Celebrating Professor Bengisu Tulu’s Sabbatical Accomplishments


The Business School

Professor Bengisu Tulu recently returned from her sabbatical. Sabbatical, from the word sabbath, is an approved leave of absence granted technically every seventh year for travel, research, or rest. It is a period critical for academic researchers because it provides space for research, writing, grant proposal development and submissions, and visioning. Considering these outcomes, Professor Tulu’s sabbatic leave for the 2021-2022 academic year was productive and successful.

In her research, Professor Tulu investigates effective ways that information systems and technology can support healthcare delivery transformation around the globe. One objective during her sabbatical was to investigate opportunities to commercialize the wound image analysis solution that she and her team developed. To that end, Professor Tulu and one of her PhD students participated in NSF’s Innovation Corps, an entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of innovations to impact. This training, which accelerates customer discovery, provides necessary input and direction for launching a startup company. Professor Tulu plans to submit a Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase 1 grant to develop a production ready version of her system.

A second objective during her sabbatical was to publish. For more than a decade, Professor Tulu has worked on multiple grant funded research projects and collected large amounts of research data. Her sabbatical leave provided the opportunity to publish findings, submitting them to high quality academic journals. One data set was focused on digital innovations such as telehealth programs and related business models. A paper utilizing this data is currently under review. A second data set was used to submit a proposal to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Additionally, Professor Tulu’s work on the evolution of mobile health solutions in the weight management space led to several conference publications.

A third outcome of sabbaticals is to prepare new grant applications. Professor Tulu re-submitted several proposals that were not funded previously. A grant for Improving patient care in severe acute brain injury: a web/mobile/tablet-based communication and decision support tool for clinicians and families in the neuro-ICU was funded for $461,355. A grant for the development of a Text Intervention for Perinatal Depression was funded for $773,629. Additionally, a Smartphone-based wound infection screener and care recommender by combining thermal images and photographs using deep learning methods was funded for $3,058,786. In total, Professor Tulu and her collaborators have been awarded $4,293,770!

Finally, as a bonus of Professor Tulu’s sabbatical I was one of the guest editors for the ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems (MIS) Special Issue on Design and Data Science in Healthcare.

Clearly, Professor Tulu had a most successful sabbatical, and we celebrate her accomplishments. Moreover, we look forward to supporting her as she moves her research and efforts forward.