The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collaborated with Kid Risk, Inc. to use analytics and operations research to combat the remaining pockets of polio around the world, last night won the 2014 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in Boston.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, World Health Organization, Assistant Director-General of Polio, Emergencies, and Country Collaboration said "This work has been fundamental to so much of what's happened in the polio eradication program over the last few years, and it has helped to support many of our decisions over the last decade and to bring the world much, much closer to one where future generations will never know the terror of this disease"
"Through collaborations with Kid Risk, Inc. and other partners, CDC is helping to identify the best strategies to further polio eradication and achieve the endgame," said Dr. Mark Pallansch, director of the Division of Viral Diseases in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. The competition took place at the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. INFORMS is the premier organization for advanced analytics professionals.
The Franz Edelman competition attests to the contributions of analytics and operations research in the profit and non-profit sectors. Since its inception in 1972, cumulative dollar benefits from Edelman finalist projects have reached over $213 billion.
As a spearheading partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the CDC annually contributes over $100 million of its budget and significant human resources to polio eradication activities for which it maintains high standards for developing evidence-based policies and expectations of cost-effective use of its resources. In 2001, the CDC launched a collaboration with Kid Risk, Inc. to use a range of operations research and management science tools combined with the best available scientific evidence and field knowledge to develop integrated analytical models for the evaluation of the global risks, benefits, and costs of polio eradication policy choices.
The analytical results from the collaboration significantly furthered polio eradication in many ways, including more rapid response to outbreaks and reaffirmation that pursuing eradication instead of control is the "best buy" to prevent cases of paralysis and to save lives and money.
Recognition of polio eradication as a major program in need of stable financing helped support a fundraising effort in 2013 that raised over $4 billion from donors to finish the job. The team foresees increased integration of operations research and management science tools to perform simultaneous probabilistic and dynamic modeling for other complex global health challenges, including other vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and rubella.
The six finalists competing in the 2014 Franz Edelman Award Competition included teams from Alliance for Paired Donation, The Energy Authority, Grady Health System, Australia's NBN, and Twitter.
Every year, the Franz Edelman competition recognizes outstanding examples of analytics/operations research-based projects that have transformed companies, entire industries, and people's lives. O.R. uses advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. Analytics, which is closely related, is the scientific process of transforming data into insight for making better decisions.