What's Your StORy?

Pooyan Kazemian

Pooyan Kazemian

July 2016 What's Your StORy?
Research fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital

More questions for Pooyan Kazemian?
Check out the Open Forum on INFORMS Connect!


What prompted you to enter this field? Why?
I didn’t fully realize the potential impact that operations research methods can have to improve quality of care and patient satisfaction until I experienced hospitals as a patient when I was a graduate student. Enduring long waiting times in hospitals, poor continuity of care, and poorly designed processes was an epiphany that changed my whole view of the potential of operations research in healthcare systems. Furthermore, being selected as the recipient of Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Health Services by INFORMS made me even more determined to pursue a career in healthcare after graduating from the Industrial and Operations Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.


If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
I have been lucky to work with Prof. Mark Van Oyen during my time as a PhD student in Michigan. He is not only an expert in the field, but also a true gentleman. He has always been very supportive and has truly shaped me both personally and professionally through his tireless efforts and valued counsel. If I had to choose my mentor, I would choose Mark again!


What is your favorite sport and who do you support?
Soccer is my favorite sport. I’ve been a fan of Manchester United since I was a kid. I have rarely missed watching any of the Man. United games in the past 15 years. After cheering for the Reds for many years, I finally had a chance to meet the players and the coach during their preseason tour in 2010 in the U.S. That was an unforgettable experience.


What do you wish you could tell your prospective employer?
Healthcare organizations should consider investing more in healthcare engineering research. For many decades, operations research has successfully helped other industries to improve decision making and the efficiency and effectiveness of their processes. Leveraging the same methods in healthcare at a higher level will result in a step toward bending the cost curve of healthcare spending and can contribute to a positive impact on health outcomes and the quality of life for many people.


How do you define "analytics"?
Analytics is combining operations research, data science, and computer science to get the most out of available information and make more informed decisions. That is just my two cents.


What advice do you have for new students entering this field?
Always try to find research problems that have high impact on people’s lives and make the world a better place to live. For instance, in my field (i.e., healthcare O.R.) it is extremely important to engage medical collaborators from healthcare organizations to identify real-world problems, obtain relevant datasets, and ensure practical significance. Also, it is critical to translate operations research methods into practical decision support tools and managerial insights and make them understandable and available to a broad audience including engineers, medical doctors, and managers.


You seem to be a member of several INFORMS communities, can you speak to which one(s) you are most heavily involved in and how? Has being a member of an INFORMS community enhanced your career path?
I’ve been more active in the Health Applications Society (HAS). I have chaired invited sessions in HAS cluster of the 2014 and 2015 INFORMS Annual Meetings in San Francisco and Philadelphia, respectively, and also in the 2015 INFORMS Healthcare Conference in Nashville. I’ll be organizing another invited session at the upcoming INFORMS Annual Meeting in Nashville.

I found my current job through the INFORMS Career Center website and highly recommend checking that out to every operations researcher on the job market.


If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
I would love to continue working on the topic of the main chapter of my dissertation, which is focused on personalizing the monitoring and control of chronic diseases. The model provides optimal solutions to two important questions facing clinicians: (1) when to schedule next office visit and which subset of tests to take at that time, and (2) what levels of controllable disease risk factors should be targeted until that visit to sufficiently slow disease progression.


What part of the Annual Meeting is your favorite? Why?
I love all the coffee breaks because they provide excellent opportunities for mingling and networking and let people relax and get ready for the next technical session. Needless to say, my love for coffee makes them even more enjoyable to me!


Name three uses of a stapler that has no staples.
Paper weight, door stop, and to make noise and bother your officemates!