Thursday, June 3, 2021

Tracking Down Who Was the First Female Full Professor in OR in the World and Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

In the past few days I have been quite busy and not just with the preparation of plenary talks for conferences this month and the writing of papers. I have been approached through emails by males in both the US and the UK to answer (or to try to answer) the following question - who was the first female Full Professor of Operations Research (OR) in the world? This question arose, and it is an important one, because of the passing of Dr. Ailsa Land, short of her 94th birthday, on May 16, 2021.  I had written a blogpost celebrating her and also Marguerite Frank, both then of age 93. Dr. Land was the recipient of the Harold Larnder Prize, the Beale Medal (first female to receive these major awards), and will also receive posthumously the EURO Gold Medal at the EURO 2021 Conference in Athens, Greece, next month. 

Please refer to this obituary for Dr. Land, prepared by the institution she had received her PhD from and had worked at for many years - the London School of Economics (LSE).

Graham Rand and Laszlo Vegh (who was prominent in the blogpost I noted above) were preparing another obituary for Dr. Ailsa Land and were wondering whether she may have been the first female Full Professor of  OR in the world. She received this title at LSE in 1980. I was also contacted by Mark Eisner, who chaired for many years the INFORMS History & Traditions Committee that I had also served on, trying to determine who was the first such female professor in the US to achieve the rank of Full Professor in OR. And, of course, my PhD advisor at Brown University, Stella Dafermos, about whom I have blogged on multiple occasions, came to mind, as did Judith Liebman, who, like Stella, received a PhD in OR from Johns Hopkins University. Stella received her PhD in 1968 and Judith in 1971. We knew that Judith had become Full Professor at the University of Illinois in 1984. I had written several obituaries when Stella Dafermos passed away in 1990 but these did not contain the year at which she became a Full Professor.

Time was running short and this morning a message came from the UK: "We are running out of time Anna." No pressure on me, of course! I then sent a message to Stella's husband, a Chaired Professor of Applied Math at Brown (and had sent multiple messages to others in the meantime), Dr. Constantine Dafermos. He graciously went to campus and told me that Stella became a Full Professor at Brown University in 1982 with appointments both in the Division of Applied Mathematics and Engineering. There is more to this, but left for another time and post.

I also sent a message out on Twitter and am grateful to all those across the globe who are trying to identify whether there was a female in OR who became a Full Professor before 1980.

In the meantime, Graham Rand, with support, has completed another obituary for Dr. Ailsa Land, and we feel quite "safe" in that she was the first female Full Professor of OR (called Operational Research) definitely in the UK, and probably in the world! If additional information to the contrary becomes available, you will hear from me. 

But the plot thickens. In trying to identify what year exactly Stella Dafermos became a Full Professor at Brown and I know that she was the first female Full Professor in both Applied Mathematics and in Engineering because I was her first PhD student and we worked closely together on many papers I came upon several "news releases" from Brown University that attributed others as being the "first." Stella, sadly, passed away at age 49 on April 1990, so she can't speak for herself but I can, so  I am.  The following article, from Brown University Engineering, no less, identifies the first female Full Professor of Engineering as getting this appointment in 2008 -- 26 years after Stella!

Giving credit where credit is due is imperative and I hope that my alma mater, Brown University, makes appropriate corrections! How easily, it seems, major institutions, and that includes research universities, can "forget" the legacy of females. 

I shared the above "oversights" with Professor Constantine Dafermos today, and he wrote me back a message that I will treasure, which included, in part: "... the obstacles that women of that generation had to overcome cannot be overemphasized. It is a good fortune that the success of several, though not enough, outstanding women like you have turned things around." 

As a scientist and as a researcher, we seek the truth. Much work remains to be done and speaking out plays a role. Thank you for reading! And, if anything needs correcting, please, let me know!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

In Appreciation of the Wonderful Guest Speakers in My Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare Class

As the semester draws to a close, as well as the academic year, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the wonderful guest speakers in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class this semester. In a class such as this, the students learn a tremendous amount from practitioners and, even more so, given their immense challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 18, 2021, we had the honor of hearing from Mr. Tim Pitoniak, who is a Regional Disaster Program Officer for the American Red Cross (ARC) in Massachusetts. Mr. Pitoniak spent the first 10 years of his Red Cross career in Greater New York where his focus was staffing, training, and partnerships. He assumed his position in Massachusetts in 2015 and has been the job director for multiple large operations, including the 2018 Lawrence gas explosion. He has regularly been deployed to national jobs, working in leadership roles for disasters all over the continental U.S.  and Puerto Rico. Mr. Pitoniak shared with us the challenges the Red Cross has faced in the pandemic and how it has been able to provide certain support services virtually, because of the need for social distancing. The students were amazed by the number of volunteers associated with the ARC and also how they are constantly adapting to provide a wide range of services, and not only to disaster victims.

