Six ISyE Proposals Receive George Family Foundation Seed Grants

Mar 19, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

With a primary goal of stimulating and supporting research in predictive health, ISyE selected six proposals, recommended by a panel of expert reviewers, to receive seed grant funding provided by the George Family Foundation. A key component of these grants is to support sustainable research programs and important new discoveries and innovative advances in predictive health.  

The following projects will receive seed grant funding:

  • Sequential Blood Pressure Changepoint Detection.  The research team leading this effort includes Turgay Ayer, assistant professor at ISyE, Yao Xie, assistant professor at ISyE, and Peter Wilson, professor at Emory University Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute.  The objective of their research is to utilize decision making tools to improve the management of hypertension. The aims are to create blood pressure cutoff values defining hypertension for subpopulations based on age, sex, ethnicity, and comorbidities, create algorithms for classifying hypertension in previously healthy patients using daily measurements, and simplify these algorithms into easily implementable heuristics for clinical use.
  • Optimal Policies for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance: A Dynamic Approach from Societal Perspective. The research team leading this effort includes Turgay Ayer, assistant professor at ISyE, and Jagpreet Chhatwal, assistant professor of Health Services Research at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The objective of their research is to develop a comprehensive, data-driven modeling framework to analyze the cost-effectiveness of numerous surveillance strategies for patients with Hepatitis C virus infection, the most common cause of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the US.
  • Considering Women’s Preferences in Down Syndrome Screening: Risk-Sensitive Decisions and Optimal Risk Cutoffs. The research team leading this effort includes Turgay Ayer, assistant professor at ISyE, Pinar Keskinocak, William W. George Chair at ISyE, Ira Horowitz, John D. Thompson Professor and Chair at Emory University School of Medicine (SOM), Jane Ellis, medical director at Emory Regional Perinatal Center, and Matt Oster, assistant professor at Emory University SOM. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of women’s preferences and weighting of different pregnancy outcomes on the optimal risk cutoff values in Down Syndrome screening. They propose to develop a modeling framework to evaluate various prenatal screening strategies, to identify appropriate risk cutoff values considering differences in individual women’s preferences. An easy-to-use decision support tool will be built based on this modeling framework to aid in clinical decision-making and promote informed and shared decision-making.
  • Predicting Health Costs and Variations Geographically. The research team leading this effort includes Julie Swann, Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Associate Professor at ISyE, and Nicoleta Serban, associate professor at ISyE.  Their focus is on predictive health at the system level, where they study health costs and variations in costs geographically and find statistically significant associations.  Such variation in cost can point to behaviors at the patient or provider level or infrastructure in the community that can be targeted for future improvements. The overall research question is to what extent costs vary geographically, especially for Medicaid, and what factors are associated with increased costs in the system.
  • A Decision Support System for Treatment Determination of Rotator Cuff Tears Patients. Kamran Paynabar, assistant professor at ISyE, is leading this research effort. The objective is to develop a decision support system that utilizes patients’ medical record and initial examination data to predict the probability of a need for surgery treatment for rotator cuff tears patients at an early stage. The developed decision support system helps physicians make more accurate decisions on treatment recommendation by leveraging the predicted surgery probability.
  • Linking Access to Health Outcomes for Cystic Fibrosis. Nicoleta Serban, associate professor at ISyE, is leading this research effort. The objective of the study is to assess whether health outcomes for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients are significantly associated to accessibility of the CF accredited care centers in the United States. Although multiple factors have been studied to as potential health outcomes for CF disease progression, investigations on how healthcare access is linked to disparities in the CF-related health outcomes are sparse. The overall research question is to what extent access to care impacts the health status of patients with CF?

The George Family Foundation was founded by Bill George and his wife Penny as a way to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit, and community and to further the development of authentic leaders. Their interests include integrative medicine, leadership, spirituality, and community. The Georges, who reside in Minneapolis, MN, support academia at Georgia Tech through fellowships and an endowed chair in the area of health systems. George is the former chairman and CEO of Medtronic and currently serves on the boards of ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs. He is also a trustee of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the World Economic Forum USA. He has made frequent appearances on television and radio, and his articles have appeared in numerous publications. He has been named to the “Top 25 Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years” by PBS.

For More Information Contact: 

Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering