning provider and supplier organizations, both large and small, to make prudent and ultimately successful moves that benefit patient care as well as their businesses.is”

Mark said, “It is humbling to join my 8 classmates, each of whom made significant contributions to the industry during their careers.” CHEPS has been lucky enough to host Mark for several Lunch & Learns and seminars, including talks about his COVID-19 report. In addition, many of us are loyal subscribers to the report which provides an amazing breakdown of data related to the pandemic. We greatly value Mark as a colleague and a mentor to CHEPSters and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor! 

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

August 13th, 2021

On August 13th, Zachary VerSchure, CHEPS alumni and FTI consultant, presented during the CHEPS Lunch and Learn. In his interactive talk, Zachary focused on methods for effectively communicating technical information to clients. As an FTI consultant, Zachary uses data to reveal the truth of business operations during regulatory inquiries and with commercial disputes. He often needs to communicate his technical analysis to a broad range of clients and has learned to tailor his communication based on several factors.

To communicate effectively you must first gain an understanding of the client’s level of knowledge surrounding the topic. Starting broad and focusing on impacts at the start of a conversation leads to an easier buy-in from the client. The use of visuals/examples is also imperative to engage the client. Often, replacing technical jargon with concepts the client will understand, is a powerful technique. For example, clients may not be able to conceptualize what a database is or how it works, but if you provide examples in the form of an excel workbook that concept will click much easier.

Another factor that impacts communication is the method of delivery. In an email, the benefit of writing more information allows you to create a narrative around the technical analysis, and then use bold, underline, or italics to draw the eye to important information. You should also take advantage of pasting in images of key deliverables within the email. When sharing an excel workbook with a client it is important to leverage footnotes to define terms and create an overview tab to orientate the user.

Zachary complimented the UofM IOE program when he was asked during the Q&A section “What are some of the classes that you found more useful in terms of experience for your job?”. He accredited the general analytical approach he uses in his job every day to the various IOE classes he took during his undergraduate degree. He also most commonly uses technical knowledge from the “fundamentals of database” class and uses python and R as well.

The students thoroughly enjoyed discussing communication and work outside of the healthcare field this Friday!

— Written by Nathan Smith, Kinesiology Undergraduate Student

Speakers for PhD lunch and learn

August 6th, 2021

On Friday, August 6th, CHEPS alums Matt See, Donald Richardson, and Pushpendra Singh joined us to discuss their Ph.D. experiences and answer any questions. Matt and Pushpendra are both working on their Ph.D.s at UC Berkeley and Dartmouth, respectively. Donald completed his Ph.D. at UofM working with CHEPS Faculty Director Dr. Amy Cohn. 

Dr. Donald Richardson started at CHEPS in 2013. He was brought in by the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering program and then continued his work after the summer. He highlighted one project he did for a chemotherapy infusion center. His team focused on scheduling, staffing, and optimizing the pharmacy: how do you get drugs out to patients quicker? Another guest speaker, Matt See, worked on this project too.  Donald also did some aviation projects. He knew that he wanted to go more of an “industry, government route” rather than academia. He now works at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab doing military healthcare research. He enjoys his position because it’s not exclusively industry, it has that research component. He loves that he’s doing impactful work for many different spaces–military, navy, COVID research–and is involved in both the research and its implementation. 

Matt’s sister and her husband actually met at CHEPS! Before he came to UofM he met Dr. Cohn at the wedding and she convinced him to apply to work at CHEPS. He initially came into school as a Chem major planning to go to Med School. He found out rather quickly that he is much more interested in research than practicing medicine. He is now at UC Berkeley working to get his Ph.D. in Chemistry. He loves how specialized his education is at Berkeley. There are no prerequisites, so you can just take classes you’re genuinely interested in and want to take. He is excited to be getting more involved in the lab this semester because of loosened COVID restrictions. 

Pushpendra worked at CHEPS for over a year and is now getting his Ph.D. at Dartmouth focusing on optimization in the micro-mobility field. This involves electric bikes and scooters. He looks at where and how they should be located, what should their fares be, and the strategy for making these types of decisions. He actually is working with one of Dr. Cohn’s lab mates from her time at MIT!

In the Q&A portion of the presentation, Leena, a current CHEPS Ph.D. student, said, “Don’t worry about the name of the school. Worry about the advisor you are going to have.” All the other speakers shared this sentiment. They said this relationship paired with the work environment should be what you consider the most. 4-6 years is a long time, and getting a Ph.D. is incredibly difficult. They said to make sure that research is really what you want to be doing because then the hard work will be worth it.

-Written by Madelaine Emsden, IOE Undergraduate Student

Eli's Presentation Screenshot

July 30th, 2021

On Friday, August 30th, CHEPS alum Eli Sherman joined us over Zoom to give an intro on machine learning and its applications in healthcare. Eli worked at CHEPS in 2015 and 2016 while he was earning his B.S. in Computer Science. He is now completing a Ph.D. in Computer Science at The Johns Hopkins University.

Eli began by discussing what machine learning is. He clarified that a lot of people think the machine is doing all the work in machine learning but “In reality, it’s the human that’s making the decision. If the human is telling the machine what to do, that’s different than the machine making the choices.” He then went on to describe some of the differences between supervised and unsupervised learning.

Eli shared some current case studies of healthcare-related machine learning. First, he shared a case study out of Johns Hopkins concerning sepsis. Sepsis is a bad systemic bacterial infection. Early detection is incredibly important. The case study uses time series modeling and latent risk estimation to look at the data collected about a patient and determine how far away the patient is from being septic. Secondly, he shared some work he’s a part of on analyzing language used on social media to look at population-level mental health. The study predicted depression based on the content of online posts.

Eli concluded by emphasizing how important it is to consider potential bias in machine learning. He shared some information from the article “Machine Bias” on Pro Publica which showed that machine learning used to predict recidivism is biased against black people.

Thank you to Eli for an engaging and informative talk!

-Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Mollison Lunch and Learn

July 23rd, 2021

For July 23rd’s Lunch and Learn, we were joined by CHEPS alum Paige Mollison. Paige was a CHEPSter from 2015 to 2016 and made the most of her time at CHEPS by joining the Provider and Block scheduling teams and presenting her work at a conference in 2016. Billy and Paige even went on to win an award at that conference!

After graduating in May of 2016, Paige began a full-time position at HealthRise, somewhat unexpectedly. Throughout her recruiting experience, Paige wanted to do clinical process improvement at a big firm. Little did she know that she would instead end up at a small consulting firm of only 30 employees. However, Paige has enjoyed her time at HealthRise, even as it has grown to a larger, nationwide company. HealthRise, as a firm, drives financial improvement throughout the reimbursement process for hospitals. There are many points throughout this process where failure can occur, and HealthRise aims to lower this failure rate. Paige reminded us to keep an open mind about the type of job you want because of her own experience.

During her five years at HealthRise, Paige has had the opportunity to switch roles twice. Within six months of starting, Paige advanced from an internal role to a travel-focused, client-based role. She believed this better aligned with her company’s long-term goals of moving from a local to a nationwide consulting base. Paige switched roles again in 2018 when she noticed how inefficient recording was for her clients. After switching roles, she started researching how to solve this problem and came across Tableau, which she successfully pitched to her manager and VP. She summarized by telling us to not be afraid of being agile and making intentional career changes, especially at smaller companies where there is more flexibility within your role.

Paige went on to give more examples of how HealthRise has been a great company to work for over the years. In 2019, Paige’s boyfriend had to move to Texas for a new job, and when Paige asked her manager about relocation, they did not hesitate to allow the relocation. In 2020, Paige decided to go back to school to get an MBA. HealthRise not only offered to pay for part of her degree but also helped adjust her schedule so that she could study and take the GMAT. Paige reminded us to not underestimate the value of a supportive company when evaluating where to accept an offer.

Paige wrapped up her talk by reiterating some key points: keep an open mind about the type of job you want, don’t be afraid to be agile and make intentional career moves, the job you applied for doesn’t have to be the job you end up in, and don’t underestimate the value of a supportive company. With that, Paige opened the floor for questions.

One of the main questions asked of Paige was how her engineering background, including CHEPS, helped her get to where she is now. To this, Paige responded that being able to think logically and in a problem-solving manner has been very helpful since consulting is also problem-solving. For things unfamiliar to her, she was able to find a mentor at work to shadow and learn from in a hands-on manner. CHEPS, in particular, taught her how to handle clients and communicate with them in an effective way. She next answered questions about how COVID has impacted her company and how it functions, to which she responded by saying that it has made their IT infrastructure much stronger by shifting to fully remote and also made HealthRise more flexible in general. She mentioned how they’ll likely see a hybrid model now, where traveling will depend on the client’s preference.