On March 2, 2021, we were honored to have Dr. George Karagiannis Zoom in all the way from Athens, Greece for his guest lecture. Dr. Karagiannis is Greece's Deputy Secretary-General for Civil Protection, the US equivalent of Deputy FEMA Administrator. From 2016 to 2019, he was a Technical Officer at the European Commission Joint Research Center, where his area of expertise revolved around emergency management, critical infrastructure protection, and hybrid threats. Prior to joining the Joint Research Center, he was a Disaster Management Consultant. The title of his guest lecture was, "Humanitarian Needs Assessment & Information Management."  So many of the insights provided by Dr. Karagiannis resonated with the students, including his emphasis on the use of technology and even AI for needs assessment. And he also told the class that, despite what you see on TV and in the movies, one rarely gains much information from helicopter rides over disaster areas. Additional information and discussion during his great talk can be found on my blogpost here.

I am delighted that Dr. Karagiannis has accepted our invitation to be a plenary speaker at the next Dynamics of Disasters conference that I am, again, co-organizing with Professors Kotsireas and Pardalos, but this time it will be virtual. More information can be accessed here with additional information being posted in the coming weeks.

On March 11, 2021, the students and I were thrilled to have Ms, Dawn Brantley present to the class. She is the Assistant Director for Planning and Preparedness for MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) and was responsible for establishing  a program of COVID Isolation Hotels, which was also the topic of her presentation. The subtitle of it (and this spoke volumes) was: "building a plane while you fly it." Her presentation was absolutely mesmerizing. The initiative was made operational in 7 days and the logistics behind it were incredible, with so many issues such as food provision, laundry services, nursing care, and so much more needed. And to accomplish so much with attention having to be paid to COVID protocols. It was not easy getting certain hotels "on board," especially with some local communities not being supportive.

The dedication of Ms. Brantley to this important enterprise and that of her team were truly inspiring! The ARC had also been assisting in this endeavor so there was some nice synergy with Mr. Pitoniak's guest lecture. March 11, 2021, the day of Ms. Brantley's presentation,  was  the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 pandemic!

I cannot thank all the speakers sufficiently - they were fighting the pandemic on the front lines and still made time to help in the education of students.  They left a lasting impact and were part of a transformative educational experience. Each was presented with a special letter that I wrote as well as a certificate signed by our great Dean Anne P. Massey in appreciation.

On March 23, 2021, we had the Nursing Director Team from Cooley Dickinson Hospital present to my class. The title of the panel presentation was,  "Cooley Dickinson Hospital: A Year of COVID: Readiness, Response and Resilience." There were 8 speakers who shared with us their incredible work in transforming parts of the hospital to be able to handle more COVID patients and how personnel were retrained and needed PPEs acquired. 

No healthcare worker contracted COVID, which is, frankly, remarkable and such a relief. I wrote an earlier blogpost on the nursing team and sent my thank you letter to the Interim Director of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Dr. Brown, who responded so quickly. Some of the lessons learned included the importance of communications and appreciating the workers' fatigue and challenges.

The team also shared a video with us and there was not a dry eye in the audience. I would like to, again, thank the incredible panelists: Angela Belmont, VP, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer, Lynn M. Grondin, Director of Nursing for Perioperative and CVIR Services, Mike Netta, Director of Operations for Perioperative and CVIR Services, Alexandra Penzias, Director of Nursing and Professional Practice Education, Sara C. McKeown, Nurse Director, Emergency Department, Ann LeBrun, Nursing Director, Critical Care Services, Margaret-Ann Azzaro, Director, Medical Surgical & Childbirth Services, Jacquelyn Ouellette, Director, Behavioral Unit.

