Edward H. Kaplan

Edward H. Kaplan

Past Awards

George E. Kimball Medal: Winner(s)
2019 - Winner(s)

Edward Kaplan is the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research, professor of public health, and professor of engineering at Yale University. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors from McGill University and three master’s degrees and his doctorate from MIT. He joined the Yale faculty in 1987 following appointments at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the University of Massachusetts Boston. 

Professor Kaplan has studied problems in public housing; HIV monitoring, prevention, and resource allocation; bioterror preparedness for smallpox and anthrax; counterterrorism and intelligence operations; anti-Semitism; blood and plasma donation policy; undocumented immigration; and sports. His work has influenced establishing legal needle exchange programs in the United States and abroad and has contributed to new approaches to HIV incidence surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His research of smallpox bioterror preparedness has informed government decision-making regarding post-attack vaccination policy, his study of the tactical prevention of suicide bombings has informed intelligence community briefings, and his analysis of blood donation risks in Israel led to his placement on an advisory committee to Israel’s Ministry of Health that reformed blood donation policy.

His research contributions have been recognized with several awards and honors from INFORMS, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the OMEGA RHO Operations Research Honor Society, and the CDC among others.

A member of ORSA and TIMS and INFORMS, Professor Kaplan served on and chaired numerous INFORMS committees, served in senior editorial positions for Management Science and Operations Research, and was elected twice to the INFORMS Board first as Director and then as President.  His tenure saw the INFORMS Board adopt a new strategic plan to promote best practices and advances to improve operational processes, decision-making, and outcomes. The plan included a call for INFORMS members to advance society and make the world a better place.

Professor Kaplan is also an active member of the Operations Research Society of Israel.

For his many contributions to the field of operations research and management science, INFORMS expresses its sincere appreciation to Edward H. Kaplan by awarding him the 2019 George E. Kimball Medal.

Public Sector Operations Research Best Paper Award: Finalist
Winning material: Snapshot Models of Undocumented Immigration

MSOM Distinguished Fellows Award : Awardee(s)

Saul Gass Expository Writing Award: Winner(s)
Expository Writing Award Committee member Richard Steinberg, Edward H. Kaplan and Susan Albin, INFORMS President

The INFORMS Committee for the Expository Writing Award is pleased to name Edward Kaplan as the recipient of its 2010 award. Professor Kaplan is a prolific and influential author, renowned for his ability to communicate complex ideas in a style that is simultaneously accessible to a wide audience and is lucid in explaining mathematical ideas and policy implications. Consequently, his writing has had great practical impact.

Edward Kaplan's skill is perhaps best exemplified by his articles, “Let the Needles do the Talking! Evaluating the New Haven Needle Exchange” (Interfaces) and “A Circulation Theory of Needle Exchange” (AIDS). Both provide masterful expositions that interweave data, models, analysis, policy, and implementation. All of Professor Kaplan’s writing reflects his unique charm and wit in writing about often sober, always important, subjects. This style is reflected in his choice of engaging titles, such as “Needle Exchange or Needless Exchange?”, “Nature Plays with Dice - Terrorists Do Not”, and “So What If The Program Ain’t Perfect?”.

A significant dimension of Professor Kaplan’s writing is his ability to communicate to wide range of audiences. He writes equally effectively for those working in public health (NEJM, JAMA, Lancet, Epidemiology, American J. Public Health), general science (PNAS, Science, Nature, Medicine), and specialty fields (J. Conflict Resolution, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Mathematical Biosciences, J. Sex Research, AIDS, JAIDS) - in addition to readers of mainstream INFORMS journals. His ability to make operations research accessible to all of these readerships is a testament to his exceptional expository talent.

Professor Kaplan’s writing is a model of clarity, cleverness, and persuasion. His has been one of the most distinctive and influential voices in the INFORMS community over the last 25 years. It is for these reasons that the Expository Writing Committee (Garrett J. van Ryzin, Richard Steinberg, and Warren B. Powell) is pleased to name Edward Kaplan as the recipient of the 2010 INFORMS Expository Writing Award.

