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Alumni Profile

Asha Seth Kapadia

Asha Seth Kapadia, SM ’65

Professor, University of Texas School of Public Health
Houston, Texas

  • Received the John P. McGovern Outstanding Teaching Award and peer recognition for outstanding scholarship from the University of Texas School of Public Health
  • Served as a visiting professor at the University of Juarez, University of Delhi, and University of Hyderabad
  • Teaches MS- and PhD-level courses in biostatistics

At MIT Sloan, Asha Seth Kapadia studied Operations Research and knew little about public health. As an MIT Sloan alumna, however, Seth has applied that knowledge of queuing theory and traffic control in an unlikely field, public health, and in so doing has contributed to how patients receive treatment.

While at MIT Sloan, Seth’s thesis advisor was John D.C. Little, known for his groundbreaking work on queuing theory. “He had a major impact on me,” Seth reflects. “My master’s work examined a traffic control model that studied the movement of cars around a traffic island.”

After earning a PhD degree in statistics from Harvard in 1969, Seth worked as a management consultant at Arthur D. Little. There, she became interested in applying queuing theory techniques to two very different issues: the dynamics of the kidney transplant and air traffic systems. “I was amazed at discovering that the movement of kidneys, donors, and patients through the system followed a queuing structure.”

Seth’s interest in health applications led her to the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. Her studies have included the application of management principles to the inventory of blood supply at the Houston Blood Bank, the pharmacokinetics of chemotherapy drugs at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the movement of patients through a rehabilitation facility at the Texas Medical Center.

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