On March 30, we had our very "own" Mr. Jeff Hescock join us. Mr. Hescock is the Executive Director of EH&S and Emergency Management at UMass Amherst. The students have been receiving many messages from Mr. Hescock since the pandemic was declared and he, along with his staff and Ms. Ann Becker, have been behind our outstanding COVID-19 testing and now vaccinations! On the day that he spoke, Mr. Hescock told us that UMass Amherst had by then done 400,000 COVID tests and 16,000 vaccinations! He emphasized the important role of testing, contact tracing, and also isolation quarters at UMass Amherst as well as the role of our nursing students in testing and vaccinations. It has been an extraordinary team effort and the students, the community at large, the faculty, and staff are so grateful for the outstanding work of Mr. Hescock and his team in keeping us safe.

The students, as well as I, learned so much from our guest speakers and each left an indelible impression on us. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Celebrating Two Amazing Female Operations Researchers, Both 93 Years Old, for Their Contributions to Algorithms

Since this blogpost was published, sadly, Professor Ailsa Land passed away on May 16, 2021. Please refer to this obituary posted on the London School of Economics website. It was truly extraordinary that she and her husband could view virtually the panel in her honor on February 25, 2021,  that I wrote about below. Also, Dr. Land will be honored next month with the posthumous receipt of the EURO Gold Medal at the EURO Conference in Athens, Greece, which will have a flexible format. Rest in Peace, Dr. Ailsa Land, and thank you for all you contributions to OR and to making herstory!

This month is Women's History Month and also the month in which we celebrate International Women's Day.

I am writing this blogpost in order to recognize and to celebrate two amazing females, both born in 1927, whose algorithmic contributions and impacts continue to this day. Specifically, this post is about Dr. Ailsa Land and Dr. Marguerite Frank. Both are now 93 years old and I have had the pleasure of recently being involved in supporting tributes to them.

Dr. Ailsa Land is an Emeritus Professor of the London School of Economics (LSE) and the first female recipient of the Beale Medal.  She is renowned for her contributions to the development of branch and bound, an algorithm for discrete and combinatorial optimization problems. A nice biography of her can be found on the INFORMS website. An outstanding interview by Professor László Végh of LSE, along with the transcript, can be found on the INFORMS oral history page. Many thanks to the INFORMS History and Traditions Committee (I served on this committee for many years and regularly argued for the importance of having interviews done and posted of female luminaries) for making this possible. 

A few months ago, several of us were approached by Professor Emeritus Doug Shier of Clemson University to take part in a special panel honoring Professor Land's receipt of the Beale Medal, and organized by The OR Society of Great Britain. Professor Shier was a PhD student of Land's at LSE. The truly remarkable and very moving panel took place on February 25, 2021, and The OR Society has now made the video available for all to view. Joining me on the panel were: Professors Jeffrey Camm, Karla Hoffman, Ivana Ljubic, and Susara van den Heever of IBM, with Professor Shier as moderator. 

The video of the panel can be accessed here.

We heard from Dr. Land and her husband, Dr. Frank Land, that they very much enjoyed the special tribute.

I have posted my presentation from the panel on the Supernetwork Center site. I used direct quotes from the interview with Dr. Ailsa Land as the construct for my presentation.

After the panel,  Professor Karla Hoffman wrote that this was the best webinar experience that she has ever had! 

And, how remarkable, or should I say "serendipitous,"that  recently I was contacted to a top scholar from a major university in a lovely European capital asking whether I knew how to contact Dr. Marguerite Frank. Dr. Frank is the "Frank" in the Frank-Wolfe (1956) algorithm for convex optimization. I always enjoy asking my students about who they think the algorithm is named after - I have yet to receive an answer that the first one is a female (but maybe this post and other accolades will help). Some nice, fairly recent coverage of this algorithm, with input and reflections by Dr. Frank can be found in the Optima newsletter. I had coded the algorithm and even used it in my PhD dissertation at Brown University for computational comparisons with other algorithms for the solution of user-optimized traffic network equilibrium problems with separable user link cost functions. I have known Dr. Frank for many years - she and I share a passion for the Braess paradox and both of us have published a series of papers on this paradox. I even hosted Dr. Frank at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a visit I remember very fondly. Dr. Frank's PhD is in Mathematics from Harvard University.

In 2014, Dr. Frank took part in a special interview panel in honor of her contributions to the Frank-Wolfe algorithm. 

I very much like this article in which Dr. Marguerite Frank also mentions my dissertation advisor, Dr. Stella Dafermos, and the spelling of my surname has now been corrected from "Nagourney" to "Nagurney."

It is quite remarkable that the Frank-Wolfe algorithm is even being used now for machine learning.

What struck me so much about these two amazing women, who are also mothers, is their humility. They truly, until fairly recently, did not realize the impact of their research! 

And, as for an honor recognizing Dr. Marguerite Frank, I will let you know as soon as it becomes official. Through LinkedIn, I managed to connect with both of her daughters, who put me in touch with Dr. Frank, who had moved from New Jersey, where she had been a Professor at Rider University, to Palo Alto, when her husband moved from Princeton University to Stanford University. He had been a renowned scholar on Dostoevsky (one of my favorite authors of all time)! Marguerite is delighted by the forthcoming honor and I am thrilled that this initiative was taken by a male scholar, who had reached out to me. I am stubborn and I was determined to (re)connect with her and what a delight that has been.

Friday, March 26, 2021

A Big Thank You to the Exceptional Nursing Leadership Team at Cooley Dickinson Hospital for Speaking in My Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare Class

This past week, the students in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class had the great honor and privilege of having a panel of 8 nursing leaders from the Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts, speak virtually via Zoom. The topic of the panel was: Cooley Dickinson Hospital - A Year of COVID: Readiness, Response and Resilience. The presentations from 8 experts provided the class with extraordinary information and insights on this very challenging year and the tremendous response by the healthcare professionals at our local hospital! This was truly a transformative educational experience. We have heroes amongst us and we are so grateful to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for the incredible care that they have provided over the past year in the pandemic. The panelists were: Angela Belmont, VP, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer, Lynn M. Grondin, Director of Nursing for Perioperative and CVIR Services, Mike Netta, Director of Operations for Perioperative and CVIR Services, Alexandra Penzias, Director of Nursing and Professional Practice Education, Sara C. McKeown, Nurse Director, Emergency Department, Ann LeBrun, Nursing Director, Critical Care Services, Margaret-Ann Azzaro, Director, Medical Surgical & Childbirth Services, Jacquelyn Ouellette, Director, Behavioral Unit.

Below, I have posted several of the slides that I captured from the panel that demonstrate the incredible creativity, work ethic, empathy, science-based decision-making, and so much more of these leaders and the staff, in general. They had anticipated the pandemic and had put processes in place ahead of time. It was  fascinating to see the reskilling (I have been publishing a lot on labor and supply chains in the pandemic), as well as the emphasis on the importance of communication and education. It was very interesting to hear about the repurposing of space to make room for more ICU beds and to hear the important role that association with MGH had in terms of provision of much needed PPEs. Amazingly, not a single staff person contracted COVID in the hospital. Plus, the importance of having an incidence command center was emphasized as well as having a single phone number that staff could use for questions. We even got to hear about the impacts of COVID on the behavioral unit and on the birthing unit. Tough for mothers to be separated from their babies. The situation was evolving very dynamically and learning about the new virus was taking place at an incredible pace.

It was also very special to hear how important it is to celebrate both small and big successes, which the staff did. This helps to improve morale. I don't think there was a dry eye among the students - I was shedding tears as well - when the panelists showed us a celebratory video of a patient, who had recovered from COVID, being discharged.

The students had, as an assignment, to writeup highlights and what surprised them from the panel and several wrote that this was the best guest lecture of their college education.

And, on March 25, 2021, I watched a very special remembrance organized by CDH, which was streamed on youtube, and which included Angela Belmont, as the master of ceremonies! 

It was very special, in the remembrance, to see Dr. Brown, the Interim President and CEO of Cooley Dickinson, to whom I wrote a thank you letter acknowledging the fabulous panelists! Our great dean, Dean Anne Massey, also signed Professor for a Day certificates for each panelist, which I emailed to them. In addition, a survivor of COVID, who was treated at the hospital for 30 days, and had been intubated for 2 weeks, spoke very movingly of the great staff and the fabulous care that she had received. Some news coverage of this event can be seen here, along with the link to the video of the remembrance.

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Book: Dynamics of Disasters: Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions is Published by Springer Nature!

