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Zayas-Caban earns early career award from INFORMS minority forum

Written By: Tom Ziemer


The Minority Issues Forum of The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is honoring Gabriel Zayas-Caban, the Jane R. and Jack G. Mandula Assistant Professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with its early career award.

The award recognizes both his scholarly work in operations research and the management sciences and his service to improving representation in the fields.

Zayas-Caban, who joined the UW-Madison College of Engineering faculty in 2017, applies mathematical modeling and optimization techniques to improve capacity management in settings such as disaster response and emergency departments.

While he was originally interested in improving patient flow in hospital units, with a focus on emergency departments (ED), his research has shifted to providing empirical support, using causal inference approaches, for evaluating transfer decisions such as ED admissions. He is also working on improving care transitions, especially those from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities using data-driven optimization approaches. He is currently principal investigator on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant examining that topic.

Zayas-Caban is also working with Professor Laura Albert on another NSF-funded project applying causal inference approaches to assess the impact of a community effort to promote opioid addiction treatment on the risk of recidivism.

Zayas-Caban’s service efforts include serving as vice president of communications for the INFORMS Minority Issues Forum (MIF) and co-organizer for the forum’s student poster competition, which is held annually during the INFORMS annual meeting. In collaboration with Professor Emmet Lodree of the University of Alabama, Zayas-Caban has also piloted a summer training program with support from the INFORMS MIF and the INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee. He’s worked with the University of Wisconsin Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program to encourage undergraduate students to pursue graduate degrees in operations research and the management sciences.

Zayas-Caban will receive the award Nov. 8 during the INFORMS annual meeting, which will be held virtually this year Nov. 7-13.