ISyE E-news

April 2011

Special Edition: Focus on Health and Humanitarian Logistics


This Special Edition of ISyE-News is devoted to the work of Georgia Tech's Center for Health and Humanitarian Logistics. The Center, a unit of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute and part of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, has as its vision to improve humanitarian response and world health through science and technology. For more information or to get involved with the Center, send an e-mail to

In this Issue:
Health & Humanitarian Conference Provides Forum for Learning & Collaboration
Your Insights Needed on Survey
Center Project Highlights
Student Internships
Focus on Japan

Health & Humanitarian Conference Provides Forum for Learning & Collaboration

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan on March 11, 2011, occurred exactly one week after the third annual Health and Humanitarian Logistics Conference, amplifying the conference's call to articulate the opportunities, challenges, and successes in preparing for and responding to health and humanitarian crises, particularly on issues that relate to logistics.

The 2011 Health and Humanitarian Logistics Conference provided a forum for nongovernmental organizations, corporations, academia, and government to learn and collaborate across their institutions, promote system-wide improvements in their organizations and the sector as a whole, identify important research issues to be addressed, and establish priorities. The conference attracted 187 participants from countries such as Canada, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia.

Videos of the panel discussions are now available. To view the sessions, visit the conference website.

Georgia Tech and The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of United Parcel Service, were key sponsors of the 2011 conference, generously supporting the conference at the Leadership level. Additional sponsors included Focus Humanitarian Assistance; Northrop Grumman; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and Georgia Tech's College of Engineering, Distance Learning and Professional Education, Health System Institute, H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, and the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute. Read more>>>


Your Insights Needed: Health and Humanitarian Logistics Survey

The Health and Humanitarian Logistics Center is in the process of developing non-credit professional educational courses in health and humanitarian logistics. To better develop the content and to determine optimal delivery channels, pricing, and positioning of this program, the Center is asking for your participation in a 15 to 17 minute electronic survey; your confidentiality is assured. Your responses and contact information will not be shared with any third party.

Please click here to take the survey. If you have already completed the survey after receiving an invitation from some other source, please do not complete it once again. If you know others who may be interested in taking the survey, please forward this e-mail to them.

Your participation will greatly assist the Center in preparing today's and tomorrow's workforce in the important area of health and humanitarian logistics.

As a token of appreciation for completing the survey, your name will be entered in a drawing to win one of three complimentary seats in one of the Center's health and humanitarian logistics courses.

If you have any questions about the survey, please do not hesitate to contact Bibek Mohanty (404-385-7461 or at Georgia Tech.

"What is needed are supply chain managers without borders: people to sort goods, identify priorities, track deliveries, and direct traffic of a relief effort in full gear." (Spokesperson, Doctors without Borders, January 2005)

Center Project Highlights:


Decision Support Tools for Debris Operations in Natural and Man-Made Disasters

The amount of debris generated by some large-scale disasters is mind-boggling, and the task of removing this debris could "require a fleet of approximately 1,000 trucks working 24 hours a day for two years" and cost upwards of a billion dollars. There is a tremendous need for decision support tools that can aid in evaluating the long and short term costs and impacts of a set of interrelated decisions for managing debris operations. Ozlem Ergun and Pinar Keskinocak, together with Ph.D students Melih Celik and Kael Stilp, are working on developing mathematical models and analysis for aiding decision support in debris operations. In this context, they have collaborated with FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers and local EMAs. Furthermore, a team from Georgia Tech went to Haiti for data collection and situational assessment last year; they have been active in disseminating their findings to impact policy decisions in the Haitian recovery. Read more>>>

CVS Screenshot

Catch-Up Immunization Scheduling for Children, Adolescents, and Adults

The problem of constructing catch-up immunization schedules is faced regularly by health-care professionals. The catch-up immunization scheduling suite, developed in collaboration between the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering and (ISyE) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consists of four decision support tools. The aim of these decision support tools are to improve coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases for children and adults and to aid caretakers and providers in making vaccination decisions appropriately and in a timely manner. The tools target four groups: children through age 6; adolescents ages 7 through 18; and adults ages 19 and older in the U.S. and children and adolescents through age 19 in Canada. The tool targeting children through age 6 is freely available and has been downloaded over 67,000 times since June 2008. The tool for adults is also available for download on the CDC website. An online version of the adolescent scheduler was made available this spring.

Dr. Keskinocak and Ph.D. student Hannah Smalley from ISyE, former ISYE Ph.D. student Faramroze Engineer, and Dr. Larry Pickering from CDC have collaborated on this project, which received several awards including the EURO Excellence in Practice Award in 2010 and the IIE Society of Health Systems Best Graduate Research Paper Award in 2008. Read more>>>


H1N1 Influenza Pandemic Response

In response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, millions in the U.S. were vaccinated, with state-specific coverage ranging from 8.7 to 34.4% for adults and 21.3% to 84.7% for children under 18. Many logistics decisions were made by federal, state, and local partners working together for the pandemic vaccination campaign.

During the pandemic response, Julie Swann was on loan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a senior science advisor on issues of logistics and evaluation. Dr. Swann and her collaborators, including ISyE PhD student Carlo Davila and members of the CDC, worked together to study factors associated with higher state vaccination coverage in a system where vaccine was in short supply.

Results have been presented at the Society for Medical Decision Making and the Public Health Preparedness Summit 2011, where the best models can explain more than 70% of the variation in adult, child, or high-risk adult coverage. Currently, Dr. Swann and her collaborators are working together to influence corresponding policies at the federal, state, and local level that can improve emergency response in the public health system.

Student Internships

Georgia Tech students who are part of the Health and Humanitarian Logistics Center have been participating in internships with many organizations. Internships provide a chance for the students to learn about the particular domain and apply the approaches learned in class, while the organization benefits from a fresh perspective on technical matters.

As examples, PhD students Carlo Davila, Jackie Griffin, Hannah Smalley, and Kael Stilp participated in the ORISE Fellows program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where they worked on issues around the H1N1 pandemic, the vaccine ordering system, decision support tools for immunization decisions, and modeling of medical deployment resources, respectively. Melih Celik worked at John Snow, Inc., in the metro DC area to help guide systems for inventory management of contraceptives in Africa. Mallory Soldner is currently on an internship in Rome, Italy, with the World Food Programme, where she is helping to design performance measures for their logistics systems. Internship opportunities such as these often lead to research that directly impacts decision makers while advancing scientific knowledge, and can lead to fruitful future collaborations for Georgia Tech with the organizations, a win-win for all parties.

Focus on Japan


Georgia Tech professors are closely watching the aftermath of the massive deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and are able to provide insight as the events unfold. From the nuclear crisis to earthquake engineering to logistics, the Georgia Tech faculty can give perspective on Japan's ongoing crisis.

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©2011 Georgia Institute of Technology :: The H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering