Pierskalla Award

Pierskalla Award

William Pierskalla

The Health Applications Society of INFORMS sponsors an annual competition for the Pierskalla Award, which recognizes research excellence in the field of health care management science. The award includes an honorarium for the best paper presented in a Health Applications Society sponsored session at the annual INFORMS conference. The award is named after Dr. William Pierskalla to recognize his contribution and dedication to improving health services delivery through operations research. Dr. Pierskalla is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Anderson School at UCLA and the Ronald A. Rosenfeld Professor Emeritus, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and serves as an editor on numerous operations research journals.


To be considered for the award, a full paper must be submitted by the application deadline to the Chair of the Pierskalla Committee (see Application Process details below). The submission can be a working paper, a paper under review, or a previously published paper, and is not restricted to papers written by students. If desired by the authors, the winning paper will be published in Health Care Management Science if it has not been published or is not under review elsewhere.


Papers are judged by a panel of committee members on

  • Contribution to operations research/management science in health care
  • Readability, clarity, and organization of the paper
  • Technical content and scope relative to the length of the paper
  • Originality

Up to five finalists will be selected and invited to present their work at the INFORMS annual meeting in a session devoted to the competition. The panel judging the papers reserves the right not to award a prize in any given year.

Application Process

A complete entry consists of:

1. A single-page PDF cover letter containing the following:

  • Names and affiliations of all co-authors
  • Complete contact information of the corresponding author
  • The paper title
  • Appropriate keywords for the submitted paper
  • The filename of the cover letter should be CorrespondingAuthorLastName_CoverLetter.pdf.

2. A completely anonymous paper in PDF format that meets the following criteria:

  • Author(s) names or affiliations should not appear anywhere in the paper
  • At most 32 pages excluding the appendix but including tables, figures, and references. The paper must include all material necessary for judges to assess its technical correctness and confirm the validity of results.
  • The formatting standards for submitting a paper to major INFORMS journals (such as Management Science or Operations Research) apply.
  • The filename of the submitted paper should be ShortTitleOfThePaper.pdf.

The above two documents should be sent by the entrant as e-mail attachments to PierskallaCompetition2023@gmail.com. The email's subject line should be: 2023 INFORMS Pierskalla Award Submission. Complete entries must be received on or before Friday, June 16 2023.

Any question(s) related to the competition should be sent by email to: PierskallaCompetition2023@gmail.com.

The winning paper will not be announced until the Health Applications Society's business meeting at the INFORMS annual meeting.

2023 Committee Chair

Hrayer Aprahamian

Texas A&M University

Previous Recipients

Year   Recipient   Title
2023 Timothy C. Y. Chan, Rafid Mahmood, Deborah L. O’Connor, Debbie Stone, Sharon Unger, Rachel K. Wong, and Ian Yihang Zhu

Got (Optimal) Milk? Pooling Donations in Human Milk Banks with Machine Learning and Optimization

Zhaowei She, Turgay Ayer, Bilal Gokpinar, Danny Hughes

Strategic Cross Subsidization in Healthcare Capitation Programs: Evidence from Medicare Advantage

Theodore Papalexopoulos, James Alcorn, Dimitris Bertsimas, Rebecca Goff, Darrin Stewart, Nikolaos Trichakis

Reshaping National Organ Allocation Policy

Michael Freeman, Jiatao Ding, Sameer Hasija

Can Predictive Technology Help Improve Acute Care Services? Investigating the Impact of Virtual Triage Adoption

2022 Hrayer Aprahamian, George Golovko, Jiayi Lin

An Optimization Framework for Customized Targeted Mass Screening of Non-uniform Populations under the Availability of Multiple Schemes and Tests

Justin J. Boutilier, Timothy C.Y. Chan

Drone network design for cardiac arrest response

Joan Brown, Song-Hee Kim, Fanyin Zheng 
Identifying the Bottleneck Unit: Impact of Congestion Spillover in Hospital Inpatient Unit Network
Wallace J. Hopp, Jun Li, Guihua Wang 

An Instrumental Variable Forest Approach for Detecting Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in Observational Studies

2021 Kyra Gan, Su Jia, Andrew Li, Sridhar Tayur (first place)

Toward a Liquid Biopsy: Greedy Approximation Algorithms for Active Sequential Hypothesis Testing

Hamsa Bastani, Kimon Drakopoulos, Vishal Gupta, Jon Vlachogiannis, Christos Hadjicristodoulou, Pagona Lagiou, Gkikas Magiorkinis, Dimitrios Paraskevis, Sotirios Tsiodras (first place)

Deploying a Reinforcement Learning System for COVID-19 Testing at the Greek Border

Hussein El HajjDouglas BishEbru Bish, Denise M. Kay (Runner-up)

Novel Pooling Strategies for Genetic Testing, with Application to Newborn Screening

Justin J. BoutilierJónas Oddur Jónasson, Erez Yoeli

Improving Tuberculosis Treatment Adherence Support: The Case for Targeted Behavioral Interventions

