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Optimizing Donor Human Milk Bank Operations

Sun, Ruichen (2019) Optimizing Donor Human Milk Bank Operations. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Human breast milk provides nutritional and medicinal benefits that are important to infants, particularly those who are premature or ill. Donor human milk (DHM) - collected, processed, and dispensed via milk banks - is the standard of care for premature and unhealthy infants whose mothers cannot provide an adequate supply of their own milk. DHM undergoes several processes at milk banks, including the pooling of milk from different donors (to meet macronutrient requirements across different milk types), the batching of pooled milk, and its assignment to different types of pasteurizers, before being dispensed to hospitals and outpatients.

This dissertation concentrates on optimal decision making in non-profit milk banks. First, we formulate two integer programs that optimize the batching-pasteurizing decisions and the integrated pooling-batching-pasteurizing decisions, respectively, and establish valid inequalities for both. Our numerical results suggests a significant improvement in pooling performance and production utility, and a modest reduction in labor. The integrated model is in use at Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas and has effectively resolved their chronic production imbalance. Second, we reconsider pooling decisions with the contamination uncertainty possibly caused by individual deposits and assume that every deposit can be pooled with others. We formulate a two-stage stochastic integer program to maximize the expected production utility and develop an L-shaped algorithm without solving exponentially many subproblems. The numerical study suggests a possible expected production utility improvement and provides guidelines for the circumstances under which our model outperforms current practice. Finally, motivated by the powerful modeling abilities of multistage mixed-integer stochastic programs, we consider a specially structured class whose integrality restrictions can be relaxed, namely totally umimodular multistage stochastic programs. We establish several sufficient conditions for the totally unimodularity. We also discuss the examples in the literature and the potential applications arising in milk banks (e.g., inventory management, DHM dispensing network).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sun, Ruichenrus19@pitt.edurus190000-0002-0183-3595
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMaillart,
Committee CoChairSchaefer,
Committee MemberProkopyev, Oleg
Committee MemberZeng, Bo
Committee MemberBogen, Debra
Date: 19 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 January 2019
Approval Date: 19 June 2019
Submission Date: 3 April 2019
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 118
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Industrial Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Milk bank, donor human milk processing, integer programming, stochastic mixed integer programming, totally unimodularity, multistage optimization
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 15:16
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 15:16


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