Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Honored to Have Played a Part in Influencing National Policy on Blood Supply Chains

For quite a few years, my research group and I have been very engaged in studying and writing about blood supply chains. Blood is a unique product that is life-saving and that cannot be produced but must be donated.

Our work on blood supply chains is part of our broader work on perishable product supply chains and we even wrote a book on the topic that was published a decade ago.

During this festive time of the year with the holiday season, there are also often blood shortages, and, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was greatly concerned about the shortages. One day after the WHO declared the pandemic, I published my article, "How coronavirus is upsetting the blood supply chain," in The Conversation. The article was reprinted on multiple news sites, from Live Science to Salon. 

I am deeply humbled and honored that my article on blood shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic, has influenced national policy not once, but twice. On March 31, 2023, 22 Attorneys General signed a memo to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, and my article was cited first

The full memorandum can be accessed here.

Therein is also a citation to the April 22, 2020 memo from 20 Attorneys General, including Maura Healey, now our Massachusetts Governor, to the Honorable Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, at that time the Assistant Secretary for Health, with my article also as the first citation.

On May 11, 2023, the FDA finalized individual risk assessment guidelines for blood donation eligibility. 

In my discipline of Operations Research, as well as in Economics, we try to "Do Good" to improve social welfare and well-being. The tools that we use include analytical techniques, mathematical models, research studies, and, of course, education of students. However, as I often state in invited conference talks and seminars that I give,  it is also critical to get results out where they can be applied.

That is why I continue to write essays and OpEds that can reach a broader community, as my article on blood shortages has.

 I am very glad that the American Red Cross has now adopted a more inclusive blood donation policy, following the FDA recommendations.

 More blood centers are following the FDA revised guidelines with this article, appearing just a few days ago on the PBS News Hour, noting other blood centers following suit, including one in the Pacific Northwest. The donors, who can now give blood, are grateful and, I am sure, the recipients are as well.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Congratulations and Kudos - Virtual Center for Supernetworks in 2023

As the Founding Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, which was established at the Isenberg School in 2001 (shortly before 9/11), I find it important, as another year draws to a close, to reflect upon the achievements of the Center and its Associates during these challenging times.

2023 was a remarkable year, in which we celebrated 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, part of the UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) partnership. In the spring 2023, we had the honor and pleasure of helping to host the visit of the President of KSE, Dr. Tymofiy Mylovanov in February and the visit of the Rector of KSE, Dr. Tymofii Brik, in May, at which we also took part in a symposium featuring faculty hosts at UMass Amherst and the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine. Many thanks to the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst, including Vice Provost for Global Affairs Dr. Kalpen Trivedi, and to the Isenberg School and the Provost's Office for the outstanding support of this very important program that helps to reduce brain drain from Ukraine.

For the EJOR paper, "Multicommodity International Agricultural Trade Network Equilibrium: Competition for Limited Production and Transportation Capacity Under Disaster Scenarios with Implications for Food Security," Dana received the inaugural prize from my OIM department, for this A level publication with a monetary award of $750. In May, 2023, Center Associates Professors Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta and I published the paper, "An Integrated Multitiered Supply Chain Network Model of Competing Agricultural Firms and Processing Firms: The Case of Fresh Produce and Quality," in EJOR.

And, with Professor Elena Besedina of KSE, we published a paper in Operations Research Forum. Much of our research with colleagues in Ukraine focuses on agricultural supply chains and impacts of Russia's war on them with the importance of alternative routes for exports quantified as well as the use of various policies for international trade enhancement.

We welcomed a new Center Associate, Dr. Gabriela Colajanni, with whom, and with Center Associates Professor Patrizia Daniele and Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, we have been actively publishing on UAVs (drones).

Our research papers can be found on the Supernetwork Center website.

In addition, as part of the partnership, UMass Amherst welcomed 4 female undergraduate students from KSE! We hosted a special panel with them through the auspices of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and there is now even a video of an additional interview posted on the chapter's youtube channel. It has been an extraordinary experience interacting with these remarkable ambassadors for Ukraine as they enjoy their experiences at UMass Amherst very much. Our great Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey even hosted a lunch in their honor.