Nasrin Yousefi, Timothy Chan, Yusuf Shalaby, Maria Eberg, Katharina Forster, Claire Holloway, Luciano Ieraci

An Inverse Optimization Approach to Measuring Clinical Pathway Concordance

2020 Dimitris J. Bertsimas, Leonard Boussioux, Ryan Cory-Wright, Arthur Delarue, Vassilis Digalakis, Alexandre Jacquillat, Driss Lahlou Kitane, Galit Lukin, Michael Li, Luca Mingardi, Omid Nohadani, Agni Orfanoudaki, Theodore Papalexopoulos, Ivan Paskov, Jean Pauphilet, Omar Skali Lami, Bartolomeo Stellato, Hamza Tazi Bouardi, Kimberly Villalobos Carballo, Holly Wiberg, Cynthia Zeng

From predictions to prescriptions: A data-driven response to COVID-19

Justin J. Boutilier, Timothy C.Y. Chan (Runner-up)

Ambulance emergency response optimization for developing countries

Bariş Ata, John J. Friedewald, A. Cem Randa

Structural estimation of kidney transplant candidates' quality of life scores

Daniel Adelman, Kanix Wang

Optimal genetic testing of families

2019 Arielle Anderer, Hamsa Bastani, John Silberholz 

Adaptive Clinical Trial Designs with Surrogates: When Should We Bother?

Zhijin Zhou, Yingfei Wang, Hamed Mamani, David G. Coffey

How Do Tumor Cytogenetics Inform Cancer Treatments? Dynamic Risk Stratification and Precision Medicine Using Multi-Armed Bandits

Baris Ata, Yichuan Ding, Stefanos Zenios 

Achievable-Region-Based Approach for Kidney Allocation Policy Design with Endogenous Patient Choice  

Sze-Chuan Suen, Diana M. Negoescu, Joel Goh 

Design of Incentive Programs for Optimal Medication Adherence

2018 Pengyi Shi, Jonathan Helm, Jivan Romain Deglise-Hawkinson, and Julian Pan Timing it Right: Balancing Inpatient Congestion versus Readmission Risk at Discharge
Stephen Chick, Noah Gans, and Ozge Yapar (Runner-up) Bayesian Sequential Learning for Clinical Trials of Multiple Correlated Medical Interventions
Taylor Corcoran, Elisa Long, and Fernanda Brava Flexible FDA Approval Policies
Hamsa Sridhar Bastani, Osbert Bastani, and Carolyn Kim Interpreting Predictive Models for Human-in-the-Loop Analytics
Rongqing Han, Vishal Gupta, Song-Hee Kim, and Hyung Paek Maximizing Intervention Effectiveness
2017 Sze-chuan Suen, Margaret L. Brandeau, and Jeremy D. Goldhaber-Fiebert Optimal Timing of Drug Sensitivity Testing for Patients on Firstline Tuberculosis Treatment
Hrayer Aprahamian, Douglas R. Bish, and Ebru K. Bish (Runner-up) Optimal Risk-based Group Testing in Public Health Screening
Wenqi Hu, Carri W. Chan, José R. Zubizarreta, and Gabriel J. Escobar (Runner-up) An Examination of Early Transfers to the ICU Based on a Physiologic Risk Score
Anil Aswani, Philip Kaminsky, Yonatan Mintz, Yoshimi Fukuoka, and Elena Flowers (Finalist) Non- Stationary Bandits with Habituation and Recovery Dynamics
Saša Zorc, Stephen E. Chick, and Sameer Hasija (Finalist) Outcomes-based Reimbursement Policies for Chronic Care Pathways
2016 Hamsa Bastani and Mohsen Bayati Online Decision-Making with High-Dimensional Covariates
  Anil Aswani, Zuo-Jun (Max) Shen, and Auyon Saddiq (Runner-up) Data-Driven Incentive Design in the Medicare Shared Savings Program
  Susan Feng Lu and Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu (Finalist) Do Mandatory Overtime Laws Improve Quality? Staffing Decisions and Operational Flexibility of Nursing Homes
  Turgay Ayer, Anthony Bonifonte, Can Zhang, Anne Spaulding, and Jagpreet Chhatwal (Finalist) Prioritizing Hepatitis C Treatment in U.S. Prisons
2015 Baris Ata, Anton Skaro, and Sridhar Tayur OrganJet: Overcoming geographical disparities in access to deceased donor kidneys in the United States
  Stephen E. Chick, Martin Forster, and Paolo Pertile (Runner-up) A Bayesian decision-theoretic model of sequential experimentation with delayed responses
  Hadi El-Amine, Ebru K. Bish, and Douglas R. Bish (Finalist) Robust post-donation blood screening under prevalence rate uncertainty
  Dan Yamin, Yoku Ibuka, Alison P. Galvani, and Jeffrey P. Townsend (Finalist) Optimal dosing of rotavirus vaccination in Japan
  Justin Jia and Hui Zhao (Finalist) Mitigating the U.S. drug shortages: Pareto-improving contract design
2014 Soo-Haeng Cho, Hoon Jang, Taesik Lee, and John Turner  Simultaneous Location of Trauma Centers and Helicopters for Emergency Medical Service Planning
Joel Goh, Mohsen Bayati, Stafanos Zenios, Sundeep Singh, and David Moore Data Uncertainty in Markov Chains: Application to Cost-effectiveness Analyses of Medical Innovations
  Diana Negoescu, Kostas Bimpikis, Margaret Brandeau, and Dan Iancu (Finalist) Dynamic Learning of Patient Response Types: An Application to Treating Chronic Diseases
  Nicos Savva, Michael Freeman, and Stefan Scholtes (Finalist) Decomposing the Effect of Workload on Patient Outcomes: An Empirical Analysis of a Maternity Unit
2013 Dimitris Bertsimas, Allison O'Hair, Stephen Relyea, and John Silberholz An Analytics Approach to Designing Clinical Trials for Cancer
  Song-Hee Kim, Carri W. Chan, Marcelo Olivares, and Gabriel Escobar (Finalist) ICU Admission Control: An Empirical Study of Capacity Allocation and its Implication on Patient Outcomes
  Dan Yamin and Arieh Gavious (Finalist) Incentives' Effect In Influenza Vaccination Policy
  Ludwig Kuntz, Roman Mennicken, and Stefan Scholtes (Finalist) Stress on the Ward: Evidence of Safety Tipping Points in Hospitals
2012 Vishal Ahuja and John Birge Fully Adaptive Designs for Clinical Trials: Simultaneous Learning from Multiple Patients
Tinglong Dai, Soo-Haeng Cho, and Fuqiang Zhang (Runner-up) Contracting for On-Time Delivery in the US Influenza Vaccine Supply Chain
Reza Yaesoubi and Ted Cohen (Runner-up) Framework for Real-Time Decision Making During Epidemics
Joel Goh and Stefanos A. Zenios (Finalist) Active Postmarketing Drug Surveillance for Multiple Adverse Events
Amin Khademi, Denis R. Saure, Andrew J. Schaefer, Mark Roberts, and Scott Braithwaite (Finalist) HIV Treatment Allocation in Resource-limited Settings
2011 Douglas Bish, Ebru Bish, Shiguang Xi, and Anthony Slonim Optimal Selection of Screening Assays for Infectious Agents in Donated Blood
Donald Lee and Stefanos Zenios (Runner-up) An Evidence‐Based Incentive System for Medicare’s End‐Stage Renal Disease Program
Oguzhan Alagoz, Fatih Erenay, and Adnan Said (Finalist) Optimizing Colonoscopy Screening for Colorectal Cancer
Dimitris Bertsimas, Vivek F. Farias, and Nikos Trichakis (Finalist) Fairness, Efficiency and Flexibility in Organ Allocation for Kidney Transplantation
2010 Soroush Saghafian, Wallace Hopp, Mark Van Oyen and Jeffrey Desmond and Steven Kronick Patient Streaming as a Mechanism for Improving Responsiveness in Emergency Departments
2009 Mariel Lavieri, Martin Puterman, Scott Tyldesley and William Morris When to Treat Prostate Cancer Patients Based on their PSA Dynamics
2008 Wanpracha Chaovalitwongse, Ya-Jun Fan, and Rajesh Sachdeo Novel Optimization Models for Abnormal Brain Activity Classification Spending and Disparity
2007 Chris P. Lee and Stefanos Zenios A Shadow Price Framework for Quantifying Health Care Demand, Spending and Disparity
2006 Stephen Chick, Hamed Mamani, and David Simchi-Levi Supply Chain Coordination and Influenza Vaccination
2005 Eva Lee, Siddhartha Maheshwary, and Jacquelyn Mason Emergency Treatment Response and Real-Time Staff Allocation for Bioterrorism and Infectious Disease Outbreak
2004 Panos Pardalos, Wanpracha Chaovalitwongse, Leonidas Iasmidis, J. Chris Sackellares, Deng-Shan Shiau, Paul R. Carney, Oleg A. Prokopyev, and Vitaliy A. Yatsenko Seizure Warning Algorithm Based on Optimization and Nonlinear Dynamics
2003 H. Edwin Romeijn, Ravindra K. Ahuja, James F. Dempsey, and Arvind Kumar A Column Generation Approach To Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning Using Aperture Modulation
2002 Michael Ferris, Jinho Lim, and David Shepard An Optimization Approach for Radiosurgery Treatment Planning
2001 Gregory Zaric and Margaret Brandeau Optimal Investment in a Portfolio of HIV Prevention Programs
2000 Allen Holder Designing Radiotherapy Plans with Elastic Constraints and Interior Point Methods