Heinz College News http://www.heinz.cmu.edu News Stories from H. John Heinz III College PwC Invests $11M in New Innovation Center at Heinz Collegehttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3908Image associated with news releasePwC US and Carnegie Mellon University announced the establishment of the new Risk and Regulatory Services Innovation Center, which will advance how businesses use technology to solve organization-wide issues and address compliance requirements. The center will reside in the H. John Heinz IIII College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

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http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3908Mon, 04 Jan 2017 12:24:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10569PwC Invests $11M in New Innovation Center at Heinz College

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Prof. Acquisti Named PwC-CMU Center's First Directorhttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3909Image associated with news releaseAlessandro Acquisti has been named the inaugural director of the Risk and Regulatory Services Innovation Center, which was established by PwC and Carnegie Mellon University. Professor Acquisti is the world’s leading scholar in the economics of privacy; his research investigates the economics and behavioral economics of privacy, including privacy in online social networks.

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http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3909Mon, 04 Jan 2017 12:36:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10570Prof. Acquisti Named PwC-CMU Center's First Director

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Heinz Alumnus at the Center of the Global Fight to End Poliohttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3888Image associated with news releaseDr. E. G. P. Haran (Ph.D. '77) is a health consultant with over 35 years of experience in public health. He has worked for such organizations as Rotary International, USAID, and the World Health Organization (WHO), supporting efforts concerning reproductive and child health, family planning, nutrition, and capacity building of NGOs. But nowhere has Haran had a greater impact than in his work toward polio eradication, particularly in India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, where he has designed, led, and participated in polio eradication programs. From strategic planning, data analytics, and project design to mobilization, training, and evaluation, you might call Dr. Haran the consummate Heinz College graduate.

]]><p> <em>By Scott Barsotti</em></p> <div> Some people enter the professional world with ambitions of making a global impact. But as a key player in the fight to eradicate polio, Heinz College alumnus E. G. P. Haran (Ph.D. &rsquo;77) was lifted to the world stage without ever planning to end up there.</div> <p> &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think big in the beginning,&rdquo; said Haran. &ldquo;Slowly, I got so deeply involved [in polio eradication] that then it became my commitment.&rdquo;</p> <p> Haran is a health consultant with over 35 years of experience in public health. He has worked for such organizations as <a href="https://www.rotary.org/en" target="_blank">Rotary International</a>, <a href="https://www.usaid.gov/" target="_blank">USAID</a>, and the <a href="http://www.who.int/en/" target="_blank">World Health Organization (WHO)</a>, supporting efforts concerning reproductive and child health, family planning, nutrition, and capacity building of NGOs.</p> <p> But nowhere has Haran had a greater impact than in his work toward polio eradication, particularly in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Philippines.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/poliofacts/" target="_blank">The United States has been polio-free since 1979</a>, but in 1988 (when global eradication efforts began in earnest) there were estimated to be roughly 350,000 cases in 125 countries. By 2002, that came down to less than 2000 cases of the virus in seven countries. Haran attributes that success to a combination of sustained routine immunization, effective mass vaccination campaigns, and high quality disease surveillance. These ingredients, paired with the joint commitment of governments, NGOs, religious leaders, and volunteers, reduced wild poliovirus cases worldwide by over 98 percent in 14 years, a breathtaking public health victory.</p> <h2 style="text-align: right;"> <em><strong>&ldquo;Any bright master&#39;s student with a good analytics systems synthesis approach could have done [the work I did].&rdquo; </strong></em></h2> <h2 style="text-align: right;"> <em><strong>~ Dr. E. G. P. Haran</strong></em></h2> <p> Mass vaccination campaigns using the easy-to-administer oral polio vaccine (OPV, informally &ldquo;polio drops&rdquo;) were integral to that success. These campaigns could be tailored by country, region, and community to have the broadest reach, and would often involve spiritual leaders and celebrities to raise awareness.</p> <p> Even then, there would be resistance.</p> <p> &quot;For hardcore resistors you need to have peers, village leaders&hellip;literally field workers from their own community who will go house to house, talk to them,&rdquo; said Haran.</p> <p> During campaign days, booths would be set up where people could bring children to receive polio drops, and teams would go house to house looking for children to vaccinate, equipped with a list of addresses and mapped routes (these maps were created using a combination of satellite imagery and &ldquo;common sense,&rdquo; according to Haran).</p> <p> The numbers are staggering, and one can easily recognize these campaigns as the triumphs of operations research that they were. For example, <a href="http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/polio/en/" target="_blank">in just one round of national immunization days in India</a>, there were 640,000 vaccination booths, 2.3 million vaccinators, 200 million doses of OPV, 191 million homes visited, and 172 million children immunized.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: left;width: 300px;"> <img align="" alt="Dr E G P Haran" height="400" src="image.aspx?id=10404&amp;width=600&amp;height=400" width="600" /> <p> Dr. E.G.P.Haran speaking at Heinz College</p> </div> <p> <strong>Reaching the unreached</strong></p> <p> At one time, India was a primary exporter of the virus&mdash;especially the northern central states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where a combination of population density, environmental conditions, poor health infrastructure, and opposition from religious fundamentalists stymied the campaign&rsquo;s ability to deliver the vaccine.</p> <p> &ldquo;There were many unreached populations there, so that&rsquo;s where the virus continued for a long time,&rdquo; said Haran.</p> <p> That word&mdash;<em>unreached</em>&mdash;is a vital one. Haran said that perhaps the highest priority for any mass vaccination campaign is &ldquo;reaching the unreached,&rdquo; an evocative phrase that calls to mind images of remoteness and poverty. Indeed, these unreached populations were largely children of seasonal construction workers, farm workers, or homeless migrants who may slip through the cracks of a national vaccination campaign.</p> <p> How were these children located? Haran remarks that data analytics played an enormous role.</p> <p> &ldquo;When we do polio surveillance, we can&rsquo;t look for polio, that would require lab confirmation. We look for reports of any sudden paralysis in any children. Every case of suspected paralysis is immediately investigated to collect information about the profile of the child to learn how many doses of polio drops they&rsquo;d received,&rdquo; said Haran. Once these children were found, researchers could gather information to create a characterization of who the children were, and these surveys found that many of these children had not been vaccinated.</p> <p> &ldquo;Typically, during a campaign you go house to house, but these children don&rsquo;t have a house, so they aren&rsquo;t reached by the health system,&rdquo; said Haran. &ldquo;We also learned where the migrant children would sleep at night, so we could find them in the evenings and give them the vaccine.&rdquo;</p> <p> <img alt="Polio change in India" src="image.aspx?id=10414&amp;width=250&amp;height=500" style="float: right; width: 227.094px; height: 454.188px; margin: 10px;" /></p> <p> India went from having 1600 polio cases reported across 159 districts in 2002, to being removed from the list of polio endemic countries in 2012. In 2014, the entire WHO South-East Asia region <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/" target="_blank">was certified polio-free</a>.</p> <p> Today, reported polio cases for 2016 number fewer than 30, confined to only three endemic countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Conflict situations and extremist groups in those countries have complicated attempts to deliver polio drops to pockets of children who are most vulnerable to the disease. Those complications range from disruption (intercepting supplies), to manipulation (spreading misinformation), to tragedy (killing health workers). At this point, Haran said that there is little more the outside community can do, that those countries must solve the issue from within.</p> <p> &ldquo;Nobody like me going there can solve it. We have to wait to see what will happen,&rdquo; said Haran.</p> <p> In the meantime, the spread of the virus is still very much possible, so the world must stay vigilant. Two years ago, <a href="https://www.unicef.org/media/media_78947.html" target="_blank">Iraq and Syria had an outbreak of the disease</a>. That outbreak was quickly contained, but Iraqi leaders wanted to get their medical officers trained in polio eradication methods. Haran was chosen to conduct the training for over thirty officers (a group he described as uniquely enthusiastic and knowledgeable) at a site outside of the conflict zone in Amman, Jordan. He was given just one month to prepare the module.</p> <p> &ldquo;It was not enough time. I felt like I was choking,&rdquo; said Haran, laughing. He needed to spend much of that time reading up on the current Iraqi program and having conferences with Iraqi leadership via Skype. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t imagine talking to Iraqis about what&rsquo;s valid for India or Pakistan, I needed to make it relevant for Iraqis.&rdquo;</p> <p> From strategic planning, capacity building, and project design to mobilization, training, and evaluation, you might call Dr. Haran the consummate Heinz College graduate. He fondly recalls interactions with founding dean Bill Cooper, who Haran credits with expanding his interests and making him more flexible and adaptable in his thinking.</p> <p> Haran humbly suggests that while his Ph.D. gave him credentials and credibility to deal with senior officials, that a path like his would be open to any Heinz College grad with an interest in public health.</p> <p> &ldquo;Any bright master&#39;s student with a good analytics systems synthesis approach could have done [the work I did],&rdquo; said Haran.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Eradication endgame</strong></p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: right;width: 250px;"> <h2 style="text-align: center;"> Polio Eradication Resources</h2> <ul style="text-align: left;"> <li> <a href="http://www.who.int/topics/poliomyelitis/en/" target="_blank">Polio Facts (WHO)</a></li> <li> <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/polio/" target="_blank">Polio Eradication (CDC)</a></li> <li> <a href="http://www.unicef.org/immunization/polio/" target="_blank">Eradicating Polio (UNICEF)</a></li> <li> <a href="http://www.rotary.org/en/end-polio" target="_blank">End Polio Now</a></li> <li> <a href="http://polioeradication.org/" target="_blank">Global Polio Eradication Initiative</a></li> </ul> </div> <p> The polio virus only exists in humans, not animals, and cannot live outside the human body for long, which makes it truly eradicable. So what does it mean to completely eradicate a disease?</p> <p> To put it simply, eradication will be achieved when the vast majority of the world&rsquo;s children receive routine immunization on schedule (think 80-90 percent), and that level is sustained for a three-year period during which time disease surveillance validates no new virus anywhere on the globe. Routine immunization will start to feature doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV, or the &ldquo;Salk&rdquo; vaccine), rather than the live, attenuated OPV.</p> <p> Haran says it will happen in one day&mdash;the whole world will collectively stop giving polio drops. Then, all remaining polio viruses can be contained in a laboratory and destroyed, and a horrible disease will be gone from the planet.</p> <p> Haran holds his thumb and forefinger an inch apart, smiling. &ldquo;We are <em>this</em> close.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>For more information about how you can support efforts to eradicate polio, Dr. Haran encourages you to visit </em><a href="http://www.endpolio.org"><em>www.endpolio.org</em></a><em>.</em></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3888Mon, 04 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10533Heinz Alumnus at the Center of the Global Fight to End Polio

