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HIV Folder.

Excessive online support can be harmful for HIV patients

Rajiv Kishore.


For individuals living with HIV, online communities provide the support system they need to engage in critical self-care. However, as new School of Management research finds, beyond a certain threshold, online support can become overwhelming, leading to negative health behaviors.

“Despite advancements in research and treatment, HIV is still highly stigmatized,” says Rajiv Kishore, associate professor of management science and systems. “Many patients feel isolated and uncomfortable revealing their diagnosis — even to close friends and family — and turn to online forums for emotional reassurance and health-related information.”

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the study analyzed more than 30,000 discussion threads from a forum for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS from 2006-17, representing about 15,500 users and 330,000 posts. Working with HIV health specialists to ensure their methods were valid, the researchers measured the emotional support or information the posts provided, and the level of self-care patients expressed in response.

“Initially, we found that as individuals receive more words of encouragement and health information, they develop comforting relationships and better understand the virus, which encourages them to engage in positive self-care behaviors,” Kishore says.

But above a certain level, too much social support can have a negative impact, the study found.

“Many people perceive excessive emotional support as forced optimism and may become stressed or lose hope. Similarly, patients who receive too much information may become overwhelmed,” Kishore says. “In both cases, we find patients cope by disengaging from productive self-care.”

Kishore’s co-authors were School of Management doctoral students Xunyi Wang and Srikanth Parameswaran, along with Darshan Mahendra Bagul, a computer science master’s student at UB.

Rogers receives teaching award established by former dean

Mary Ann Rogers, clinical assistant professor, was honored this spring with the Arjang A. Assad Excellence in Teaching Award.

Established with a personal endowment from Assad, former School of Management dean, the award is presented biennially to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership and a passion for the profession. Recipients are chosen by the school’s teaching effectiveness committee.

According to the committee, Rogers was recognized for her excellent, sustained contributions in the classroom (undergraduate, MBA, Professional MBA and Executive MBA) and her service as faculty liaison and sponsor to the Graduate Management Association. In particular, they noted her leadership and staffing of the school’s new Communication Literacy initiative, a 3-credit course that helps undergraduates build a strong foundation in a range of communication skills, and improve how they write, speak and operate in the workplace.

“In Professor Rogers’s core MBA class, ‘Management Communications,’ I learned the wisdom of presentation zen — that making your presentations simple and beautiful is as fundamental to communicating your ideas as the text itself,” says Nate Gulley, an MBA student. “I will forever ask myself if my presentations pass muster according to Professor Rogers.”

Rogers serves in the school’s Accounting and Law Department and Organization and Human Resources Department.

New York Stock Exchange.

Investors lose, insiders win when IPOs involve analysts

Michael Dambra.


When equity analysts are more involved in a firm’s initial public offering (IPO), investors who purchase stock based on these analysts’ reports lose more than 3 percent of their investment, according to a School of Management study.

Published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics,the study found that information from these reports is more optimistic, less informative and less accurate, resulting in losses for investors but benefiting investment banks, analysts and firms through boosted share trading and pricing. Equity analysts break down investment opportunities company by company to try to pinpoint the investment potential of each.

“In the early 2000s, government regulation removed equity analysts from the IPO process because they were accused of biasing their research to generate more business for banks,” says Michael Dambra, assistant professor of accounting and law. “But the JOBS Act reintegrated these analysts back into the process in 2012, resulting in this less accurate information that benefits industry insiders.”

The authors analyzed more than 1,000 IPOs from 2004-14 to investigate how the increased IPO involvement afforded by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act has affected analyst behavior. They say any deregulation designed to further integrate analysts into the IPO process may have adverse, unintended consequences.

“If the government continues to repeal regulations that prevent putting analysts in compromising situations, we may see more overly optimistic research that further tilts the playing field in favor of large institutional investors,” says Dambra.

Dambra collaborated on the study with Laura Casares Field, professor of finance, University of Delaware Alfred Lerner College of Business; Matthew Gustafson, assistant professor of finance, Penn State Smeal College of Business; and Kevin Pisciotta, assistant professor of finance, University of Kansas School of Business.

IT professionals in a data center.

How to calculate pricing and resources for cloud computing

Sanjukta Das Smith.


School of Management researchers have developed a new algorithm that cloud computing service providers can use to establish pricing and allocate resources.

Published in Information Systems Research, the study provides practical formulas that companies like Amazon, Google or VMWare can use to determine the resources necessary to provide a certain level of service to their customers — and what to charge for it in their service-level agreements. In addition, any customer who uses cloud computing services can use the algorithm to help negotiate on pricing.

“As computing resources continue to shift to the cloud, customers are demanding near-constant access to their files and software, posing a significant challenge to service providers,” says Sanjukta Das Smith, associate professor of management science and systems. “A company can feed information about their data center into our algorithm, and out will come policy definitions and specific prescriptions on how to allocate resources and set pricing, all tailor-made to their environment.”

With funding from a National Science Foundation grant, the researchers conducted extensive computational studies using real-world server log data to validate and supplement their analytical work.

“Better understanding of costs is crucial for effective resource provisioning,” says Smith. “Through our research, providers can fine-tune resources for each client, rather than the current strategy of relying on guesstimates.”

Smith collaborated on the study with School of Management colleagues Ram Ramesh, professor of management science and systems, and PhD candidate Shuai Yuan, along with Chunming Qiao, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the UB Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Cichocki honored with teaching award

Dianna Cichocki at the United Way Day of Caring with the School of Management in University Heights. Photo: Douglas Levere

Dianna Cichocki, clinical assistant professor of management science and systems, received the 2018 Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award from the undergraduate Student Association this spring.

The annual award recognizes outstanding professors who create an atmosphere of creativity, enthusiasm and participation in their classrooms. Students nominate instructors who have inspired, excited or positively affected them from across the university.

The honor is named for a beloved UB history professor, author and scholar who died in 1987.

Cichocki joined the School of Management in 2011 and teaches “Statistical Decisions in Management” and “Statistical Foundations in Analytics.” She holds a master’s from Oswego State University and a bachelor’s from St. John Fisher College.

She is an expert on incorporating technology into statistics and educational practices, and measuring learning outcomes in higher education. Cichocki has given several presentations at the state and national levels on both topics and serves as a content expert on statistics for higher education publishing companies.