School of Management professor Edward Kaplan, whose work includes the development of an emergency response system to combat outbreaks of smallpox and anthrax, was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies on Monday.
Kaplan, who is also a professor of public health at the Yale School of Medicine, was one of 65 new members announced yesterday by the academy. The academy’s election is one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health, IOM media officer Christine Stencel said. The honor requires recipients serve as volunteers on IOM committees studying a broad range of health policy issues such as child obesity and breast cancer.
“The IOM is an honorific organization, but it also brings a commitment on the part of its members to donate their time to surveying on IOM committees,” Stencel said.
Kaplan, the second professor from the SOM to be elected to the IOM, has a background in operations research. He said he is especially encouraged by his invitation to the association.
“It is exciting for me because I have done a lot of IOM-sponsored research in the past,” he said.
Kaplan’s expertise in both health care and business is exemplary of the versatility of SOM professors, SOM Deputy Dean Stanley Garstka said.
“He is a marvelous beacon for showing how much broader the Yale SOM is compared to other business schools,” Garstka said. “He takes conventional business techniques and extends them to policy and social problems.”
SOM professor Dick Wittink said Kaplan has had a particular impact on the not-for-profit and public-sector projects at SOM. In addition to his work with developing response logistics for a smallpox or anthrax attack, Kaplan has researched counterterror topics including the tactical prevention of suicide bombers.
“We have an orientation that is broader than most schools,” Wittink said. “We do not deal with just the traditional business issues, but we also have a strong influence in the non-for-profit and public sector.”
Kaplan’s colleagues said he will thrive as a member of the IOM. They said Kaplan deserved to be recognized for his novel ways of approaching problems and formulating solutions.
“He has unusual capacities; he is able to take just about any problem in which physical methods are meaningful, and he has an ability to think about it as few people do,” Wittink said.
Garstka also stressed how important it is for the student body to have multitalented professors like Kaplan.
“We are looking for similar kinds of students and the way to attract them is to have the faculty doing broader and non-conventional things,” he said.
The IOM differs from other public health care institutions in its diversity, Stencel said. By charter, at least one-quarter of the members of the organization must be chosen from fields outside of health care such as natural sciences, law, administration, and the humanities, among others.
In the past, Kaplan has been awarded the 2002 INFORMS President’s Award, given to those working to advance the welfare of society; the 1994 Lanchester Prize for the best publication in operations research literature; and the 1992 Franz Edelman Award for management-science achievement.