Thanks again to Paige for the insightful talk and valuable conversation!

-Written by Heli Patel, BME Master’s Student

July 16th, 2021

It was exciting to have CHEPS alum Ryan Chen visit on Friday, July 16th for a virtual Lunch and Learn. Ryan graduated from The University of Michigan in 2014 with a dual bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering and Euphonium Performance. He went on to earn a Master’s in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford, then spent several years as a Basketball Data Scientist for the Orlando Magic. His next venture is pursuing a law degree at Harvard starting in Fall 2021.

As an undergraduate, Ryan knew research experience would be important to his future career so he pursued the opportunity to work on airline research with Professor Amy Cohn. As his work with Professor Cohn continued he got the opportunity to be involved with CHEPS right at the beginning. “That was a wild west of a time,” he said. “Seeing all of that take shape over time was pretty cool.” He said that experience gave him a sense of what research life was like, made him a competitive applicant, and allowed him to build several strong relationships that are still important to him today.

Ryan originally thought he might want to pursue a Ph.D. but, while at Stanford, he realized he had developed the technical capabilities to do interesting work in sports analytics. That and the realization that he wanted to leave grad school, led to him getting a job with his favorite hometown team, the Orlando Magic. In his position, he focused mostly on machine learning models for the NBA draft.

Basketball and healthcare engineering might not seem too similar but Ryan talked to CHEPS students about a thread that was important in both: the ability to communicate technical information to a non-technical audience. He said, “In a basketball context most people don’t have a technical background and it’s similar to CHEPS in that way. Tech com is super valuable but there’s a lot of perspective in doing it in a real scenario.”

He mentioned some principles he’s found useful. The first was “relationships come first.” He recommended starting a collaboration by identifying a small easy problem to fix to you’re your collaborator you can work together well. Over time you can work up to bigger projects and will have developed trust with your collaborators. Additionally, he emphasized “the power of iteration,” recommending talking with collaborators regularly throughout developing a solution. This gives more insight on all sides and develops a sense of security in how projects are progressing. He also stressed, that while you may have the technical know-how, your collaborators will have so much domain-specific knowledge that is key to solving the problem.

Thanks to Ryan for a great talk and for answering a wide variety of questions in our Q&A. He had some particularly insightful thoughts on weighing big life and career decisions.

-Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

bassel and lauren with skeleton

July 2nd, 2021

On July 2nd, 2021, UM medical school students and CHEPS alumni Lauren Hirth (BME ’19) and Bassel Salka (IOE ’19) shared their experiences as engineers pursuing medicine in a virtual Lunch & Learn with CHEPS students. Lauren and Bassel both joined CHEPS in 2016 and remained with the Center until their graduation in 2019, after which they both pursued research outside of Michigan for one year before starting as students at UM’s medical school in 2020. Lauren described her decision to pursue BME as her undergraduate major as a way to marry her fascination with engineering with her interest in medicine. Having a degree in engineering left the door open for her to find a career in engineering if she ultimately chose that route. However, her experiences with patient-oriented work tilted her decision in favor of studying medicine. She feels that the University of Michigan is a great place for someone with interdisciplinary interests to study medicine because of how strong so many departments here are.

When asked about how to get into medical school as an engineering student, Bassel leaned into the passion, skills, and network that engineering students have. Students who pursue engineering degrees but are interested in medicine tend to love engineering for a reason, as he does, which shines brightly when bringing the two fields together in applications. Bassel also felt that engineering gives students substantial technical skills through both coursework and unique work opportunities. Such engineering-centered activities stand out in a large pool of applicants. As such, engineering students tend to find themselves compared to many other pre-med students less frequently than they might otherwise, both during their education, when interactions with other pre-meds are more limited as engineers, and during the application process.

Bassel explained that exciting opportunities can often be obtained through good connections. Indeed, he found that his connections through CHEPS helped him to land several work and research positions before he enrolled in medical school. Finally, Bassel rounded out this part of the discussion by explaining that medical school is not inherently more challenging for past engineering students, despite the differences in material and pedagogy. What matters most in his eyes is how effectively one works, not necessarily how hard one works.

Lauren and Bassel both described how their experiences in undergrad helped them decide on medicine as a career and how their experiences have translated to medical school. Lauren felt that the hands-on and experiential components of her education and extracurricular involvements were key in her decision. At CHEPS, she spoke to dental school faculty and did hands-on work in clinical settings; through BME, she took a Clinical Observation and Needs Finding course and worked on a senior design project that designed a mobility device for a toddler. Bassel found that his experience in a challenging engineering curriculum and on-the-fly learning in engineering jobs made him resourceful and “comfortable with being uncomfortable,” both qualities that translate beautifully to medical school.

Ultimately, both Lauren and Bassel are grateful for the experiences and mindset that having an engineering background instilled in them, and they feel that they have been able to succeed in medical school because of them, not in spite of them. Bassel sees engineering playing a key role in his career as a physician, while Lauren is keeping an open mind and will continue to explore during her time at UM’s medical school. Both emphasized that individuals who particularly enjoy working directly with patients consider patient care professions, regardless of background.

— Written by Dipra Debnath, BME Master’s Student

colleen mcnamee talk

June 25, 2021

On June 25th, Colleen McNamee, Career Services Manager at the CoE Career Resources Center, presented during the CHEPS Lunch and Learn. In her talk, Colleen shared her knowledge on how engineering students should evaluate job offers and provided many great tips along the way that apply to all students as well. First, Colleen acknowledged that the job search process is a situationally based topic and offered her help to any student that reached out through her email then broke down the topic into four sections.

Job Offer: Offers are typically extended from an employer through the phone or via email. It is important to first express appreciation for the offer and ask for an official offer letter regardless of the situation. Do not feel pressured to respond to the offer immediately and avoid accepting the offer on the spot. It is critical that students fully review the offer because there are often components of an offer that students do not think to evaluate. Make sure that the decision deadline is clearly stated by the employer and in writing. Usually, students receive 1 to 3 weeks to accept or decline an offer depending on the circumstance.

Evaluating the Offer: Factors to consider when evaluating a job offer include work experience (is this job what you want to do?), salary and benefits (is this a competitive salary?), geography (what is the cost of living here?), work culture (are your values in line with the company’s values/mission?), advancement opportunities (is this industry favorable long term?), and various personal factors. Do some introspection to decide what factors are the most important to you as an individual while trying to avoid overvaluing a single part of the job offer.

Vital to making a well-informed choice on a job offer is an understanding of total compensation and employee benefits. Your total compensation in a job offer is essentially the total amount of money you as an employee cost the company. This includes your salary, potential bonuses, and the value of your benefits. A word from the wise, make sure to read the fine print when it comes to sign-on bonuses. They are often paid at the start of the job, are taxable, and must be repaid if you leave the company too quickly after being hired. Additionally, it is important to understand the health plans, life insurance, stock options, wellness options, tuition reimbursement, and 401K/403B plans potentially offered to you as well.

Meeting the Deadline: The most difficult part about meeting an offer deadline is potential conflicts between other job offers or prescheduled interviews with different companies. It is good practice to learn how to respectfully request an extension on your offer deadline when you are in a pinch. Reach out to the employer before the deadline via phone or email and graciously request and extension while providing legitimate reasons for the extension. In addition, after accepting the job offer make sure to discontinue campus interviews in accordance with the cancellation policy stated in the ECRC Job Search Code of Ethics and to avoid reneging your commitment.

Negotiation: Knowing how to negotiate an offer and advocate for yourself as a professional is an important skill for both your first job and the rest of your career. Some items you might consider negotiating are salary, start date, time off, relocation, and professional development. Make sure to negotiate in person or over the phone and know all your requests at once with a rationale for each. Research information from at least three different sources such as the ECRC Salary Report, Salary.com, Glassdoor, O*NET, or the Salary Calculator Center to gain a holistic understanding of the typical salary in your field and what you should expect in a job offer.

With this information you are geared up and ready to accept your first job offer! Make sure to consider all aspects of the offer and opportunity, do your research, and maintain a positive tone throughout the process to keep a good relationship with the company in the future. Many thanks to Colleen for sharing this helpful advice with us!

— Written by Nathan Smith, Kinesiology Undergraduate Student

Engagement

June 18, 2021
CHEPS alums Nina Scheinberg and Mark Grum are engaged! Nina said, “I proposed to Mark in the Diag with a photo album of all of the pictures we had taken over the last three-and-some years, and the last page said, ‘Mark, will you marry me?’ And he said yes! Our sisters were hiding nearby to snap photos, and we all celebrated afterward at Ashley’s.”

Nina’s busy scheduling her school’s classes for next year and is looking forward to a relaxing summer break after a challenging year of teaching 6th grade. Mark is traveling quite a bit as a Manager of Analytics at GE Healthcare. Congrats to both of them on the engagement and their professional accomplishments! It’s nice to see CHEPSters and CHEPS romances thrive.

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Person Headshot

May 28, 2021
Alexander Hallway joined CHEPS students for a Lunch and Learn on Friday, May 28th. Alex is the Michigan Pain-control Optimization Pathway Lead at Michigan Medicine.

Alex started by sharing some facts about the opioid epidemic. Michigan has concerning levels of opioid deaths and those levels have risen in the past ten years. Synthetic opioids are a rising problem in the US and Michigan. Most opioids prescribed after outpatient surgery go unused. Medication disposal can be challenging in the U.S. so many opioids end up sitting in medicine cabinets at home. People who misuse opioids often get them from friends or relatives.

The Michigan Pain Optimization Pathway (POP) utilizes three steps to address the over-prescription of opioids. First, pre-surgery patients are educated about the risks of opioids and also told about alternatives to pain relief including holistic approaches. Secondly, they have worked to standardize best practices for the prescription of opioids after surgery, and post-op they’ve worked to increase evidence-based prescribing of opioid alternatives.

In 2018 POP was tested at Michigan Medicine. Patients received a survey after their surgery and results showed that patient satisfaction was high, pain levels were low, and patients’ needs were met with far fewer opioids prescribed. In short, conservative prescribing of opioids meets patient needs and results in many fewer pills left over after surgery. The team is now working to have a greater impact by expanding efforts to different specialties and providers. They are also expanding beyond Michigan Medicine to the whole state of Michigan.

Thank you to Alex for taking the time to share his work with us!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Adam VanDeusen

May 17, 2021
Congratulations are in order! CHEPSter Adam VanDeusen had his Industrial and Operations Engineering Ph.D. defense on May 17th, 2021. He presented his work on “An Industrial Engineering-Based Approach to Designing and Evaluating Healthcare Systems to Improve Veteran Access to Care” and officially became Dr. VanDeusen.

Access is a big challenge for rural veterans especially and veterans report greater delays in seeking care than non-veterans. As part of his Ph.D. research, Adam developed facility location models that assist VA leaders in understanding which clinic locations should offer eye disease screening, what provider type(s) should staff each location, and which patients should be screened each location. The models developed utilize mixed-integer programming and consider several objectives, including screening the most patients possible or minimizing cost, subject to a set of constraints. These models can help the VA understand how to organize eye care providers throughout a region, allowing more veterans to access preventive eye care.

CHEPSters past and present attended Adam’s virtual defense as well as many of his IOE colleagues and, of course, CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn who was also his thesis chair. His committee was Professor Seth Guikema, Professor Lisa Prosser, and Dr. Sameer Saini. At the end of his presentation, Adam thanked many people who supported him and contributed to his work including his committee, all of the CHEPS students who have worked on his projects through the years, CHEPS staff and faculty, and his family and friends. Congratulations on your successful defense, Dr. VanDeusen!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Ziqi Wang

May 4, 2021
Fall 2020 IOE and HEPS Masters graduate Ziqi Wang is now working as a data scientist at the Institute for Hospital Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing where she has the opportunity to work with one of her undergraduate professors, Prof. Xie. They work with Chinese hospitals to help them deliver high-quality and patient-centered care. Ziqi said that, in the first months of her job, “I found what I learned in CHEPS is really meaningful.” Congrats on the new job, Ziqi!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

Junhong Guo

April 8, 2021
We have a new doctor of the Ph.D. variety in the house! Junhong Guo successfully defended his Industrial and Operations Engineering Ph.D. dissertation on April 8, 2021. According to Junhong’s abstract, “Personnel scheduling is one of the most critical components in logistical planning for many practical areas, particularly in transportation, public services, and clinical operations. Because manpower is both an expensive and scarce resource, even a tiny improvement in utilization can provide huge expense savings for businesses. Additionally, a slightly better assignment schedule of the involved professionals can significantly increase their work satisfaction, which can in return greatly improve the quality of the services customers or patients receive.”

