CHEPS Pulse: Tales of Summer, Scheduling, and Ph.D.s, June 2021

In This Issue

Ph.D. Changing of the Guard

We’re lucky to have some amazing Ph.D. students at CHEPS. This summer, we watched two of our CHEPSters successfully defend their Ph.D. work and become Dr. Adam VanDeusen and Dr. Junhong Guo. Adam and Junhong are CHEPSters for life so, while we’re sad to see them both leave Ann Arbor, we’re excited to keep in touch and see where their futures take them.

Adam will be a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Operations and Decision Technologies Department at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. “I love being in the classroom and I can’t wait to help students explore how to use operations research tools in fun and meaningful ways,” he said. “I’m so thankful to have gotten to work at CHEPS throughout my doctoral program – it is a really special place and has made my graduate experience joyful and rewarding.”

zoom presentation
Adam Van Deusen’s Defense
Billy Pozhel, Junhong Guo, Adam VanDeusen, and Amy Cohn
L to R: Billy Pozhel, Junhong Guo, Adam VanDeusen, and Amy Cohn celebrating Adam and Junhong successfully defending their Ph.D. research!

Junhong will be a Research Scientist at Amazon in Seattle and said, “There will be many challenging OR problems, arising from real-world businesses, and there will be opportunities for me to apply all I’ve learned during my Ph.D. study to tackle them, to truly make an impact on industry’s daily operations, and directly improve the service quality millions of customers can receive.” He also offered some advice for future Ph.D. students, “Be thirsty on learning new theorems/techniques/skills…. Ph.D. study can be hard, and cutting-edge research is supposed to be frustrating sometimes. You just need to believe in yourself and believe you can make it. Keep passionate about your work and research. You will be an expert in your field. And, Go Blue!”

junhong defense presentation
Junhong Guo’s Defense
Leena Ghrayeb

While it’s bittersweet to see Junhong and Adam leave, we have two excellent Industrial and Operations Ph.D. students currently working at CHEPS, Leena Ghrayeb and Makayla Roma. Leena is heading into the second year of her Ph.D. “Even though it’s virtual,” Leena said of the first year at CHEPS, “there’s been a really big sense of community in terms of the fact that everyone is willing to work with each other, it’s very collaborative. Even beyond that, there’s a sense of like, we’re all human and we all have things going on and there’s a huge emphasis on mental health and being healthy and I think that’s been especially helpful during the pandemic.” As student lead on the CHEPS Prenatal Team, Leena is working with her fellow CHEPSters and collaborator Dr. Alex Peahl on tailoring prenatal care pathways to better fit patient needs. Right now the team is working on a simulation to show how a unit would run with the new policies in place. She said, “It’s been really fun because there’s these two different components which seem like they serve different functions but they’re very much integrated. The data analysis supports the simulation and the simulation helps to support policies and decision making.”

Makayla Roma

Makayla is working at CHEPS this summer and starting her Ph.D. studies in the fall after completing her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering, Economics, and Political Science The University of Buffalo. Makayla said one of the deciding factors in her decision of where to pursue her Ph.D. was the opportunity to interact with the clinicians and patients who would be using and benefiting from the tools developed in her research work. “I’m pretty excited about – the biggest difference that I’ve noticed in CHEPS is that most of the work is actually focused on implementation and the operations side of things and that’s pretty unique. I think I’ll like that a lot,” she said.

Both Makayla and Leena also said they’re ready to enjoy in-person classes and in-person CHEPS events again soon!

Scheduling Summer at CHEPS

Anyone who has been at CHEPS in past summers probably knows that scheduling all of our project meetings is a Herculean task. We have eighteen active projects this summer and most students are on multiple teams. Students are also on administrative teams like the communications team, the CHEPS space revamp team, and the well-being at work team. Combine all that with faculty and staff schedules and people being in a variety of time zones, and scheduling daily meetings becomes a difficult puzzle.

Who better to solve that puzzle than CHEPS students? At the start of the semester, we issued a challenge. Students were sent a set of parameters and everyone was invited to submit a schedule. The best schedule would be used for the summer and the creator would get a prize. Students got bonus points for sharing how they created their schedule and incorporated all the parameters.

Heli Patel, a BME Master’s student, developed the winning schedule which has kept CHEPS running smoothly this summer. “I had the advantage of working on the schedule with Billy [Pozhel] and Tim [Breckwoldt] during the first week and so we made a draft,” she said. “But there were a lot more constraints and stuff for the actual summer challenge. So, the main thing that helped me was this grid that I made where I blocked off teams that can’t be scheduled with other teams. So like for example, Nurse Scheduling can’t go with Block because there’s members that are on both those teams. So that grid helped me a lot.”

“I wasn’t really expecting to win because I’m BME. I’ve never done anything like this,” she said. “I was like oh someone IOE is going to win but at least I tried.” But, proof that multi-disciplinary work often results in great solutions from unexpected places, the CHEPS staff found Heli’s schedule was the best fit for our summer operations. Heli also noted that even though she’s not on any of the CHEPS scheduling teams, working on the summer schedule gave her a great appreciation for scheduling work. Heli’s reward included a gigantic bouquet made of flowers from CHEPS staff member Gene Kim’s garden.

heli and laura
CHEPS Managing Director Laura McAndrew and Heli
Heli with flowers
Heli with her flowers (fresh from Gene Kim’s garden!)

Recent News

Twitter Takeover Tuesday

This summer, CHEPS students are taking over our Twitter account @UofMCHEPS every Tuesday to share a day in the life of a CHEPSter.

Maddy's Tweet

Madelaine Emsden’s #TakeoverTuesday

Fumiya Abe-Nornes’s #TakeoverTuesday

Emily's Tweet

Emily Lindblad’s #TakeoverTuesday

Claire's Tweet

Claire Dawson’s #TakeoverTuesday

CHEPS Student Blog Posts

CHEPS students blog to share life at CHEPS from the student perspective.

Center for Healthcare Engineering & Patient Safety | University of Michigan
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