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MS&E Responds to COVID-19

MS&E Responds to COVID-19

October 16, 2020

computer connection to world
Photo Credit: iStock/Warchi

MS&E researchers are using their expertise in data, analysis, and modeling to find solutions to problems brought about during the COVID-19 crisis. Our faculty and students are focusing their efforts on health care, the economy, human rights, government operations, and more.

Global Impact

As California’s shelter-in-place order went into effect in March, Prof. Ashish Goel’s thoughts turned both to the teachable moment it presented for his students and to the dire ramifications COVID-19 might have in his native India and other developing nations. Students formed into groups and acted as research advisers to government officials, relationships that are continuing even after the class has finished. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan (PhD '01), now at the University of Auckland, likes to say his business is the “science of decision-making.” The expertise he gained at MS&E paid off handsomely in his native New Zealand's successful response to COVID-19. Read more

The Future of Remote Work

Profs. Pamela Hinds and Melissa Valentine are conducting research with Slack to understand how organizations transition from a mandatory fully remote workforce under COVID-19 restrictions to a remote-first or hybrid culture as the post-COVID new normal unfolds.

Additionally, major shifts toward remote work pose new and complex management challenges. Prof. Valentine and incoming post-doctoral scholar Jen Rhymer discuss why remote work might yield different results when it's suddenly mandatory, as opposed to being ingrained into an organization's culture. Read more

In the Wall Street Journal, Prof. Bob Sutton and Tsedal Neely, who received her PhD in MS&E and is now a Professor at Harvard Business School, discussed how managers can make sure remote workers stay productive—without burning out. Read more

Modeling COVID-19's Impact on Health

Prof. Margaret Brandeau and PhD candidate Giovanni Malloy set out to measure the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. Their results show the novel coronavirus is spreading faster in America's jails and prisons than it did on the Princess Diamond cruise ship or at the pandemic's outbreak in Wuhan, China. Read more

Additionally, researchers are developing techniques to estimate bed demand for COVID-related hospitalizations, both within individual hospitals and across geographic regions. Professors Jose Blanchet and Peter Glynn, along with Adjunct Professor David Scheinker and School of Medicine colleagues rapidly implemented tools to help hospital leaders decide when to eliminate elective surgeries, how much acute care and ICU capacity to allocate to COVID-19 patients, and how to stretch out usage of personal protective equipment. Read more details about their COVID-19 calculator, which helps hospitals prepare on a county-by-county basis.

PhD candidate Anneke Claypool is among the Stanford researchers working around the clock to pump data into a new assessment tool that is helping California hospitals and public health officials determine their next moves. Read more about the CalCAT research project.

Addtionally, students are modeling COVID-19 health disparities and the effectiveness of face masks in slowing pandemics, estimating the fraction of COVID-19 cases that are still undetected, and more.

Stay tuned for deep-dives into these new and rapidly developing research streams.

Utilizing Mobile Data

Prof. Nick Bambos is studying public health monitoring using machine learning to process data collected from mobile phones. And Profs. Ramesh Johari and Amin Saberi have teamed up to develop a post-lockdown contact tracing app. These projects are still being researched and developed.

Social Interventions

Prof. Johan Ugander is studying the efficacy of interventions that encourage social distancing, to see which measures are the most effective and which, if any, help less.

How to Be a Good Boss During Trying Times

How do great leaders lead during times of great uncertainty?

Professor Bob Sutton and Graduate School of Business Professor Huggy Rao shared how leaders can meet the challenge of leading during a crisis in their free webinar, How to Be a Good Boss During Trying Times, hosted April 16, 2020.

Watch the recording here

They drew on rigorous research and lessons from wise and caring leaders to show bosses how to make, communicate, and implement necessary tough decisions.

Creativity in Crisis

Professor of the Practice Tina Seelig discussed the creative value of constraints in her webinar, Creativity in a Crisis, hosted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

Watch Prof. Seelig's webinar here

Pandemic Pulse Podcast

Masters student Catherine Gu started the Pandemic Pulse weekly podcast to make sense of some of the most pressing issues that are transforming our lives.

Pandemic Pulse is one of many projects born out of the COVID-19 Response Innovation Lab, a student-led initiative across Stanford.

Crisis Innovation Content Series

A crisis is an opportunity to think like an entrepreneur. MS&E's Stanford Technology Ventures Program pulled together video clips, articles and podcast episodes about how innovators find agency amid recessions, disruptions and uncertainties.

We're also hosting Spring quarter's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) series online for free.

Keep an eye out for new content on the Crisis Innovation page. We'll be adding new content as our ETL speakers address the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in real time.