Ayer Receives INFORMS Awards for Research in Breast Cancer Screening Policies

Turgay Ayer, assistant professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), was honored with three awards during the 2011 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, November 13-16, for his research in breast cancer screening policies.

Ayer was chosen as the first place winner for the Doing Good with Good OR Competition for his project “Redesigning the Breast Cancer Screening Policies.”. Submissions for this award were expected to have a significant societal impact and include innovation through theory and creative computational methods.

For this project, Ayer researched the role of behavioral heterogeneity in women's adherence on optimal breast cancer screening recommendations.. His research suggests that heterogeneity in women’s adherence behaviors should be explicitly considered in cancer screening recommendations. An account of the award, citation, recipient, and qualifying service will be published in OR/MS Today, the INFORMS member magazine. Ayer will also be invited to submit a full paper to a future issue of an INFORMS journal, such as Operations Research or Interfaces.

Ayer was also chosen as the second place winner among 74 submissions in the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society (MSOM) Student Paper Competition for his paper “A POMDP Approach to Personalize Mammography Screening Policies.” He was also selected as a finalist among 62 submissions for the Decision Analysis Society Student Paper Competition.

This paper analyzed the potential risks, including high false-positive rates, which are involved in mammography as a mode for breast cancer screening. In contrast to prior research and existing guidelines which consider population-based screening recommendations, Ayer proposes a personalized mammography screening policy based on personal risk characteristics of women and their prior screening history. Ayer is invited to submit the abstract of his paper for publication in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Ayer received a bachelor’s in industrial engineering from Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey and his master’s and PhD degrees in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Ayer conducts research on stochastic modeling and optimization, with applications in medical decision making, health policy, healthcare operations, service operations, and public policy.

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