His dissertation titled “Optimization Approaches for Solving Large-Scale Personnel Scheduling Problems” looked at three real-world personnel scheduling problems in aviation and healthcare and proposed new models and solution approaches to address challenges in each instance. In addition to his committee and several current colleagues, a few CHEPS alums who had worked with Junhong attended the virtual defense to support their fellow CHEPSter. Congratulations, Dr. Guo!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

paige mollison engagement

April 5, 2021

CHEPS alum and current Senior Manager at HealthRise Solutions Paige Mollison is engaged! Paige’s fiancé Max proposed on a recent ski trip to Vail. Paige said, “We were walking between Lionshead and Vail Village on a little path by a creek, and next thing I knew Max was on one knee and my best friend (who is also a photographer) pops out of the bushes. It was wonderful!” Congrats to Paige and Max!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff
anna m match day

March 25, 2021

CHEPS alum Anna (Munaco) Rujan got some great news on Match Day! Anna, who worked with CHEPS while pursuing her undergraduate degree and is now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan, has matched to Northwestern Obstetrics and Gynecology for her residency. Congratulations, Dr. Rujan! Northwestern is lucky to have you.
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff
cohn ioe lunch and learn zoom

March 12, 2021
On Friday, March 12, CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn gave a virtual Lunch and Learn for the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department. She touched on seven different COVID-related problems she’s worked on over the past year, what it was like to be a part of a team solving these problems, and how Industrial Engineering can be an effective way to solve these problems. From these experiences, she found reinforcement of the importance of multidisciplinary work and the strength of multidisciplinary teams in solving complex problems. While there were almost always disagreements in these teams, not surprising given the variety of perspectives “at the table”, Prof. Cohn offered some tips for dealing with differences of opinions. These include starting with common values, a clear agenda/plan for meetings, ensuring that everyone feels comfortable sharing their perspectives, and establishing who, at the end of the day, has the authority to make final decisions. Prof. Cohn also reflected on how generous the people she has been working with on these various projects have been, both in terms of time and in terms of welcoming crazy/wild ideas without judgment. Additionally, Prof. Cohn emphasized the importance of not losing what we’ve learned during the pandemic as things “go back to normal”. The following are a few of the projects, Prof. Cohn discussed:

Aerosolization: In March, a major question was “Does the use of heated high-flow nasal cannula increase aerosolization of COVID-19 and what are the implications of this?”. Using a high-flow nasal cannula is an alternative to putting a patient on a ventilator, which should really be a last resort since being on a ventilator is not the most healthy thing for the patient. In the short-term, the question was if this was even a problem and how we would measure it. The team found that we have ways of measuring things regarding aerosolization that we didn’t think we could measure.

N95 Reprocessing: Given the shortage of N-95 masks, could we find a way of reprocessing them? This was a prominent question in April, as the supply chain of N-95 masks was strained. In the short-term, a multidisciplinary team figured out the best way to treat masks to deactivate the virus, evaluate structural integrity, and established logistics of collecting, reprocessing, and redistributing masks. In the long-term, this work sparks conversations about the supply of PPE, the risks in the supply chain, and alternatives to new acquisition

Field Hospital Staffing: At the peak volume last summer, we needed to prepare for the demand for COVID care exceeding hospital capacity. In the short-term, this entailed building staffing models for a 1000-bed field hospital. In the long-term, this work can be related to and build upon other complex combinatorial optimization problems, such as staffing levels, shift scheduling, and stochasticity. Prof. Cohn gave some valuable advice to those going into industry or service environments for their careers: Do what you have to do to get the job done! You won’t have the luxury to explore the problem as deeply as you want or spend as much time as you want, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do quality work on the timeline necessary!

