Richard Hughes

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Tauber team project faculty advisor Richard E. Hughes is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Hughes also holds appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Industrial & Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan and has published over 85 peer-reviewed papers. He is President-elect of the American Society of Biomechanics, and a member of the Orthopaedic Research Society and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is also Co-Director of the Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI), which is a statewide registry of hip and knee replacement patients.

Dr. Hughes is excited about the application of operations methods originally developed for manufacturing to the health care industry. He believes that the most important skill for today's Operations students to develop is critical thinking and highly values the educational impact of the real-world situations institute students experience during their Tauber team projects.

What first brought you to the University of Michigan?
 I came to work on a Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) in 1985 in the area of infinite horizon optimization. After completing my Ph.D., I worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and completed a post-doc at the Mayo Clinic. I moved into healthcare, specifically orthopedic surgery research and quality improvement. I am a faculty in the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Industrial & Operations Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering.

What do you like best about teaching at Michigan?
What I love about teaching at the U-M is the quality and motivation of the students.
What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?
I have worked with Dr. Brian Hallstrom, who is an orthopedic surgeon at Michigan Medicine, to create the Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI), which is a state-wide collaborative of 67 hospitals and over 400 orthopaedic surgeons dedicated to improving the quality of care for elective total hip and knee replacement patients. MARCQI uses principles of techniques developed in manufacturing quality improvement to improve the quality of care for joint replacement patients. MARCQI has dramatically reduced the risk of transfusion during joint replacement, as well as decreasing the risk of blood clots. It has also reduced over-prescribing of opioids in this patient population. MARCQI also publicly reports on the quality of implants in a consumer reports-like PDF available on its website (
What is your most memorable classroom moment?
I teach IOE 413, Optimization Modeling in Health Care. This year on the last day of class a student said that my class was “a disruptor.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “Before this, I assumed anything provided in a textbook or paper was true. Your class taught me that even peer-reviewed papers could be wrong.”
Richard Hughes Faculty Advisor for the Tauber Institute for Global Operations