On March 12, 2021, I received an email from Springer Nature, which is the publisher of the book: Dynamics of Disasters: Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions, that I had co-edited with Ilias. S. Kotsireas, Panos M. Pardalos, and Arsenios Tsokas. The email was addressed to Frau Anna Nagurney and stated that the book had been published and was being shipped to my home. I hope that in future correspondence I would be addressed either as Professor or Dr. since my marital status should not be relevant, I would think. 

The next day, quite amazingly, a box with 3 copies of the new book was delivered to our door!

This book is a collection of 16 refereed papers, plus a preface, and is based on the latest Dynamics of Disasters conference that I co-organized with Professors Kotsireas and Pardalos, which took place in Kalamata, Greece in 2019, plus several invited contributions. More information on this international conference can be found here. It was a wonderful conference and the third that I had the pleasure of co-organizing with my outstanding colleagues.

The conference attracted participants and speakers from many different countries, including Canada, Greece, Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan, Nepal, and the US and was a fabulous forum for the exchange of ideas and scientific discussions at a beautiful venue. It is remarkable how our world has changed since due to the COVID-19 pandemic!

The edited volume contains results on many timely topics and the full list of chapter titles and additional information can be found on the publisher's website for the book. Some of the topics in the volume include: drones for disaster assessment, impact of labor disruptions to food supply chains in the COVID-19 pandemic, problems of human migration, infrastructure network resilience, cyber crises, the prevention of geological disasters, the use of blockchain technology, and many others!

UMass Amherst produced this nice news article on our new book.

We are also in the planning stages for the 5th Dynamics of Disasters Conference, which is to take place in Athens, Greece, in mid July in 2021. More information on the conference can be found on the conference website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly added additional complexity to all phases of disaster management and, with disasters increasing in frequency as well as in negative impact, holding such a conference in 2021 is very much needed. Hoping that, with vaccinations and mitigation procedures, it can take place face to face.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Big Thanks to Dr. George Karagiannis for His Brilliant Guest Lecture in My Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare Class

This past week, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Dr. George Karagiannis in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class, which, this year, is being taught remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An integral part of this course is having guest lecturers who are expert practitioners. Hearing from such experts reinforces the course material and provides for a rich educational experience for the students.

Now, for some background on Dr. Karagiannis, whom I met back in 2015, when I co-organized the Dynamics of Disasters conference in Kalamata, Greece, with Professors Ilias S. Kotsireas and Panos M. Pardalos, and Dr. Karagiannis was a speaker. We also hosted him for a seminar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Fall of 2015.

Dr. George Karagiannis is Greece's Deputy Secretary-General for Civil Protection, the US equivalent of Deputy FEMA Administrator. From 2016 to 2019, he was a Technical Officer at the European Commission Joint Research Center, where his area of expertise revolved around emergency management, critical infrastructure protection and hybrid threats. Prior to joining the Joint Research Center, he was a Disaster Management Consultant. He has worked in four countries, developed two strategic national risk assessments, organized over 60 exercises, led the development of a dozen emergency operations plans and responded to disasters in the field. He also was a Research Scientist at the Technical University of Crete in Greece, where he his interdisciplinary research lay at the intersection of systems engineering and disaster resilience. George earned his Doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from Saint-Etienne School of Mines in France. He also holds degrees in Civil Engineering and in Disaster Management and Business Administration, and is a Certified Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Dr. Karagiannis's presentation title in my course was, "Humanitarian Needs Assessment & Information Management." He zoomed in from Athens, Greece, which was lovely since the students in this class are physically located not only in Massachusetts but across the US, with a student even enrolled, who is now in Turkey.

Due to multiple inquiries and requests, Dr. Karagiannis has given me permission to post the slide deck of his excellent presentation.

So many excellent insights and recommendation are contained in his presentation, which I urge you to study. Some of the takeaways that very much resonated with me and also reinforced the material that we have been covering in the class and will be addressing in subsequent weeks are the following:

1. Help flows were there are cameras. This statement demonstrates the importance of media in getting the news out but also emphasizes that, at times, people who are victims of disasters may not get the help that they need.
2. Goods may be donated and delivered that do not help the victims - such as fur coats from Greece following the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006! The wrong goods create extra stressors (even if they are donated in good faith) since they require human resources to offload and also take up valuable storage space. In the case of the furs, they ultimately created a health hazard. I recall tuxedos being delivered to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and there are many other such incredible stories of the wrong goods.
3. When do you stop gathering data? How much data is "good enough" for needs assessment?
4. The recognition of the importance of time is paramount. If it takes a time t for needs assessment, it will take a time of 2t for making a decision.
5. One must distinguish primary data from secondary data.
6. Comparison over time is also essential in terms of the number of people displaced by the disaster.
7. One of the greatest challenges is learning to make decisions with only incomplete information when everything is at stake!
8. There is a shift of Emergency Management now in addressing infrastructure, which makes tremendous sense due to the negative impacts of climate change on infrastructure.

