Resoundingly Human, the new podcast from INFORMS, is dedicated to bringing O.R. and analytics to life by highlighting the incredible contributions of the men and women who are using O.R. and analytics to save lives, save money, and solve problems.
Resoundingly Human: Legalizing cannabis: Do licensed stores increase consumption?
16:49The U.S. has a complicated history with cannabis. Designated an illegal substance for decades, in recent years we’ve witnessed a greater understanding of its medicinal potential with a growing number of states legalizing it for that purpose, as well as for recreational use. However, federally it remains classified as an illegal “Schedule 1 drug” under the Controlled Substances Act. I guess it’s still pretty complicated. Last year however, a bill passed in the House of Representatives that would have legalized the use of cannabis federally (but died in the Senate). In addition, more senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle are expressing an interest in decriminalizing cannabis use, so it looks like things will continue to change. Joining me to share some insight on what the future could hold for cannabis use in the U.S. – including the impact of legalized stores on overall cannabis usage and user numbers – is Michael Armstrong with Brock University in Ontario, Canada, where cannabis use was legalized three years ago.
Resoundingly Human: COVID-19 and breast cancer: The impact of interruptions to preventative care
20:34During the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed the world had ground to a halt as efforts were made across the globe to slow the spread of the virus, including stay at home orders, and in many areas the closing of nonessential businesses and services. Unfortunately, this impacted many non-emergency medical procedures and appointments, including screenings, scans, tests and other measures deemed elective. But what are the long-term implications of this gap in preventive medicine, a gap extended for many by an avoidance of medical facilities as potential sites of infection for the virus until the vaccine became widely available? Joining me to discuss the predicted impact on one of the most common cancers among women – breast cancer – for which preventative care including regular exams and early detection are key is Oguzhan Alagoz with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Resoundingly Human: Flying high with analytics: Helping the Air Force address its pilot shortage
12:30The fascinating history of operations research can trace some of its earliest applications back to the military during World War II. Since then, its role has continued to grow and evolve, and today it is still a vital tool in helping our modern military address some of its most complex challenges, from logistics, to equipment, to personnel, and more. In this episode, I am joined by Phil Jenkins with the Air Force Institute of Technology to discuss a new study, “An Air Force Pilot Training Recommendation System using Advanced Analytical Methods,” that is slated for publication in the INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics. We’ll discuss how the application of existing O.R. and analytics methods in novel new ways can help address challenges associated with training U.S. Air Force pilots.
Resoundingly Human: An update on INFORMS: Continued progress on important initiatives
16:29In this episode, I am pleased to once again be joined by our 2021 INFORMS president Steve Graves. As we enter the latter half of the year, we’ll take a look at the current status of INFORMS, the continued progress of the goals outlined in the new Strategic Plan unveiled at the beginning of the year, and the upcoming 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting, featuring a flexible format for both in-person and virtual attendees.
Resoundingly Human: A sneak peek of the 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting, featuring host Brad Weaber
13:23For today's episode, we'll be doing something a little different. Recently I was joined at INFORMS headquarters by Brad Weaber, our wonderfully dynamic and engaging host for the upcoming 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting. This year's meeting features a flexible format, with the opportunity to participate in-person in Anaheim, CA, as well as a fully virtual meeting platform that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. A self-described cruise director on land, Brad will be helping bridge the gap between in-person and virtual attendees, igniting conversations and sparking lasting connections, as well as helping to highlight the many unique features of the upcoming meeting. The following is an excerpt of the video recording of our conversation, where we discuss Brad’s background, his role in both the virtual and in-person meeting settings, what he’s most looking forward to, and what he’s enjoyed learning about INFORMS and its members. To learn more or register for the 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting as well as to see video of our conversation, visit meetings.informs.org/anaheim2021.
Resoundingly Human: Helping valuable donor milk reach infants in need
20:03Over 15 million infants around the world are born prematurely each year and can experience health complications and lengthy hospitalizations as a result of underdevelopment and immature immune systems. One of the best resources for these babies can come from their mother’s breast milk, which has unique growth factors and nutritional qualities that can help combat a number of serious conditions that can impact premature infants. But for babies whose mothers may be unable to produce milk due to their baby’s premature birth, or have health conditions or medications that preclude breastfeeding, and a physician recommends breast milk as the preferred choice for those infants’ needs, what are the options? The answer comes from a resource that we might not all be familiar with. You’ve heard of blood banks where blood donated by the public is having a life-saving impact? Did you know the same resource exists for breast milk, with donor banks across the country providing this valuable resource to these tiny patients?! Joining me to discuss work being done to help improve access to these donor milk resources and ensure their beneficial impact can reach even more infants in need is Lisa Maillart with the University of Pittsburgh. She and a team of researchers partnered with the largest donor milk bank in the U.S. to help improve their existing systems and processes and realize significant outcomes. Their work will be featured in an upcoming edition of the INFORMS journal Service Science.
Resoundingly Human: Preserving the arts through the pandemic
12:04While the COVID-19 pandemic has touched virtually every aspect of our day-to-day lives, its impact on the performing arts has been especially significant. At the height of the pandemic, many theatres and other venues were closed, including all Broadway theatres in the U.S., and London’s West End theatres, resulting in substantial financial losses. As restrictions loosened and theatres across the globe began to reopen, the challenge then was how to begin successfully and safely welcoming patrons back into performances. Researchers in the Netherlands created an optimization model that was implemented by the Music Building Eindhoven (MBE), enabling the venue to ultimately return to 70% total capacity for an evening’s performances, resulting in significant financial benefit. Joining me to share their research, how the team came together, and the impact of their work once implemented is Frits Spieksma with the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Resoundingly Human: More flexibility and a better balance: The future of work in the U.S.
20:03In March of 2020, our lives were turned upside down when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent stay at home orders necessitated that our homes also become our offices. Over the ensuing months, we learned to balance the many new challenges of working from home – turning our couches and kitchen tables into our new offices, remembering to unmute on Zoom calls, managing interruptions from kids and pets – all under the cloud of a global pandemic. But with many organizations beginning a return to the office after more than a year of working from home, it raises questions about what the future of work in the U.S will look like, with many employees reluctant to a return to the way things were. Joining me to discuss lessons learned, where we found success and where we fell short, and what lasting changes we could see to how and where we work, is Anita Williams Woolley with Carnegie Mellon University.
Resoundingly Human: Help wanted: The reasons behind the current labor shortage
15:12During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 9.6 million U.S. workers between the ages of 16 and 64 lost their jobs. But in the past several months as the majority of the country has opened back up, we’ve seen more and more darkened windows and closed signs replaced by help wanted notices. What’s been surprising however is the number of these help wanted signs we see remain in place, followed by reports of a labor shortage here in the U.S. So what happened? Have individuals taken the opportunity to transition to new positions or different fields? Are employees able to leverage the labor shortages into opportunities for better pay and working environments? Joining me to help bring some clarity to the labor shortage questions is Robert Handfield with North Carolina State University.
Resoundingly Human: From second waves to new variants: The progression of the COVID-19 pandemic
27:52Just over a year ago, I was joined by Julie Swann with North Carolina State University to discuss what, at that time, were fears of a second wave of the coronavirus, and to reflect on how the virus had changed nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives, seemingly overnight. Now nearly a year later, I am so pleased to welcome Julie back to review what has occurred since we last spoke and to discuss, almost incredulously, growing concern over not just another wave of the virus, but a new variant of the virus, the delta variant, and its impact on steps taken this spring and summer toward reopening and a return to normal.