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How to Save a Million Pounds of Food…and Countinghttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3904Image associated with news release“Throughout the world, 40 percent of our food gets wasted, while one in seven goes hungry.” The first full-time program of its kind in Pittsburgh, 412 Food Rescue works with over 175 food providers such as retailers, wholesalers, caterers, and even university dining services to recover food that is healthy and edible but that can no longer be sold. Once the food is collected, it is directly distributed to nonprofit and community organizations throughout Allegheny County in order to best serve individuals who are food insecure. Incredibly, since its inception in 2015, 412 and its over 1,000 volunteers have rescued over one million pounds of food—that translates roughly to one million meals for individuals and families who are food insecure.

]]><p> <em>By Scott Barsotti</em></p> <h2> &ldquo;Throughout the world, 40 percent of our food gets wasted, while one [person] in seven goes hungry.&rdquo; &nbsp;</h2> <p> Leah Lizarondo (MSPPM &rsquo;03) is driven by this egregious statistic. The disparity between waste and hunger is what inspired her to co-found <a href="http://412foodrescue.org/" target="_blank">412 Food Rescue</a>, where she also serves as CEO.</p> <p> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re wasting up to 60 percent of our vegetables, I want to give that to people who need it,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> The first full-time program of its kind in Pittsburgh, 412 Food Rescue works with over 175 food providers such as retailers, wholesalers, caterers, and even university dining services to recover food that is healthy and edible but that can no longer be sold. Once the food is collected, it is directly distributed to nonprofit and community organizations throughout Allegheny County in order to best serve individuals who are food insecure.</p> <p> Incredibly, since its inception in 2015, 412 Food Rescue and its over 1,000 volunteers have rescued over one million pounds of food&mdash;that translates roughly to 850,000 meals for individuals and families who are food insecure.</p> <p> &ldquo;Despite major cuts to the federal SNAP program&hellip;412 Food Rescue has managed to effectively end hunger in our public housing communities,&rdquo; said Michelle Sandidge, Chief Community Affairs Officer for the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. Sandidge states that HACP has historically averaged 5 to 7 emergency referrals for families without food each month.</p> <p> Over the course of the last six months, that number has dropped to zero.</p> <p> &ldquo;We attribute this dramatic success to the ongoing efforts of 412 Food Rescue,&rdquo; said Sandidge.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><img alt="412 food rescue bike ad" src="image.aspx?id=10516&amp;width=3139&amp;height=4708" style="float: left; width: 40%; height: 40%; margin: 10px;" />A hidden problem, and how to solve it</strong></p> <p> Lizarondo remarks that historically, American society has enabled and even accepted food waste, but that awareness of the problem is on the rise.</p> <p> As a writer, activist, and entrepreneur, Lizarondo has concerned herself with health and advocacy. She originally pursued a career in technology consulting after graduating from Heinz College, but her passion for food and concern for making a tangible impact on social issues led her down a different path. She spent five years as a food writer, authoring the popular blog Brazen Kitchen for Pittsburgh Magazine as well serving as Editor for NEXT Pittsburgh.</p> <p> 412 Food Rescue combines her passion for food and technology with her desire to combat societal problems. She says that 412 not only combats a huge inefficiency, it also provides nutrition to those in need.</p> <p> &ldquo;In a system that&rsquo;s broken, those most in need of [healthy food] are the ones who can&rsquo;t afford it,&rdquo; said Lizarondo. In addition to economics, access is another huge issue 412 Food Rescue is helping to re-shape. Especially due to the Pittsburgh region&rsquo;s challenging topography, food deserts are a fairly common phenomenon; 412 Food Rescue allows volunteers to deliver food directly to those food deserts&mdash;circumventing the lack of transportation access to many areas in need.</p> <p> Part of what makes this possible is 412 Food Rescue&rsquo;s innovative use of technology. Their mobile app, <strong><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/412-food-rescue-volunteer/id1165397733?mt=8" target="_blank">Food Rescue Hero</a></strong>, is a tool to organize volunteers and is the first phase of a full technology platform for food recovery.</p> <p> Volunteers are able to self-select rescues based on their own availability&mdash;the organization uses Food Rescue Hero and social media to alert volunteers of rescues based on their time preferences and location&mdash;and in many cases a delivery only takes between 30-60 minutes to complete.</p> <p> &ldquo;I call it &lsquo;micro-volunteering,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Lizarondo. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t require four hours of your time. In these small bursts, you can do something good.&rdquo;</p> <p> The app is the first phase of FoodRescueX, a tech platform that will not only schedule and provide food safety training for volunteers, but will also track inventory, catalog tax deductions for donors, and report on environmental impact. The data collected will therefore be a useful management tool for 412 Food Rescue&rsquo;s partners and allow them to identify ways to reduce waste.</p> <p> &ldquo;Our goal is to demonstrate how to scale locally and then replicate nationally, going deep in each city rather than going wide right away,&rdquo; says Sachal Lakhavani, board co-chair of 412 Food Rescue and founder of&nbsp;Pittsburgh startup Srvd.</p> <p> Recently, 412 announced a partnership with car-sharing network <a href="http://www.zipcar.com/412foodrescueunipitt" target="_blank">Zipcar</a> as well as <a href="https://healthyridepgh.com/" target="_blank">Healthy Ride</a>, the region&rsquo;s first bike-sharing program&mdash;the services provide volunteers with free hour credits for their vehicles and bikes, respectively. These partnerships are crucial to 412 Food Rescue&rsquo;s ethos&mdash;individuals who do not own a vehicle can still volunteer as a food rescuer.</p> <p> &ldquo;[It gives us] the opportunity to come closer to our goal of saving 3 million pounds of food in our first three years,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Cool programs make rescued food a hot product</strong></p> <p> As if its core efforts weren&rsquo;t enough, 412 Food Rescue has been launching new programs left and right, all with the aim of raising awareness about food waste and increasing their social reach. The company started an initiative called <a href="http://412foodrescue.org/ugly-csa/" target="_blank">UglyCSA</a> (&ldquo;Pittsburgh&rsquo;s first CSA for rebels and misfits,&rdquo; according to their website) which allows consumers to buy shares of local produce that likely wouldn&rsquo;t sell at a grocer or farmer&rsquo;s market strictly for cosmetic reasons. Lizarondo comments that buying an 8-week share of produce through UglyCSA saves 1130 gallons of water.</p> <p> &ldquo;That&rsquo;s enough drinking water for one person for six years,&rdquo; she adds.<img alt="412 promos" src="image.aspx?id=10532&amp;width=600&amp;height=628" style="float: right; width: 40%; height: 40%; margin: 10px;" /></p> <p> Then there&rsquo;s Hidden Harvest, an effort which rescues apples from unharvested trees in the city&mdash;both public and private. 412 Food Rescue donates many of the apples to their partner organizations, but some can&rsquo;t be salvaged as food. This year, 412 partnered with <a href="https://wiglewhiskey.com/" target="_blank">Wigle Whiskey</a>&mdash;another concern powered by several CMU alum&mdash;to create a limited edition pommeau from the most bruised apples.</p> <p> &ldquo;[Pommeau] is not something you see very often, that you&rsquo;re only going to find if you&rsquo;re in Normandy or these agricultural regions that are reliant on apples,&rdquo; said Jill Steiner, Director of Events and Public Relations at Wigle Whiskey. After considering more straightforward products like cider and apple brandy, the distillers at Wigle thought that a pommeau was the best way to capture the many complexities of the foraged apples. The crop yielded 200 bottles of the liqueur, called <a href="http://www.wiglewhiskey.com/foraged-pennsylvania-pommeau" target="_blank">FORAGED</a>, which is being sold on Wigle&rsquo;s website as well as its Strip District location.</p> <p> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of overlap in the goals and the approach that both 412 and Wigle, wanting to utilize and repurpose local ingredients,&rdquo; said Steiner.</p> <p> 412 also recently put out word on social media that they were looking to partner with a local brewer. They quickly got a bite.</p> <p> &ldquo;412 Food Rescue is a fantastic cause, and something near and dear to our hearts, we strive to be a zero-waste facility,&rdquo; said Scott Smith, founder and brewer at <a href="http://www.eastendbrewing.com/#freshlocalbeer" target="_blank">East End Brewing Co</a>. 412 and East End collaborated to create <a href="http://412foodrescue.org/loaf-and-forage/" target="_blank">LOAF, a craft beer made from stale bread</a>. Smith describes the beer&mdash;which East End brewed a 20-barrel batch of and is currently selling by the glass and growler&mdash;as a pale ale with a &ldquo;bready note.&rdquo;</p> <p> (Proceeds from both the Wigle and East End collaborations benefit 412 Food Rescue.)</p> <p> For Lizarondo, the training she received at Heinz College prepared her for the work she does as a community leader and social entrepreneur, merging technology and innovative partnerships with a human-centered approach to problem-solving.</p> <p> &ldquo;[At Heinz], I learned a lot about program evaluation, GIS, and operations research, all of which I&rsquo;m using right now for 412 Food Rescue,&rdquo; said Lizarondo.</p> <p> Lizarondo hopes to inspire people to realize the immense impact that they can make in their communities by focusing on food waste as a major area of policy.</p> <p> &ldquo;There are a lot of possibilities for young leaders to directly contribute,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;You can make significant change right away, and I think that&rsquo;s an exciting thing.&rdquo;</p> <p> For the people and organizations 412 has served, that excitement hits home, especially this time of year.</p> <p> &ldquo;Because of [412 Food Rescue], we did not have any issues this Thanksgiving and I anticipate the same for the upcoming Christmas holiday,&rdquo; said Sandidge. &ldquo;They have been a blessing.&rdquo;</p> <p> <em>The Food Rescue Hero app is free and available now through the </em><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/412-food-rescue-volunteer/id1165397733?mt=8"><em>iTunes App Store</em></a><em> and on</em> <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fouronetwo.foodrescue&amp;hl=en"><em>Google Play</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://412foodrescue.org/volunteer/" target="_blank">Read more about how to volunteer for 412 Food Rescue &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/school-of-public-policy-management/public-policy-management-msppm/index.aspx" target="_blank">Read more about the MSPPM program &gt;&gt;</a></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3904Mon, 04 Jan 2017 09:33:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10547How to Save a Million Pounds of Food…and Counting

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Heinz Alumnus and IBM Revolutionizing Africa’s Economy With Mobile Datahttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3903Image associated with news releaseA Heinz Alumnus and IBM use novel techniques to provide access to financial products like never before, creating a more inclusive economy. Whether it’s a line of credit, or a personal bank account, citizens in poorer countries often have limited access to capital and financial products that may improve their lives—or even unlock their potential. A Heinz College alumnus and IBM are working on solving that problem in an ingenious way. Skyler Speakman (PhD ’14) is a research scientist for IBM Research – Africa’s Inclusive Financial Services team. Working out of IBM’s Kenya lab, one of Speakman’s projects involves analyzing cell phone data as a way of determining credit worthiness.

]]><p> <em>By Scott Barsotti</em></p> <h2> <strong>A Heinz Alumnus and IBM use novel techniques to provide access to financial products like never before, creating a more inclusive economy</strong></h2> <p> Imagine a woman running a grocery stand outside of Nairobi who wants to grow her business. The problem is, she has no credit history. Whether it&rsquo;s a line of credit, or a personal bank account, citizens in poorer countries often have limited access to capital and financial products that may improve their lives&mdash;or even unlock their potential.</p> <p> A Heinz College alumnus and IBM are working on solving that problem in an ingenious way. Skyler Speakman (PhD &rsquo;14) is a research scientist for IBM Research &ndash; Africa&rsquo;s Inclusive Financial Services team. Working out of IBM&rsquo;s Kenya lab, one of Speakman&rsquo;s projects involves analyzing cell phone data as a way of determining credit worthiness.</p> <p> IBM analyzes cell phone usage summaries of about 10,000,000 individuals in East Africa already, and Speakman and his team are currently exploring cognitive computing and deep learning methods (eg. neural nets) to help as they expand into more data sources. Deep learning is a method that is used to train machines by feeding them increasing amounts of abstract and unlabeled data. The method simulates brain activity like the way humans learn as children, but on a massive scale.</p> <p> Speakman says part of the thrill for him is being able to look at data and make decisions on it that will directly impact people&rsquo;s lives.</p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: left;width: 300px;"> <img align="" alt="Speakman outside Africa lab" src="image.aspx?id=10519&amp;width=355&amp;height=237" /> <p> Skyler Speakman, onsite at IBM Research - Africa in Nairobi</p> </div> <p> <a href="http://qz.com/748354/smartphone-use-has-more-than-doubled-in-africa-in-two-years/" target="_blank">Smartphone adoption has doubled</a> on the continent in the last two years, and there are expected to be <a href="http://www.africanbusinesscentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Mobile-Economy-Africa-2016-GSMA.pdf" target="_blank">720 million smartphones</a> in use in Africa by 2020 (up from roughly 226 million in 2015). As the mobile economy grows&mdash;roughly <a href="http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/43106.wss" target="_blank">a third of Kenya&rsquo;s GDP</a> is transferred through mobile payment systems, for example&mdash;it brings unprecedented opportunities to connect people with resources that were previously out of reach.&ldquo;A successful financial inclusion system allows for an extremely simple financial transaction to enable a higher value transaction in the future,&rdquo; said Speakman. &ldquo;With IBM&#39;s connections to major banks and telcos around the world, we are able to take this philosophy and turn a chain of digital transactions into a new financial product that otherwise would not exist.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;If from a democratic standpoint Africa remains stable, and if the economy continues to grow, then the confluence of economic growth, as well as science taking advantage of this deep penetration of mobile phones&hellip;will take Africa over the edge into the next millennium,&rdquo; said <a href="https://youtu.be/jsOj-lLKm2E" target="_blank">Dr. Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist for IBM Research &ndash; Africa</a> (quote at <a href="https://youtu.be/jsOj-lLKm2E?t=4m8s" target="_blank">4:08</a>).</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Creating a 21<sup>st</sup> century &lsquo;cashless&rsquo; economy</strong></p> <p> <img alt="IBM photo man with phone" src="image.aspx?id=10520&amp;width=599&amp;height=397" style="float: right; width: 309.594px; height: 205.188px; margin: 10px;" /></p> <p> Speakman says that in the past African consumers have typically borrowed from within their own social networks, but when those sources were exhausted, they would turn to less secure lenders (ie. loan sharks). This was not to the consumer&rsquo;s advantage for a variety of reasons.</p> <p> &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t go to a bank and say &lsquo;I borrowed from my aunt five times and I paid her back regularly,&rsquo;&rdquo; said Speakman. He says the products powered by IBM&rsquo;s credit scoring system will provide greater access to more conventional financial services, like those we take for granted in the industrialized world.</p> <p> Recall the Kenyan woman running her grocery stand. Previously, her lack of credit would be a barrier to getting any type of financing. IBM&rsquo;s scoring system can account for her history of transactions in the telecom and mobile money spaces, and then a bank can use that score as an input in their decision to give her a &ldquo;micro-loan.&rdquo; Now, she has the funds she needs to upgrade her stock and grow her business.</p> <p> The system additionally monitors individuals who pay back their micro-loans regularly and subsequently increases their limits.</p> <p> &ldquo;Our credit scoring system monitors extremely basic transactions [such as] phone top-ups, or mobile money sent and received, and analyzes them to give customers access to a financial transaction that otherwise would not have happened&mdash;a short-term loan,&rdquo; said Speakman</p> <p> Historically, the scarcity of financial resources in these communities has inflated the value of cash (and one&rsquo;s access to it). Now, Africa is moving toward a more cashless, nimble economy that is efficient, secure, and inclusive.</p> <p> The need for such products is clearly on display. For example, a bank and telco in East Africa partnered with IBM to create one such micro-loan and savings product, and 1,000,000 new customers signed up in the first 70 days. (For perspective, in 2015 there were 5,000,000 total bank accounts in the same region.)</p> <p> &ldquo;A 20 percent increase in a few months is pretty impressive,&rdquo; said Speakman.</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsOj-lLKm2E" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;Skin in the game&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> IBM Research has been working to create solutions &ldquo;In Africa, for Africa&rdquo; across areas such as education, public health, public safety, water management, and air quality. However, financial inclusion, particularly in rural areas, plays a key role in economic development.</p> <p> &ldquo;We&#39;ve been partnering with local organizations on the continent for almost a century,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/50600.wss" target="_blank">Takreem El Tohamy, IBM&rsquo;s General Manager for the Middle East and Africa</a>. &ldquo;In recent years in particular, we&#39;ve seen how local governments and organizations have been able to leapfrog in technology adoption by embracing the latest innovations such as cognitive systems, cloud computing, data analytics and mobile technology.&rdquo;</p> <p> Recently, IBM Research opened innovation centers in Kenya in 2013 and another in South Africa in 2015. The establishment of these incubators will support entrepreneurial ventures, as well as continue to develop skills and competencies in science and technology in those regions.</p> <p> <img alt="IBM iHub" src="image.aspx?id=10522&amp;width=600&amp;height=400" style="float: right; margin: 10px; height: 50%; width: 50%;" /></p> <p> Of IBM&rsquo;s 12 global research labs, Speakman remarks that he was specifically drawn to Africa due to what he saw as an outsized opportunity for social good. He remarked that he often gets asked if IBM truly cares about social good or if the company is in Africa just to make money.</p> <p> &ldquo;The answer is yes,&rdquo; said Speakman. He believes social good does not come from zero-margin products alone, and that Africa&#39;s biggest challenges&mdash;health, infrastructure, and finance to name a few&mdash;need sustainable solutions that persist after donor agencies have moved on. He is quick to note that there are aid organizations doing great work on the continent&mdash;some of which IBM Research partners with frequently as part of its IBM Corporate Service Corps (akin to the U.S. Peace Corps, but for industry).</p> <p> &ldquo;However, the truly successful projects have buy-in from the end-user,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Skin in the game, if you will.&rdquo;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://www.research.ibm.com/labs/africa/" target="_blank">Read more about IBM Research - Africa &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/school-of-public-policy-management/doctoral-program/index.aspx" target="_blank">Read more about Heinz College PhD programs &gt;&gt;</a></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3903Mon, 13 Dec 2016 09:20:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10528Heinz Alumnus and IBM Revolutionizing Africa’s Economy With Mobile Data

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Bankrupting Terrorism: Heinz Alum Hits Extremists Where It Hurtshttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3905Image associated with news releaseThe U.S. Department of State has prevented more than 300 terrorist attacks by tracing and recovering illegal money meant to fund terrorist activities. But even with that rate of success, the World Bank estimates that approximately $3.61 trillion is laundered annually across the globe, making laundering a colossal challenge for counterterrorism experts. One of the keys to fighting terrorist attacks is further preventing the illegal laundering of money, usually disguised as legitimate business transactions, to fund terrorist activities. That’s exactly what Ian Kloo (MSPPM’ 14) has done. Through his work as a Presidential Management Fellow, Kloo developed an innovative app for the Center for Army Analysis that helped the center’s analysts find links between known and unknown money launderers that support terrorism.

]]><p> <em>By Michael Cunningham</em></p> <h2> Heinz alumnus builds groundbreaking tool to counteract the financing of terrorism</h2> <p> Terrorist activities, like many things in life, cost a lot of money. And much of that money is laundered.</p> <p> Money laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes, such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity, originated from a legitimate source. Money launderers often achieve this by utilizing transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses.</p> <p> The U.S. Department of State has prevented more than 300 terrorist attacks by tracing and recovering illegal money meant to fund terrorist activities. But even with that rate of success, the World Bank estimates that approximately $3.61 trillion is laundered annually across the globe, making laundering a colossal challenge for counterterrorism experts.</p> <p> One of the keys to fighting terrorist attacks is further preventing the illegal laundering of money, usually disguised as legitimate business transactions, to fund terrorist activities.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s exactly what Ian Kloo (MSPPM-Data Analytics &#39;14) has done. Through his work as a Presidential Management Fellow, Kloo developed an innovative app for the Center for Army Analysis that helped analysts at <a href="http://www.centcom.mil/" target="_blank">United States Central Command</a> (USCENTCOM) find links between known and unknown money launderers that support terrorism.</p> <p> Kloo&rsquo;s app has had a monumental impact at USCENTCOM, enabling government officials to seize and interdict what Kloo described as a &ldquo;significant&rdquo; amount of money from known terrorist organizations. For his efforts in developing the app, Kloo was awarded the 2016 David Rist Prize by the Military Operations Research Society (MORS). The Rist Prize recognizes the practical benefit sound operations research can have on &ldquo;real life&rdquo; decision-making.</p> <p> &ldquo;USCENTCOM had a lot of data that had been subpoenaed through various legal actions,&rdquo; said Kloo. &ldquo;We came up with a methodology to go through and create some visualizations based of all of that data.&rdquo;</p> <p> The key to developing this groundbreaking technology, which was unprecedented in financial counterterrorism, was something called &ldquo;entity resolution&rdquo; &ndash; the practice of determining whether two similar names in the same financial transaction data set are actually the same person.</p> <p> &ldquo;We were trying to answer the really hard question of, &lsquo;which two people in this data set are actually the same person, but using different names or different monikers,&rsquo; so getting after that is where I think we had the greatest impact,&rdquo; explained Kloo. &ldquo;We created an interface for analysts to use, where they could go through and create some relatively complicated rule sets to do some fuzzy matching of these names.&rdquo;</p> <p> For example, using Kloo&rsquo;s app, an analyst could determine that they wanted to create a data set where everyone who has the same date of birth, and similar names based on some key metrics, is considered to be the same person.</p> <p> &ldquo;In a typical data set, it would be several hundred million pair-wise comparisons to do that by hand, which is impossible,&rdquo; explained Kloo. &ldquo;But the analysts had the intuition to do it. So we were able to leverage the analysts&rsquo; insight and the power of computers to fit where appropriate instead of trying to shoehorn one into the wrong place.&rdquo;</p> <p> In addition to the Rist Prize, Kloo&rsquo;s work to counteract terrorist financing also landed him a job. With his two-year Presidential Management Fellowship set to expire next month, Kloo was hired on by the Center for Army Analysis full-time to continue leading data science projects that make a positive impact on society.</p> <p> Currently, Kloo is developing an app to optimize space in the Arlington National Cemetery, and he is creating tools to help Army analysts predict which digital news stories will attract the most public attention.</p> <p> &ldquo;Being able to use data science to have a positive impact on society is very fulfilling, and it&rsquo;s one of the main reasons that I wanted to get involved in government work in the first place,&rdquo; said Kloo.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="https://www.pmf.gov/" target="_blank">Read more about the Presidential Management Fellowship &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.mors.org/Recognition/Rist_Prize" target="_blank">Read more about the Rist Prize &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p> <a href="http://cms-staging.heinz.win.cmu.edu/school-of-public-policy-management/public-policy-management-msppm/msppm-track-options/data-analytics-track/index.aspx" target="_blank">Read more about the MSPPM Data Analytics Track &gt;&gt;</a></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3905Mon, 13 Dec 2016 09:30:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10527Bankrupting Terrorism: Heinz Alum Hits Extremists Where It Hurts

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Can We Automate Fairness? Prof. Alexandra Chouldechova on Machine Learning and Discriminationhttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3906Image associated with news releaseMachines are making more and more decisions for us every day - some of great importance. A Heinz College faculty member is laying the methodological groundwork for fairer, more transparent predictive assessment tools. Recent reporting has revealed that data-driven predictive models amplify existing prejudices, and such algorithms can inject greater unfairness into a system that is already slanted against certain groups. Heinz College assistant professor Alexandra Chouldechova is working to solve this problem with research that challenges conventional wisdom in the assessment industry and provides a framework for designing and vetting better instruments.

]]><p> <em>By Scott Barsotti</em></p> <h2> Machines are making more and more decisions for us every day&mdash;some of great importance. A Heinz College faculty member is laying the methodological groundwork for fairer, more transparent predictive techniques.</h2> <p> A judge sits at his bench, stone-faced and contemplating. He has just heard the jury&rsquo;s verdict: Guilty. The defendant is a 21-year-old black man, charged and now convicted of felony grand theft and two counts of drug possession. He is a first-time offender. The judge frowns as he considers the severity of the sentence. Chief among his considerations is this question: If I show leniency now, will this man offend again in the future?</p> <p> Weighing heavily on the judge&rsquo;s mind is the defendant&rsquo;s &ldquo;risk assessment score&rdquo;, a data-driven predictive score determined by an algorithm, which has seen increased usage in U.S. courtrooms.</p> <p> Despite his desire to be impartial in sentencing, the score is ominous. Damning, even. 10 out of 10. The highest risk.</p> <p> But what&rsquo;s behind that score? And more importantly: Is it biased because the defendant is black?</p> <p> What may surprise you is that systemic racism doesn&rsquo;t begin and end with unequitable laws and ingrained, personal prejudices. Recent reporting has revealed that data-driven predictive models have the potential to amplify those prejudices, and such algorithms can inject greater unfairness into a system that is already slanted against certain groups.</p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: left;width: 300px;"> <img align="" alt="Alex Chouldechova crop" src="image.aspx?id=10535&amp;width=300&amp;height=300" /> <p> Alexandra Chouldechova, Heinz College faculty member</p> </div> <p> &ldquo;There are things that we&rsquo;re quite comfortable with [letting a computer model decide for us], like Netflix recommends movies and Google returns search queries to us&mdash;and where would we be without them? But then, there are more questionable uses,&rdquo; said Alexandra Chouldechova, Assistant Professor of Statistics and Public Policy at Heinz College.</p> <p> Chouldechova is working to solve this problem with research that challenges conventional wisdom in the assessment industry and provides a framework for designing and vetting better predictive algorithms. She says while machine predictions are valuable in decision support&mdash;and research shows they are generally more accurate than human predictions&mdash;that it&rsquo;s essential to ensure they are as fair (or even fairer) than humans can be.</p> <p> This is especially true given the immense stakes in certain contexts, such as in criminal justice.</p> <p> The investigative website ProPublica <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bias-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing" target="_blank">recently exposed</a> disparities in outcomes for a recidivism assessment tool called Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, or COMPAS, suggesting its algorithm is skewed against black defendants. The report alleged that COMPAS assigned black defendants higher risk scores overall and inaccurately predicted their future criminal behavior at an alarming rate&mdash;twice as many &ldquo;false positives&rdquo; when compared with white defendants, yet only half as many &ldquo;false negatives.&rdquo; (Northpointe, the company that owns COMPAS, has <a href="http://go.volarisgroup.com/rs/430-MBX-989/images/ProPublica_Commentary_Final_070616.pdf" target="_blank">rejected</a> the conclusions and defended its methodology.)</p> <p> Chouldechova says risk assessments are traditionally held to the same standards of bias as psychological and educational tests, something called &ldquo;predictive parity.&rdquo; While that may seem reasonable, she says it&rsquo;s not adequate in all contexts. Following the ProPublica-Northpointe feud, Chouldechova performed her own analysis, which she presented at the Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (<a href="http://www.fatml.org/" target="_blank">FAT/ML</a>) 2016 conference.</p> <p> <img alt="Propublica bias graph" src="image.aspx?id=10534&amp;width=600&amp;height=715" style="float: right; margin: 10px; height: 40%; width: 40%;" /></p> <p> What she determined is that predictive parity leads to imbalances in error rates that disadvantage some groups over others&mdash;the seemingly counter-intuitive reality that a scoring model can be free from predictive bias in design, and yet still have disparate, even discriminatory, impacts in practice.</p> <p> &ldquo;What it means for a model to be fair is very much an open question. There is no single notion of fairness that will work for every decision context or for every goal,&rdquo; said Chouldechova. &ldquo;Start with the context in which you&rsquo;re going to apply [your decision], and work backwards from there.&rdquo;</p> <p> Acknowledging that machine bias is a real problem means that work can be done to combat it, in criminal justice and beyond. That begs the question: what does fairness truly look like in an automated world?</p> <p> <em><strong>Criminal systems don&rsquo;t over-penalize</strong></em></p> <p> Severity of punishments can be more uniform. Fewer false positives means shorter sentences for non-violent offenders and a thinning of the prison populations; fewer false negatives means more dangerous criminals are being correctly identified.</p> <p> &quot;Before courts adopt a new risk assessment instrument, they should examine whether doing so may introduce undesirable inequities, and whether steps need to be taken to bring error rates in balance,&quot; said Chouldechova.</p> <p> <em><strong>The top applicants shine through</strong></em></p> <p> Current text-mining methods can teach machines associations that aren&rsquo;t based in fact. This creates problems in automated employment evaluations, which often rely on historical decision data to predict success and can cause highly qualified applicants to be overlooked.</p> <p> &ldquo;Race and gender are very visible features of an individual that are proxies for the experiences they&rsquo;ve had and that shape what they look like [as a candidate on paper],&rdquo; said Chouldechova. She explains that an algorithm scanning a resume may not specifically conclude &lsquo;this candidate is a woman,&rsquo; but will pick up values like what sports she played or what activities she was involved in. Those terms could be associated with &lsquo;woman&rsquo; and thus <a href="https://papers.nips.cc/paper/6228-man-is-to-computer-programmer-as-woman-is-to-homemaker-debiasing-word-embeddings.pdf" target="_blank">&lsquo;homemaker&rsquo; instead of &lsquo;programmer&rsquo;</a> based on biases in the data used to train the algorithm.</p> <p> &ldquo;Is that how we want to be ranking our candidates? Definitely not. You want to test and re-calibrate to ensure this isn&rsquo;t happening,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> <em><strong>Who you are doesn&rsquo;t limit access to care</strong></em></p> <p> Patients need not be pigeonholed in ways that undermine their care. In the health context, Chouldechova says that a model may be over-trained on a majority group&rsquo;s socioeconomic or genetic risk factors that are not applicable to patients who belong to other groups, thus causing differences in diagnosis quality or certainty.</p> <p> &ldquo;We need to think about what populations our model is trained on, and consider a different model or data collection scheme in order to better understand the populations where we&rsquo;re not doing as well,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> <em><strong>See the same Internet, no matter where you live</strong></em></p> <p> Geographic price discrimination is the practice of charging disparate rates for the same product or service based on a consumer&rsquo;s location. While this is legal in the United States and some other regions, it can raise ethical concerns and make products and services unavailable to people based solely on their ZIP code.</p> <p> &ldquo;To the extent some companies hold themselves up as ethical entities and not just ones that operate within the bounds of the law, it&rsquo;s important for them to think about these issues,&rdquo; said Chouldechova. &ldquo;Companies are starting to pay attention to doing this evaluation in-house, and the academic community is providing input.&rdquo;</p> <p> She noted that the information you see on the Internet is fully curated and customized when you request it&mdash;algorithms will use data collected from your activities to display select search results while obscuring others, and can create problematic &ldquo;echo chambers&rdquo; on social media. Chouldechova says that just as with decision support tools, these models can be re-trained to encourage exploration of new ideas rather than exploiting known preferences or reinforcing prejudices.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;We can do more&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> It is possible to identify what criteria feed into discriminatory practices and re-calibrate models to avoid them. Chouldechova says that in addition to making predictive models more fair, they need greater transparency in design.</p> <p> In the majority of cases, she suggests there is no intent to discriminate embedded within predictive algorithms, rather there is an effort to predict and classify outcomes (in itself a form of discrimination, but not one that is inherently insidious).</p> <p> &ldquo;I think there are very good reasons for wanting to use data-driven approaches in general,&rdquo; said Chouldechova, however, she notes that predictive models are not as good at handling nuanced cases.</p> <p> In other words, we won&rsquo;t be saying goodbye to judges anytime soon. Rather, Chouldechova says the real task is to give them&mdash;and other decision-makers&mdash;the best, fairest information possible.</p> <p> &ldquo;If we&rsquo;re using risk to color our judgments, then we should be doing it more accurately,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We can do more.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Read Chouldechova&rsquo;s FAT/ML paper: <a href="http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/achoulde/files/disparate_impact.pdf" target="_blank"><strong>Fair prediction with disparate impact: A study of bias in recidivism prediction instruments</strong></a></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3906Mon, 13 Dec 2016 09:10:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10526Can We Automate Fairness? Prof. Alexandra Chouldechova on Machine Learning and Discrimination

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CMU Awarded $14 Million From U.S. DOT For Mobility Research Centerhttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3907Image associated with news releaseCMU Awarded $14 Million From U.S. DOT For Mobility Research Center

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http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3907Mon, 13 Dec 2016 09:07:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10545CMU Awarded $14 Million From U.S. DOT For Mobility Research Center

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A Year of Awards and Accomplishmentshttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3902Image associated with news release2016 was a banner year for the faculty, students, and alumni of Heinz College. Several members of the Heinz College community were recognized for their efforts to utilize data to make a positive impact and develop solutions to some of society's greatest challenges.

]]><p> <em>By Michael Cunningham</em></p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <p> <em>2016 was a banner year for the faculty, students, and alumni of Heinz College. Several members of the Heinz College community were recognized for their efforts to utilize data to make a positive impact and develop solutions to some of society&#39;s greatest challenges.</em></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> <img align="" alt="INFORMS Smith Prize" src="image.aspx?id=10543&amp;width=4728&amp;height=3152" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" />CMU&#39;s Heinz College Named Top Analytics Program by INFORMS</h2> <p> On April 10, 2016, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (<a href="http://www.informs.org/" target="_blank">INFORMS</a>&reg;), announced that Heinz College had been awarded the prestigious&nbsp;<a href="http://www.informs.org/Recognize-Excellence/INFORMS-Prizes-Awards/UPS-George-D.-Smith-Prize" target="_blank">UPS George D. Smith Prize</a>, identifying Heinz College as the top academic institution for analytics and operations research.&nbsp;INFORMS&reg; formally presented the prize to Heinz College during a September 27 ceremony at Hamburg Hall&#39;s Teresa Heinz Rotunda. <a href="http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail-big-ideas/index.aspx?nid=3852" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <h2> <img align="" alt="Marty Gaynor" src="image.aspx?id=10376&amp;width=375&amp;height=375" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" /></h2> <h2> Martin Gaynor Elected to National Academy of Medicine</h2> <p> Martin Gaynor, the E.J. Barone Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Heinz College and former director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, was elected to the <a href="http://nam.edu/" target="_blank">National Academy of Medicine</a> in October. National Academy membership is among the highest professional distinctions awarded to scientists, social scientists, engineers, and medical and health professionals, and honors those who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. <a href="http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2016/october/gaynor-nam.html" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <h2> <img align="" alt="2016 National Cyber Analyst Challenge" src="image.aspx?id=10513&amp;width=6000&amp;height=4000" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" /><a name="NCAC"></a>Carnegie Mellon University wins 2016 National Cyber Analyst Challenge</h2> <p> A team of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) graduate students won the 2016 National Cyber Analyst Challenge (NCAC), a three-month competition developed to fill the ever-growing need for cyber analysts. The Carnegie Mellon team consisted of four Heinz College <a href="http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/school-of-information-systems-and-management/information-security-policy-management-msispm/index.aspx" target="_blank">Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management</a> (MSISPM) students &ndash; Jennifer Urgilez, Sara Mitchell, Krishna Chirumamilla, and Daniel Widya Suryanata &ndash;and one Information Networking Institute (INI) Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) student, Jennifer Burns. After advancing to the NCAC final round on October 27-28, Carnegie Mellon&rsquo;s team had six hours to analyze 80GB of data and find out what happened in a real-world, cybersecurity-breach scenario. <a href="http://www.ini.cmu.edu/news/2016/11/NCAC2016.html" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <h2> <img align="" alt="Philipp Burckhardt" src="image.aspx?id=10514&amp;width=5472&amp;height=3648" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" /><a name="AMIA-Philipp"></a>Philipp Burckhardt Named Finalist for AMIA 2016 Student Paper Competition</h2> <p> Philipp Burckhardt, a third-year Heinz College Ph.D. student, was selected as a finalist for the American Medical Informatics Association&#39;s (AMIA&reg;) 2016 Student Paper Competition. Philipp&#39;s paper, entitled &quot;Multi-trajectory Models of Chronic Kidney Disease Progression,&quot; was co-advised by Heinz College faculty members Daniel Nagin and Rema Padman. <a href="http://www.amia.org/amia2016/student-paper-competition-finalists" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <h2> <img align="" alt="Sean Bowie" src="image.aspx?id=10041&amp;width=400&amp;height=225" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" />Sean Bowie Elected to Arizona State Senate</h2> <p> Sean Bowie (MSPPM &#39;13) was elected as an Arizona state senator for Legislative District 18. Bowie defeated Tempe Republican Frank Schmuck for the vacant seat. <a href="http://www.ahwatukee.com/feeds/az_community_politics/article_c0cdf46e-ab89-11e6-b725-8b703039d428.html" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="border-width: initial; border-style: none; border-color: initial;"> <h2> <img align="" alt="Dr. Todd Wolynn" src="image.aspx?id=10538&amp;width=1500&amp;height=1000" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" /></h2> <h2> Dr. Todd Wolynn Named EY Entrepreneur of the Year</h2> <p> Dr. Todd Wolynn (MMM &#39;08) was named the <a href="http://www.ey.com/us/en/about-us/entrepreneurship/entrepreneur-of-the-year" target="_blank">EY </a>Entrepreneur of the Year&reg; Health Care Award winner in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia for his innovative care and service work as Chief Executive Officer of <a href="http://kidspluspgh.com/" target="_blank">Kids Plus Pediatrics</a>. <a href="http://www.ey.com/us/en/about-us/entrepreneurship/entrepreneur-of-the-year/wpa_wv_article_current_year_award_winners" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> <img align="" alt="Splash" src="image.aspx?id=10539&amp;width=633&amp;height=310" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" />Heinz College Students Take Top Honors at the 2016 Unleashed: Open Data Competition</h2> <p> Two teams representing Carnegie Mellon University took home top prizes at the <a href="http://uladl.com/" target="_blank">2016 Unleashed: Open Data Competition</a> organized by the South Australian The CMU team &quot;Splash&quot; won one of the two Premier&rsquo;s Award and the Australian Computer Society Development Prize 2016. The&quot;Splash&quot; team members were Brenda Kamangara (MSPPM), Guillermo Garcia Tranquilino (MSIT), Hanwei Shao (MSIT), and Jane Huang (MSIT). The CMU team &quot;Walking Hackers&quot; won the Supporting SA Economy 2016 Prize for their &ldquo;Smarti-Fi&rdquo; project. The &quot;Walking Hackers&quot; team members were Minseok Song (MSIT) and Saurabh Tripathi (MSIT).&nbsp;<a href="http://uladl.com/news/unleashed-2016-prize-winners-announced/" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> <img align="" alt="Daniel Fonner" src="image.aspx?id=10541&amp;width=512&amp;height=512" style="float: left; width: 30%; margin: 10px;" />Daniel Fonner Receives Fulbright Award to Study in the U.K.</h2> <p> Daniel Fonner (MAM &#39;16) received a Fulbright-University of Warwick Award to study access to and availability of creative arts therapies for U.K military personnel suffering from mental illnesses. <a href="http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2016/may/fulbright-scholars.html" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> <img align="" alt="Alfred Blumstein DLC Lifetime Achievement Award" src="image.aspx?id=10540&amp;width=765&amp;height=1020" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" />Alfred Blumstein Receives DLC Lifetime Achievement Award</h2> <p> Alfred Blumstein, J. Erik Jonsson University Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research, Emeritus, received the <a href="http://www.asc41.com/index.htm" target="_blank">American Society of Criminology&#39;s</a> Lifetime Achievement Award for its <a href="http://www.dlccrim.org/" target="_blank">Division of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology</a> (DLC). The award recognizes an individual who has a record of sustained and outstanding contributions to scholarly knowledge on developmental and life-course criminology. The DLC presented Professor Blumstein with the award during a ceremony at its annual meeting in New Orelans on November 17. <a href="http://www.cmu.edu/piper/stories/2016/september/blumstein-lifetime-award.html" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> <img align="" alt="Jim Dye" src="image.aspx?id=10542&amp;width=355&amp;height=355" style="float: left; margin: 10px; width: 30%;" />Jim Dye Named One of 2017&#39;s Premier Technology Leaders</h2> <p> Jim Dye (MSIT &#39;14), Director of Global IT Infrastructure at <a href="http://www.buypgwautoglass.com/" target="_blank">Pittsburgh Glass Works</a>, was named one of 2017&#39;s Premier 100 Technology Leaders by <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/" target="_blank">Computerworld</a>. Jim will be recognized for the honor at the AGENDA17 Conference. <a href="http://www.idgenterprise.com/news/press-release/computerworld-recognizes-technology-leaders-advancing-business-digital-transformation-2017-premier-100-technology-leader-awards/" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> <img align="" alt="Uttara Ananthakrishnan" src="image.aspx?id=10548&amp;width=1022&amp;height=1036" style="width: 30%; margin: 10px; float: left;" /><a name="CIST-Uttara"></a>Uttara Ananthakrishnan Receives Best Student Paper Honor at CIST 2016</h2> <p> Uttara Ananthakrishnan, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, received the Best Student Paper - Runner Up award at the 21st <a href="http:///www.fox.temple.edu/conferences/cist/index.html" target="_blank">Conference on Information Systems and Technology (CIST)</a>. Uttara&#39;s paper, titled &quot;When Streams Come True: Estimating the Impact of Free Streaming Availability on EST Sales,&quot; empirically analyzes whether free streaming on a major television network&#39;s online platform cannibalizes the sales on paid channels, and was advised by Heinz College faculty members Rahul Telang and Mike Smith. <a href="http://www.informs.org/Community/ISS/Awards/CIST-Awards" target="_blank">Read the full article</a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &nbsp;</p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3902Mon, 13 Dec 2016 09:20:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10546A Year of Awards and Accomplishments

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It’s Kind of a Big Deal!http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3901Image associated with news releaseDavid Ruppersberger is President of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance http://www.alleghenyconference.org/PittsburghRegionalAlliance/), an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference for Community Development, and a long time Executive Fellow of the Center for Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon. David came out to talk to Heinz students about the PRA's mission to market our region and the challenge of attracting significant employers to it.  He will also talk about the mega-deal that brought the Royal Dutch Shell Plant to Butler County and its potential.

]]><p> David Ruppersberger is President of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance <a href="http://www.alleghenyconference.org/PittsburghRegionalAlliance/">http://www.alleghenyconference.org/PittsburghRegionalAlliance/</a>), an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference for Community Development, and a long time Executive Fellow of the Center for Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon.&nbsp; David came out to talk to Heinz students about the PRA&#39;s mission to market our region and the challenge of attracting significant employers to it.&nbsp; He will also talk about the mega-deal that brought the Royal Dutch Shell Plant to Butler County and its potential.</p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3901Mon, 11 Nov 2016 09:56:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=0It’s Kind of a Big Deal!