And, this past summer, I had the honor of co-organizing another Dynamics of Disasters (DOD) conference, which took place in Piraeus, Greece, and attracted conferees from many different countries. We are now in the process of editing the Proceedings volume. 

Speaking of books, I was thrilled that my Labor and Supply Chain Networks was published by Springer in 2023. It's wonderful to see al the libraries that now carry it.

Shortly after the DOD conference, and with a lovely meeting with Center Associate Professor Patrizia Daniele and her family in Madrid, I headed to the IFORS conference in Santiago, at which I delivered a keynote talk. It was wonderful to see colleagues from around the globe at this conference.

INFORMS in Phoenix served as a reunion for several of us, and it was wonderful to see Center Associates Professors Deniz Besik, Dmytro Matsypura, and Shivani Shukla there with Professor Zugang Liu also taking part. At this conference the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter was recognized with the Magna Cum Laude Award. I have had the honor of serving as the chapter's Faculty Advisor since 2004, whehn the chapter was established.

And big congratulations are in order to Center Associates Shivani Shukla and Dong "Michelle" Li, both of whom were recognized with promotion and tenure this year at their respective institutions of the University of San Francisco and Babson College.

Congratulations also to Center Associate Sara Saberi of  WPI, who was appointed the Norton Assistant Professor in 2023.

We continue to be very engaged with the media - some of our writings can be found here and interviews here.

For photos of various Center activities please see https://supernet.isenberg.umass.edu/cfoto/centerphotos.html

Thank you for the support. Let's work together to make 2024 a better year than 2023 with all the pain and suffering now on our planet.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

News Coverage on Our Latest Research

Real world events inform the research of my group at the Supernetwork Center at the Isenberg School of Management, that I founded in 2001 and continue to direct. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to model and solve a spectrum of supply chain network problems that have been affected by various disruptions, which now, sadly, for almost 2 years, have also included major disruptions to agricultural trade caused by Russia's full-scale war on Ukraine. Our research, documented in journal articles and book chapters, has continued to quantify the impacts of labor shortages and security issues and blockages associated with transportation, production capacity limitations, along with the repercussions of Russia pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We have also investigated the impacts of numerous trade policies from tariffs to quotas and have been heavily focusing on agricultural and food supply chains and associated food insecurity.

Our research on agricultural supply chains and international trade has been enriched by our collaborations with scholars in Ukraine, through the unique, outstanding partnership between UMass Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) that I have blogged about.

It is very much appreciated when the research that we are involved in gets attention from the news media. 

UMass Amherst issued this release on the paper, "Ukraine – Addressing the domestic humanitarian crisis and the effects of the war on global food systems,"  that I was deeply honored to contribute to and which was presented by my KSE colleague, Professor Oleg Nivievskyi, at the Vatican in May at the Workshop on Food and Humanitarian Crises. The paper can be directly accessed here.

Also, the University World News published a very moving article by Nathan M. Greenfield: "Partnership with US scholars helps to keep Ukraine HE alive." 

In the article,  Greenfield notes our paper, "Multicommodity international agricultural trade network equilibrium: Competition for limited production and transportation capacity under disaster scenarios with implications for food security, "  just published in the European Journal of Operational Research and done with my Isenberg School PhD student Dana Hassani and KSE scholars: Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev. 

In addition, the article in University World News discusses the recent paper I wrote with KSE Professor Elena Besedina, "A multicommodity spatial price equilibrium model with exchange rates and non-tariff measures for agri-food international trade," which was published in Operations Research Forum.

Preprints of the above papers, as well as others of our research group can be found on the Supernetworks Center site.

Collaborations across continents during wartime help to reduce brain drain and also deepen the research insights. Very grateful for the collaborations with scholars in Ukraine, which continue. Giving enhanced visibility to scholars in Ukraine provides valuable professional and psychological support during very challenging times.

Many thanks  for the news coverage!