Health Applications Society Online Seminar on on Friday, July 22 by Professor Carri Chan

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INFORMS Health Applications Society Online Seminar Series

Jul 18, 2022, 9:33:17 AM7/18/22
to INFORMS Health Applications Society Online Seminar Series
Dear colleagues,

We are excited to announce our next HAS Online Seminar by Dr. Carri Chan, from Columbia Business School. The details of the seminar are below. Click here to register for the event!

Interpretable Machine Learning for Resource Allocation with Application to Ventilator Triage
Friday, July 22, 1-2pm ET (10-11 am PT)

Abstract: Rationing of healthcare resources is a challenging decision that policy makers and providers may be forced to make during a pandemic, natural disaster, or mass casualty event. Well-defined guidelines to triage scarce life- saving resources must be designed to promote transparency, trust and consistency. To facilitate buy-in and use during high stress situations, these guidelines need to be interpretable and operational. We propose a novel data- driven model to compute interpretable triage guidelines based on policies for Markov Decision Process that can be represented as simple sequences of decision trees (tree policies). In particular, we characterize the properties of optimal tree policies and present an algorithm based on dynamic programming recursions to compute good tree policies. We utilize this methodology to obtain simple, novel triage guidelines for ventilator allocations for COVID-19 patients, based on real patient data from Montefiore hospitals. We also compare the performance of our guidelines to the official New York State guidelines that were developed in 2015 (well before the COVID-19 pandemic). Our empirical study shows that the number of excess deaths associated with ventilator shortages could be reduced significantly using our policy. Our work highlights the limitations of the existing official triage guidelines, which need to be adapted specifically to COVID-19 before being successfully deployed.

Bio: Carri W. Chan is the John A. Howard Professor of Business and the Faculty Director of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program at Columbia Business School. Her research is in the area of healthcare operations management. Her primary focus is in data-driven modeling of complex stochastic systems, efficient algorithmic design for queuing systems, dynamic control of stochastic processing systems, and econometric analysis of healthcare systems. Her research combines empirical and stochastic modeling to develop evidence-based approaches to improve patient flow through hospitals. She has worked with clinicians and administrators in numerous hospital systems including Northern California Kaiser Permanente, New York Presbyterian, and Montefiore Medical Center. She is the recipient of a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award, the 2016 Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) Wickham Skinner Early Career Award, and the 2019 MSOM Young Scholar Prize. She currently serves as a co-Department Editor for the Healthcare Management Department at Management Science. She received her BS in electrical engineering from MIT and MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

We are also honored to have more extraordinary speakers lined up for the upcoming seminars in the following months. Please block the same time slot 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT) on 4th Friday of August-September on your calendar for:
  • August: Details coming very soon!
  • September 23, Professor Stefan Scholtes, University of Cambridge
We would like to thank everyone who attended previous seminars! If you couldn't make it before, now you can view the recordings following the links archived in the "Past Seminars" Section of our HAS seminar webpage. If you have any questions, let us know at

Feel free to share it with anyone who could be interested among your colleagues and student groups.

Looking forward to seeing you there and then!

Best regards,

HAS Online Seminar Organization Team
Sanjay Mehrotra (Northwestern)
Sait Tunc (Virginia Tech)
Qiushi Chen (Penn State)
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