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Doctors, Decisions, and Data: Analytics for Better Health Carehttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3894Image associated with news releaseA Heinz faculty member and alumna recently teamed up to improve decision-making and care delivery for patients with chronic conditions. Rema Padman and Yiye Zhang’s published their study in the American Journal of Managed Care. Their collaboration—which began while Zhang was a Ph.D. student of Padman’s—sought to utilize statistics and machine learning algorithms to better predict future clinical pathways and best practice treatments, as well as embed cost information in clinical pathways.

]]><p> <em>A <a href="http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/index.aspx" target="_blank">Heinz College</a> faculty member and alumna recently teamed up to improve decision-making and care delivery for patients with chronic conditions. Dr. Rema Padman is a Professor of Management Science and Healthcare Informatics at Carnegie Mellon University&rsquo;s Heinz College. Dr. Yiye Zhang (Ph.D. &rsquo;16) is an Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research at Cornell University&rsquo;s Weill Cornell Medical College.</em></p> <p> The power of data analytics already guides your purchasing behavior on Amazon and helps you find the next show you&rsquo;ll binge-watch on Netflix. But what if those same algorithms could help you and your doctor choose the best strategy for treating your health problems?</p> <p> Such is the motivation for Rema Padman and Yiye Zhang&rsquo;s new study published in the <em><a href="http://www.ajmc.com/" target="_blank">American Journal of Managed Care</a></em>. Their collaboration&mdash;which began while Zhang was a Ph.D. student of Padman&rsquo;s&mdash;sought to utilize statistics and machine learning algorithms to better predict future clinical pathways and best practice treatments.</p> <p> Padman explains that&mdash;in addition to their own knowledge and experience&mdash;physicians rely on the results of clinical trials to guide their choices about how to treat a particular patient. These large-scale randomized studies have provided information on the treatments for many major diseases, and are the gold standard for guiding health care decision-making.</p> <p> But according to Padman and Zhang, these trials cost a lot of time and money, and they simply can&rsquo;t be used to study every single condition or complication a physician might encounter. Meanwhile, the results of the studies that have been conducted can only tell us about the population in which that experiment was performed, and won&rsquo;t apply to every patient in every setting.</p> <p> Yet, even without good information to guide clinicians in every setting, people are still being treated for a variety of complex chronic conditions on a day-to-day basis. And as those patients receive care, health care facilities are collecting incredible amounts of data about the standard treatments doctors are providing.</p> <p> &ldquo;Every visit, every prescription, every lab result&mdash;it&rsquo;s all being recorded,&rdquo; said Padman. &ldquo;We have data on thousands of patients being treated in multiple settings. Why can&rsquo;t we learn current practices from this vast repository of data, associate them with outcomes to learn what works and what doesn&rsquo;t, and make recommendations on best pathways for individual patients?&rdquo;</p> <p> An advantage of this data-driven approach is that it may help physicians assess better routes of care for individuals suffering from multiple chronic conditions&mdash;something even the best clinical trials aren&rsquo;t able to do.</p> <p> Padman and Zhang&rsquo;s research was able to expose variations in costs among patients who are clinically similar, as well as variations in clinical complexity among patient with similar costs. They were able to group patients based on how their condition was progressing and identify trends in order to predict how a group of patients&rsquo; conditions will evolve and what their next clinical visit might entail, including treatment options.</p> <p> &ldquo;The reality is that few people have just one chronic condition; it&rsquo;s typically a multiplicity of these,&rdquo; said Padman. &ldquo;Understanding the evolution of their condition, their compliance with medication and treatment regimens, and how physicians might best treat them requires a combination of analytical approaches&mdash;not just machine learning, but operations research, statistics, and behavioral economics as well.&rdquo;</p> <p> <img alt="Kidney cross section" src="image.aspx?id=10471&amp;width=600&amp;height=400" style="float: left; width: 30%; height: 30%; margin: 10px;" />Padman and Zhang examined decision-making challenges that arise in managing Chronic Kidney Disease, a condition that currently affects more than 26 million Americans and carries a cost in excess of $23,000 per patient per year.</p> <p> Partnering with <a href="http://tmakidneydoctors.com/" target="_blank">Teredesai, McCann &amp; Associates (TMA)</a>, a local nephrology practice, Padman and Zhang were able to examine the care different patients received over the past two decades, grouping them into different populations based on paths of treatment. (TMA has been recording its patients&rsquo; information in an electronic database since 1994.)</p> <p> &ldquo;Using data analytics to help manage patients with multiple chronic conditions&mdash;like ours&mdash;empowers doctors to spot trends, both good and bad, in a patient&rsquo;s plan of care,&rdquo; said TMA Chief Information Officer Linda Smith. &ldquo;It enables the delivery of a quantitative form of medicine that can detail an exact measurement of the health risks of a condition and the benefits of compliance to the plan of treatment.&rdquo;</p> <p> Padman says that this line of research would be impossible without the cooperation of health care organizations that are willing to share their specialized knowledge, time, data, and human resources to help improve the quality of health care delivery.</p> <p> Zhang praised the TMA team, remarking that they were extremely responsive to queries in addition to giving access to data.</p> <p> &ldquo;The staff and physicians have spent many hours to help us,&rdquo; said Zhang. &ldquo;Without that kind of supportive collaboration, it&rsquo;s very difficult to understand the complex nuances of the health care delivery context well enough to achieve any progress.&rdquo;</p> <p> Padman also credits the collaborative environment at Heinz College for making this kind of research possible. The school&rsquo;s Center for Health Analytics and the Health IT thrust of <a href="http://ilab.heinz.cmu.edu/" target="_blank">iLab</a> represent some of the many ways that Heinz College researchers, students, and faculty members innovate and drive improvement in the health care sector.</p> <p> &ldquo;This type of research and analysis will have a tremendous impact on improving the care process while managing and reducing the costs and improving the quality of care,&rdquo; said Smith.</p> <p> But Padman is quick to point out that this work is just the beginning. The problem-modeling and solution techniques that she and Zhang have proposed will require significant evaluation in the actual decision-making setting before they can be translated into practice. The ultimate goal is to use this information to create computer-based visualizations and automated tools that will help doctors and patients quickly and effectively decide on appropriate treatments in a shared decision-making, patient-centered, care delivery environment.</p> <p> Not only that, but by embedding cost information into clinical pathways and exposing inconsistencies in chronic care delivery, Padman is optimistic that this research can pave the way for improved treatment options that will combine with innovative payment models.</p> <p> &ldquo;You want to be able to manage the patient holistically,&rdquo; said Padman. She gives the example that if a patient has kidney disease and in managing that disease their corresponding diabetes, high blood pressure, and other co-morbidities are also managed together, there is a potential upside for both costs and health outcomes.</p> <p> Zhang, who was recently given the prestigious title of Walsh McDermott Scholar in Public Health by Weill Cornell Medicine, added, &ldquo;I am excited that this work has received considerable attention from both academic and industry collaborators, indicating its potential value. I look forward to implementing and evaluating this research in real patient care settings.&rdquo;</p> <p> Clinicians are already interacting via electronic health records, whether it is entering data for a current visit or to look at a patient&rsquo;s history. Because of this, Padman suggests this innovative analytics approach would fit easily into current practice.</p> <p> &ldquo;If pathway recommendations or associated risk assessments are automatically displayed as a result of the data that&rsquo;s being collected and entered into the electronic health records, that would be the seamless way to enable the delivery of this complex information for timely consumption,&rdquo; said Padman. &ldquo;The possibilities for application are endless.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Read Padman and Zhang&rsquo;s publications on this topic &gt;&gt;</p> <p> Y. Zhang, R. Padman, &ldquo;Data-Driven Clinical and Cost Pathways for Chronic Care Delivery&rdquo;, forthcoming in <em>American Journal of Managed Care</em>, special issue on Health Information Technology, 2016.</p> <p> Y. Zhang, R. Padman,<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2015/2015-vol21-n12/innovations-in-chronic-care-delivery-using-data-driven-clinical-pathways" target="_blank">Innovations in Chronic Care Delivery Using Data-Driven Clinical Pathways</a>, <em>American Journal of Managed Care</em>, special issue on Health Information Technology, 2015;21(12):e661-e668.</p> <p> Y. Zhang, R. Padman, N. Patel, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1532046415002026" target="_blank">Paving the COWPath: Learning and Visualizing Clinical Pathways from Electronic Health Record Data</a>, <em>Journal of Biomedical Informatics, </em>58 (2015) 186&ndash;197.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3894Mon, 11 Nov 2016 16:00:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10447Doctors, Decisions, and Data: Analytics for Better Health Care

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Are Fitness Trackers Effective? A Heinz Expert Gives His Opinionhttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3896Image associated with news releaseProfessor Vibhanshu Abhishek discusses consumer adoption of fitness trackers in a column for The Hill. "As improvements in measurements have led to scientific breakthroughs across fields, fitness trackers have the potential to create a significant impact on understanding and affecting people’s health related behavior. However, the scientific research on the effectiveness of fitness trackers remains divided."

