I am an associate professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst. I joined UMass in the Fall of 2008. I obtained my PhD in Industrial Engineering at Arizona State University in August 2006. My dissertation work was on scheduling problems broadly motivated by the wafer fabrication stage of semiconductor manufacturing. I was advised by John Fowler and Ahmet Keha.
From Aug 2006-August 2008, I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic, an academic medical institution in Rochester, Minnesota. I found the position by chance; it was one of those unplanned events that changed my research focus completely, although the scheduling algorithms and methodologies I had learned as a graduate student still turned out to be useful in healthcare. I worked with Brian Denton, who was then at Mayo Clinic, and is now at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
My primary research themes now revolve around operations research applied to healthcare delivery. Some examples include:
(1) Improving the ability of patients to see their primary care physicians in a timely manner.
(2) Modeling patient flow and optimal staffing/scheduling in outpatient, inpatient and emergency care environments.
(3) Determining whether a certain intervention/treatment for medically complex patients had an impact, and quantifying the effort needed of clinical staff to assist the patients.
(4) Finding patterns of care utilization among patients with multiple chronic conditions.
In addressing these problems, I’ve had the good fortune of working with a number healthcare institutions/practices: 1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; 2. Baystate Health, Springfield, Massachusetts (western campus of Tufts Medicine) 3. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; 4. The Atkinson Family Practice, Amherst MA; 6. Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke, MA; 7. Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Camden, New Jersey. This type of collaborative healthcare engineering work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality.
I have taught courses for undergraduates, masters and PhD students. Much of what I research eventually makes it to the classroom in one form or another, and — I found this quite surprising — teaching often led me to new research ideas simply by forcing me to reflect on the fundamentals of mathematics. Here’s a list of the courses I’ve taught:
(1) Introduction to Probability and Statistics (MIE 273/ CEE 260) — 2010-2016
(2) Introduction to Simulation (MIE 373) – 2013, 2018, 2020, 2021
(3) Introduction to Markov Chains (MIE 380) — 2016, 2017, 2019
(4) Operations Research in Healthcare (MIE 565) — 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2021
(5) Linear Programming (MIE 620) — 2008-2018
(6) Stochastic Processes in Industrial Engineering (MIE 684) — 2019 and 2020
(7) Analytics and Statistical Learning (MIE 597 AS) — 2020
If you’d like to know my interests outside of academia — and I have a lot such interests, often exerting a pull much stronger than academic research — feel free to read my essays for the science and humanities website 3 Quarks Daily. Links to the essays are here.
Contact: hbalasub at umass dot edu