Koopman Prize: Awardee(s)
Winning material: “Terror Queues”
2010 - Awardee(s)

Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award: Winner(s)
Edward H. Kaplan, 2009 Morse Lecturer

Koopman Prize: Awardee(s)
Winning material: Operational Effectiveness of Suicide-Bomber-Detector Schemes: A Best-Case Analysis
INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)

Dr. Edward Kaplan has spent more than fifteen years developing methods for evaluating policies to manage the AIDS epidemic and to prevent the spread of HIV. In this work, Dr. Kaplan has shown the efficacy of New Haven’s needle exchange programs in preventing HIV spread, a conclusion that survived multiple reviews by doubting government agencies. His work in this area is wide-ranging, addressing issues of protecting the blood supply, HIV incidence estimation, resource allocation, and other aspects of AIDS policy. His work has spread far beyond OR/MS into journal articles throughout the public health policy field. He has served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on HIV Prevention Strategies and has had an editorial role in a large number of journals related to AIDS and public policy. He is the author of more than 100 articles and 3 books in this area. Recently, Dr. Kaplan has used his insights and experience to address questions of smallpox vaccination, addressing another major issue of our day.

The President’s Award is given to recognize work that advances the welfare of society. Dr. Kaplan’s work on using the methods of OR/MS to address some of the most pressing issues in public health and medicine of our time makes this award particularly deserving. INFORMS is proud to present Dr. Edward H. Kaplan its President’s Award for 2002 for his work to improve social welfare through a better understanding of effective prevention and treatment of AIDS and other diseases.

- Michael A. Trick, INFORMS President 2002 (presenting the award in November 2002)

Koopman Prize: Awardee(s)
Winning material: Emergency Response to a Smallpox Attack: The Case for Mass Vaccination

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Winner(s)

Yale professor Edward Kaplan was named a co-recipient of the 1994 Lanchester Prize for his 12 research papers on the theory and application of AIDS models published from 1989-1994.

Kaplan's citation read in part:

  • "Acquired Immune Deficiency and its associated diseases, a global scourge of our time, has ethical, political and economic overtones as well as research and public policy issues such as reducing the spread of AIDS and ameliorating its impact. The spread of AIDS is now reduced by programs in which illegal drug users anonymously exchange used needles for clean ones. Clever operations research and molecular biology has cut through the political controversy that first attended these programs and provided a scientific confirmation that needle exchange programs save lives.
  • "Edward H. Kaplan's papers played an important role in the life-saving substitution of science for political rhetoric. By introducing operational models of the spread of these diseases, the papers significantly changed the ways in which AIDS public health experts thought about HIV prevention programs. The stigma of AIDS interferes with the collection of data; the papers introduce powerful statistical methods to analyze sparse data on the effectiveness of prevention programs.
  • "The papers make exciting reading, they have been the basis from which many researchers began their work, and they have guided critical social decisions throughout the United States and are having an increasing impact in other countries. They fuse research with applications in written work which achieves the highest standard of accomplishment in operations research."
  • Kaplan, who has long been dedicated to the application of operations research methods to the analysis of public policy problems, is perhaps best known for designing and conducting an evaluation of New Haven's (Conn.) Legal Needle Exchange Program. His work in this area on behalf of the New Haven Health Department won the 1992 Franz Edelman Award for Management Science Achievement.

Franz Edelman Award: Winner(s)

New Haven, Connecticut implemented a needle exchange program in November 1990 to combat the spread of the AIDS virus. We developed a syringe tracking and testing system that provided data for mathematical models of HIV transmission. The models suggest that needle exchange reduced the HIV infection rate among program clients by 33 percent. In response, the Connecticut legislature continued funding the program, expanded needle exchange services to Bridgeport and Hartford, and decriminalized syringe possession. New needle exchange programs and legislation have also been developed in New York City, California, and Massachusetts partially as a result.

Access the winning project’s companion paper