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http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3896Mon, 11 Nov 2016 16:00:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10445Are Fitness Trackers Effective? A Heinz Expert Gives His Opinion

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Competition and Choice Improve Care and Save Lives, Study Sayshttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3897Image associated with news releaseProfessor Martin Gaynor co-authors a study on hospital competition and patient choice and the effects on health care outcomes. "This research shows that once restrictions on patients’ choice in England’s National Health Service were lifted, those requiring heart bypass surgery became more responsive to the quality of care available at different hospitals. This gave hospitals a greater incentive to improve quality and resulted in lower mortality rates. In short–the introduction of choice and competition saved lives."

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http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3897Mon, 11 Nov 2016 16:00:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10450Competition and Choice Improve Care and Save Lives, Study Says

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The Not-So-Affordable Care Act: Heinz Professor Explains Rising Premiumshttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3895Image associated with news releaseProfessor Martin Gaynor discusses the possible factors contributing this year's increases in premiums on the ACA exchanges, as well as the future of President Obama's signature legislation following the election victory of Republican Donald Trump.

]]><p> Prior to this year&rsquo;s open enrollment season, analysts predicted that Affordable Care Act insurance premiums were likely to increase, in some states sharply. That prediction proved valid in October when it was revealed that across the country, premiums for health insurance policies offered on federal and state exchanges were set to rise an average of 22 percent.</p> <p> Heinz College professor Martin Gaynor said that the reasons for the increases are complex.</p> <p> In talking with Professor Gaynor, he lays out several contributing factors:</p> <h2> <em><strong>Citing losses, some large insurance firms left the ACA Marketplace</strong></em></h2> <p> &ldquo;This is a new market, and in any market there&rsquo;s always some churn,&rdquo; said Gaynor. Among the firms that exited are prominent names like Aetna. &nbsp;&ldquo;One thing to bear in mind is that just because some firms are exiting doesn&rsquo;t mean they won&rsquo;t come back.&rdquo;</p> <p> Gaynor points to a marketwide phenomenon that many insurance companies underestimated what their expenses would be and weren&rsquo;t covering costs, at least not to the extent desired. In some cases companies intentionally underpriced plans to attract enrollees, and that strategy didn&rsquo;t work out as well as they wanted.</p> <p> Such actuarial errors put some companies in the position where they needed to either leave the market, or raise premiums.</p> <p> &quot;They made a mistake,&rdquo; said Gaynor.</p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: left;width: 300px;"> <p> <strong>Rise in Premiums for ACA Silver Plans</strong></p> <img align="" alt="ACA premium increases" src="image.aspx?id=10455&amp;width=340&amp;height=798" /> <p> <em>Source: <a href="http://healthcare.mckinsey.com/2017-exchange-market-emerging-pricing-trends" target="_blank">McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform</a></em></p> </div> <h2> <em><strong>Not enough young, healthy people in the risk pool</strong></em></h2> <p> &ldquo;Customers who signed up [for ACA health care] were, in the aggregate, older and sicker patients who require more costly care,&rdquo; said Gaynor. &ldquo;Younger, healthier people who were less likely to need health care services were less likely to sign up.&rdquo;</p> <p> A feature of the ACA that has been very popular&mdash;and pre-dates the exchanges&mdash;is that people under the age of 26 can remain on their parents&rsquo; plan. Many young people have been either exercising that option, or choosing to not buy health insurance and instead incur a tax penalty. (Not inconsequential is the fact that the penalty is less expensive than most health insurance policies.)</p> <h2> <em><strong>Medicaid expansion was thwarted in many states</strong></em></h2> <p> Under the ACA, it was intended that states would expand their Medicaid programs, which would have the effect of providing a greater number of low-income families with state-administered health insurance. That didn&rsquo;t happen.</p> <p> While the law originally required the expansion, the Supreme Court ruled that the requirement was unconstitutional, and as a result many states chose not to expand Medicaid.</p> <p> Gaynor said there are some people who would have been covered by a Medicaid expansion, but who instead entered the ACA exchanges. That had an unforeseen impact on the ACA risk pool as well.</p> <h2> <em><strong>Medical costs drive premiums</strong></em></h2> <p> Something that is important to note in all of this, Gaynor says, is that insurance premiums are almost entirely driven by medical expenses, which have also been increasing since the ACA passed. (He remarks that it is unclear whether or not those increases have anything to do with the ACA.)</p> <p> The rising price of drugs and hospital services can cause insurers to get hit hard, but that this is a part of the equation that Gaynor suggests is largely being ignored.</p> <p> Patented medications&mdash;especially those with highly positive or even curative outcomes&mdash;can be extremely expensive; meanwhile some &ldquo;legacy&rdquo; drugs that are not under patent and yet face little to no competition in the market have been priced more aggressively in recent years.</p> <p> &ldquo;On the hospital side, we&rsquo;ve had a tremendous amount of consolidation in hospitals,&rdquo; said Gaynor. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s nothing new&hellip;but there was a tick up with 457 additional hospital mergers from 2010-2014.&rdquo;</p> <p> He adds that many cities are dominated by a single large health system, and so it&rsquo;s not surprising to see prices rise in the wake of those mergers.</p> <p> &ldquo;If you dominate a market, you can raise your prices and you will. That happens in hospital markets just like it does with gas stations or milk or anything else,&rdquo; said Gaynor.</p> <p> He adds that these activities and their impact are not specific to the ACA, but that they nonetheless have an impact on costs, and therefore affect pricing and premiums.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Policy fixes can help both consumers and insurers</strong></p> <p> Subsidies have increased along with premiums, which will offset some of the direct cost borne by the consumer buying insurance with those subsidies.</p> <p> &ldquo;But that doesn&rsquo;t make the cost go away,&rdquo; said Gaynor. &ldquo;The money has to come from somewhere, and that&rsquo;s being borne by taxpayers.&rdquo;</p> <p> Gaynor also remarks that the ACA originally featured &ldquo;risk corridors&rdquo; that would insulate companies against heavy losses, which are especially possible early in the market. Those were phased out, but he says they could be re-implemented.</p> <p> &ldquo;The risk corridors served a beneficial purpose in helping out companies that got an unexpectedly expensive draw from the risk pool,&rdquo; said Gaynor. He adds that risk corridors could help to keep new companies entering the market from getting under water right away, but that they are not long-term solutions because they can be expensive to the system. Also, if not used appropriately they can cause companies to take more risk than they otherwise would when setting prices.</p> <p> Another possibility for improvement, Gaynor says, is to put more work into the ACA&rsquo;s risk adjustment. &ldquo;[The risk adjustment could be] more developed, more granular, and also timely, so if an insurer gets a more expensive risk pool than average, then the exchange is on top of that and they compensate [the insurer] so they aren&rsquo;t carrying those losses,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>The future of the ACA in a Trump presidency</strong></p> <div class="customSidebar" style="float: right;width: 250px;"> <h2 style="text-align: center;"> ACA Marketplace Signups during Open Enrollment</h2> <ul style="text-align: left;"> <li> 2014: <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2014/05/01/enrollment-health-insurance-marketplace-totals-over-8-million-people.html" target="_blank">8 million</a></li> <li> 2015: <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2015/03/10/nationwide-nearly-11-point-7-million-consumers-are-enrolled-in-2015-health-insurance-marketplace-coverage.html" target="_blank">11.7 million</a></li> <li> 2016: <a href="https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-02-04.html?DLPage=1&amp;DLEntries=10&amp;DLFilter=snap&amp;DLSort=0&amp;DLSortDir=descending" target="_blank">12.7 million</a></li> </ul> </div> <p> Gaynor notes that the troubles with the ACA are not shocking, that with any new program there are imperfections at the outset that get smoothed out over time.</p> <p> Analysts and politicians point to different root causes and solutions, but being that the ACA is the signature legislative accomplishment of the Obama administration, it is a highly politicized topic in which the discussion is usually distorted by ideology.</p> <p> The recent election of Republican Donald J. Trump&mdash;who campaigned in part on a promise to repeal &ldquo;Obamacare&rdquo;&mdash;casts even greater uncertainty, up to and including the possibility that he and the Republican-controlled Congress will seek to rapidly dismantle or defund the ACA, thus rendering all of these financial stresses moot, at least for the time being.</p> <p> Gaynor said the next administration will ultimately have to deal with the ACA. What remains to be seen is whether a Trump administration will make changes that address flaws in the current statute and improve upon it, or whether they will follow through on the promise to repeal and replace the ACA entirely.</p> <p> &ldquo;The latter is far more disruptive than the former.&rdquo;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>If you wish to be connected with an expert on this topic, please email <a href="mailto:shryansh@andrew.cmu.edu">shryansh@cmu.edu</a>.</em></p>
http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=3895Mon, 11 Nov 2016 16:00:00 GMThttp://www.heinz.cmu.edu/news/news-detail/image.aspx?width=250&mar=1&id=10446The Not-So-Affordable Care Act: Heinz Professor Explains Rising Premiums

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