In addition to the projects discussed, Prof. Cohn imparted some advice for us students. Firstly, it’s really important to build professional and personal relationships. Relating to that, step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to participate in things that don’t fit neatly into your educational or career plan because you never know what you could get out of that experience! You may make a connection with someone that becomes very valuable later or has a more profound impact on you than you may initially realize. Of course, there is an obvious need for balance here. Being able to say “no” to things is really important and make sure that what you do with your time and energy aligns with your values. Finally, be willing to pivot and adjust “the plan”. Whether this is your own academic/career plan or a plan on a project, it’s important to be flexible and change directions when necessary!
— Written by Emmett Springer, BME Undergraduate Student

Joe East

March 2, 2021
CHEPS alum Joe East is back in Michigan! Joe is now Director of Strategic Integration at Beaumont Urgent Care. Joe graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a dual master’s in Industrial and Operations Engineering and Health Care Administration. After graduation, he spent nearly six years working at Maine Medical Center, most recently as Director of Patient Flow. Joe’s wife Nicole has also started a dental practice in Grand Ledge, Michigan. Joe says he’s excited to be back in Michigan closer to family and advancing his career. And, of course, we here at CHEPS are happy to have him back in the state! Congrats, Joe and Nicole!
— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff

van sumeren w21 lunch and learn

February 17, 2021
On February 17th, U of M IOE alumni and longtime friend of CHEPS, Mark Van Sumeren, presented at a CHEPS Lunch and Learn. In his talk, Mark discussed many important topics related to our future with COVID-19. The projection models he has been developing can help to answer questions of how to reach herd immunity in the US and when can we get back to normal.

One of the first questions Mark had to address in his models was how we define “normal.” Normalcy amidst COVID-19 can be measured by the percentage of the population that is immune, or by other standards such as the reproduction rate of the virus. Mark described the term “herd immunity” to be a certain level of immunity against COVID-19 across a population such that the virus will become more of a nuisance, rather than a crisis, somewhat like the flu. The percentage of a population that needs to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity is typically thought to be in the range of 60% to 80%.

Mark went on to discuss the inputs, assumptions, and variables that go into his projection models. Model inputs include the vaccines that have Emergency Use Authorization through the FDA, the quantity of those vaccines that have been given, and the effectiveness of the vaccines. So far, only two vaccinations have been authorized (Moderna and Pfizer), but Mark anticipates Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to be authorized in early March and Novavax’s in late spring or early summer. The assumptions made in Mark’s models include the amount of natural immunity for those who have previously contracted the virus, and there are a number of decision variables that incorporate the new COVID-19 variations which are emerging around the world and vaccine hesitancy within the US, accounting for the people who are resistant to receiving a vaccine. Mark believes that vaccine hesitancy will decrease in the coming months because many Americans have a “wait and see” mentality, which will shift once more people around them begin to receive vaccines.

In Mark’s modeling, he began with a baseline which starts in early 2021 and is projected out to December 2021. The baseline simply projects immunity levels if 1 million doses are administered every day in the US, there’s a 65% vaccine willingness, and no outside factors such as natural immunity or other vaccines getting authorized are taken into consideration. This baseline alone would be inadequate in reaching 60% immunity in the US by the end of 2021. Mark then went on to model the Biden administration’s plan for accelerated vaccination rates, which would get us to 60% immunity by the end of the year. He also modeled the current US projection where natural immunity and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are added in, further increasing the immunity levels. However, when emerging variants are taken into consideration, immunity levels are set back by four to six weeks from the model without these variants. Finally, Mark modeled the projection if vaccine willingness dropped to 50%. This change would cause more long-term effects as vaccine supply catches up to demand.

From his projections, Mark predicts that non-priority groups can begin to expect vaccinations by late April or early May of 2021, and the US will reach a more “normal” state with herd immunity of 60% by June or July of 2021. However, he also warned that we will need to be cautious in the fall as more emerging variants from the developing world may spread to the US. To end the presentation on a positive note, Mark also shared that he is optimistic about being able to watch Michigan football play in the Big House this fall.
— Written by Caroline Hirth, IOE Undergraduate Student

ers21 prenatal

February 5, 2021
Four CHEPS teams presented their work at the Engineering Graduate Research Symposium on Friday, February 5th, 2021. The event, held virtually this year, included sessions for both undergraduate and graduate presenters. CHEPS students presented the following posters:

Each CHEPS team did an impressive job and got positive feedback from the event judges. Advaidh Venkat and the GI Clinical Recovery team, which also includes Adam VanDeusen, Che-Yi Liao, CHEPS Faculty Director Amy M. Cohn, Dr. Jacob Kurlander, and Dr. Sameer Saini were recognized with 3rd place in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

— Written by Liz Fisher, CHEPS Staff