I very much like that he noted the UN Cluster Approach to support sector emergency functions, which we had emphasized in the course just a few days prior.

We also had a great discussion on how well Greece mitigated the spread of the coronavirus, starting their preparations already in early January! The country was very agile and reacted quickly.

The students were prepared with questions for the speaker. Dr. Karagiannis was so generous with his time - staying way past the class time window to answer questions.

And we honored him with a Professor for a Day certificate recognizing that his contributions.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

An Update on Our Supply Chain Research with the Inclusion of Labor in the COVID-19 Pandemic

In less than two weeks,  on March 11, 2021, we will be marking the first "anniversary" of the World Health Organization declaring the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a year like no other in our lifetimes.

It has also been a year in which many researchers and practitioners have tried to do their best in addressing many of the complex problems that have resulted, as a consequence of the pandemic. What has especially resonated with me has been the criticality of numerous supply chains from PPE and medical supply ones (and now even those associated with vaccines) to food. The shortcomings associated with such supply chains have included the fact that labor has been very seriously impacted in the pandemic with many falling ill, some succumbing to the disease, and others working in quite challenging circumstances with added stressors and anxiety, as well as new procedures, in terms of social distancing requirements, for example.

The importance of people in supply chains, including healthcare ones, has, hence, stood out. However, there was not much scientific literature that addresses disruptions on labor and impacts on supply chains. So, as a researcher and educator,  I decided to delve deeper into constructing mathematical models, both optimization and game theory ones, that would shed light on labor availability, losses in productivity, and related issues.

I am pleased to say that a series of my papers on this topic has now been accepted for publication, the first of which, was on food. The paper, "Perishable Food Supply Chain Networks with Labor in the Covid-19 Pandemic," is now in press in the refereed, edited volume: Dynamics of Disasters - Impact, Risk, Resilience, and Solutions,  I.S. Kotsireas, A. Nagurney, P.M. Pardalos, and A. Tsokas, Editors, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2021.

This paper explicitly captures the perishability of food from points of production to points of demand. The firm is considered to be a profit-maximizer and also encumbers costs associated with paying for labor. Each link in the supply chain network has a bound on the labor availability and also a productivity factor associated with labor. The demands for the food items are assumed to be elastic.

In the second paper in the series, "Optimization of Supply Chain Networks with Inclusion of Labor: Applications to COVID-19 Pandemic, now in press in The International Journal of Production Economics, I turn to expanding the ideas in the first paper, with a focus on healthcare products, and with consideration of 3 different sets of constraints on labor, under, first elastic demand, and then, under fixed demands. The latter is important since in the case of certain products, especially healthcare ones, demand may be inelastic when it comes to price.

And, in the third paper in this series, "Supply Chain Game Theory Network Modeling Under Labor Constraints: Applications to the Covid-19 Pandemic," I utilize game theory to consider three different sets of constraints in a supply chain network model consisting of multiple competing firms. The paper is now available online in the European Journal of Operational Research. Therein, I also capture three sets of constraints for labor but, now, in the case of two of the sets, the firms compete for labor. In this work, the first model is a Nash Equilibrium one, whereas the other two are Generalized Nash Equilibrium models.

The above work integrates economics and operations research and the underlying methodological formalism is that of the theory of variational inequalities.

This series of papers further inspired me to write an article for The Conversation, entitled: "Vaccine delays reveal unexpected weak link in supply chains: A shortage of workers."

I was honored to be, subsequently, invited to write a follow-up article, "In the End, It's All About People," by Kara Tucker, the new Editor of the INFORMS publication, ORMS Today

And, if you would like to learn more, please, feel free to listen to the INFORMS podcast: "Shining a light on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution," in which I am interviewed by Ashley Kilgore.

The three papers of mine, highlighted above, are all dedicated to essential workers! We are so grateful for their contributions in the past; in the pandemic, and wish them the very best in the future!