Student Profile: Feng Lin

Feng Lin, recent graduate from the Weldon School, shares with us for our Student Profiles series. Lin studied under Professor Mark Lawley in the area of Healthcare Engineering and has accepted a prestigious fellowship with the CDC in Atlanta. Before beginning her new endeavor, she took a few moments to speak with us about her work and her future.

Where are you from?

Xiamen, Fujian Province, China
Where and what did you study in Undergrad?
BS, Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1999-2003
Why did you choose a career in biomedical engineering?
My interest in healthcare system engineering (especially public health) originated from collaboration experiences with the Indiana State Department of Health. I have worked closely with the health departments, hospitals, and emergency management agencies to assess, coordinate, and facilitate pandemic preparedness. From these experiences, I gained a true appreciation of the public health mission and a great admiration for the inspiring people working on public health. I began to realize that public health decision makers need better decision support for allocating scarce resources more effectively. I saw this need as a huge opportunity, so I decided to focus my research on public health decision modeling.
Although healthcare engineering might be a very new area in BME, I believe that I have wonderful opportunities to collaborate with people in medicine, medical devices, and biology. I can broaden my view by learning from other researchers with various expertise. I have also seen many promising applications of optimization and mathematical programming in BME.
Please tell us about your research.
My research interests lie in employing the methodologies of operations research, systems engineering, and applied mathematics to facilitate and improve decision making in health care systems, with special emphasis in public health. In my dissertation research, I have concentrated on problems in pandemic planning and long-term care. In pandemic planning, I developed an optimal control model to develop optimal triggers for non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) with the objective of minimizing expected lost from influenza related deaths and NPI implementation. In long-term care planning, I applied optimal control to determine budgetary allocation and care provision for elderly Medicaid beneficiaries. An optimization model was developed to determine optimal capacity of community-based services, with the objective of minimizing total LTC expenditure.
What are your hobbies and interests?
[I enjoy] reading, tennis, movies, and photography. I'm also a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE).
What do you think is your defining trait?
I am hard-working and persistent once I make up my mind to achieve a goal. I believe I am a sweet and considerate person. I received a letter of commendation from the State Health Commissioner, Dr. Judith Monroe, in 2006, for my important contributions to public health in the state of Indiana. In 2008, I was recognized as one of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE) Graduate Research Scholar.
What are your goals after graduation?
I would like to continue my research efforts in public health and health care system engineering. My career goal is to become an expert in health care decision analysis by applying various quantitative methodologies to facilitate and improve decision making in healthcare systems.
We heard that you are headed to the CDC in Atlanta. Congratulations! Can you share a little about what you will be doing there?
I received the CDC Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship. This is a 2-yr research fellowship for recent doctoral graduates with a background in economics, policy analysis, operations research, decision sciences, and other quantitative areas. I will work for Quantitative Sciences and Data Management Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP). The mission of the Division is to prevent HIV infection in the United States and reduce the incidence of HIV-related illness and death, in collaboration with community, state, national and international partners.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Beside academic reputation, Purdue BME is indeed a wonderful place for young people who enjoy research challenge and have great satisfaction when solving important problems. I have got wonderful support from all the people at BME since the first day when I joined BME. The [faculty] are knowledgeable and nice, the staff is extremely friendly, and the atmosphere is great.
Feng, thank you for taking the time to share with us. You have described the field of Healthcare Engineering quite well, and are already proving to be a leader in your field. We look forward to watching your career blossom. Congratulations and best of luck in all that you do.