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June 2020

Quarter 1 & 2 

Stay Connected, Stay Well with News from CHHS


A Memo from the Director of CHHS - COVID-19

Dear Friends, 
I greet all of you with a very heavy heart as we all experience a range of emotions due to the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, adding to numerous other losses of life and injustices due to racism and other forms of discrimination. The Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to harm people, businesses, and the economy around the world also highlighted the challenges, disparities, and inequalities in health, education, and many other aspects of life. We need to stand together, work in unity to lift each other up, empower those who have been oppressed, and to stand against inequality, injustice, and marginalization. Each of us can make a difference, whether we reach out to a friend or colleague to offer support, speak up when we see injustice, listen, empathize, be an ally, become aware of our own unconscious biases, support or lead an initiative for systemic change, educate ourselves and others. At CHHS, diversity, equity, and inclusion remain as our guiding principles. We are more committed than ever to continue our work to improve the human condition and promote wellness all around the world, working together with you and our partners. As we grapple with the pain due to loss and injustices, and continue to face the challenges, uncertainties, and threats posed by COVID-19, I wish for better days with peace, safety, and well-being to everyone. 

Pinar Keskinocak 
CHHS Director

CHHS Research and Thought Leadership in the Fight Against Covid-19


Calm before a New Storm of COVID-19 Infections and Deaths (Scientific American)

COVID-19 pandemic modeling is fraught with uncertainties (Physics Today) 

• Georgia Tech researchers create COVID-19 tool to help doctors spot 'false negative' patients (Fox 5 Atlanta)

• How to Turn the Cacophony Of COVID-19 Responses into a Symphony (Morning Consult)

• In 'coronapocalypse' the worst shortages could be deadly (The Hill)

US pharmaceutical supply chain unprepared for COVID-19 (Healio)

 Coronavirus’ health-care capacity gut check: We need to radically ramp up facilities in America (New York Daily News)

Are Nonprofits Ready to Reopen? What Do We Need? (Nonprofit Quarterly)


Exciting News from Health Systems Alumni


Georgia Tech Health Systems Alum and University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business Associate Professor Pelin Pekgün was recently elected to the 2020 INFORMS Board of Directors as the Vice President of Membership and professional recognition. INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, is the largest international association for professionals in operations research, management science, and analytics with more than 12,500 members worldwide. Read more 


Show your support for CHHS initiatives and programs by making a tax-deductible donation.

National Academies Supply Chain Resiliency Report Released 

CHHS Director Pinar Keskinocak served as a member of the National Academies Committee on “Building Adaptable and Resilient Supply Chains after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria,” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018-2019). The committee conducted a study to document and understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of the supply chain network in areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. As part of the study, they visited hurricane-affected regions and conducted meetings and interviews with numerous stakeholders. The study captures key lessons and observations around supply and distribution networks under strain during these hurricane events. Read the Report or the interactive summary.


M&SOM Journal Review of the Healthcare Management Modeling Literature

In a recent Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM) Journal review article, CHHS Director Pinar Keskinocak and Professor Nicos Savva from the London Business School provide a review of recent progress in health care management modeling research. They address the challenges faced by healthcare systems to widen access, improve efficiency and quality of care, and reduce inequity. They discuss how innovative approaches, utilizing new technologies, data analytics, and process improvements can help health systems to balance multiple conflicting objectives to improve health and well-being.


Pinar Keskinocak Assumes INFORMS Presidency

Pinar Keskinocak, Georgia Tech William W. George Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), a College of Engineering ADVANCE professor, and the director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems (CHHS), assumed the presidency of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). In an interview and podcast, she discusses her goals for INFORMS’ growth, outreach, and impact.

Listen To Podcast Interview 

Read The ISYE Interview 

July 13th - 30th
Professional Education Program

The Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management  Program  has been transitioned online for the safety and accessibility of all interested participants. Classes will be taught by LIVE video instruction similar to the experience you would receive in person. This remote format gives you the opportunity to receive crucial training from wherever you are in the world!


Register or Apply for Scholarship Today: *Scholarships are made possible by The UPS Foundation.

July Conference Postponed!

Health & Humanitarian Logistics

Due to COVID-19 we are unable to host the HHL conference in Nairobi, Kenya this year. Nonetheless, the world calls for our leadership, our collaboration and our innovation. That is why we’ve made the decision to host the HHL 2020 Conference online. More Information to come!
We acknowledge the generous support from The UPS Foundation for the 2020 HHL Conference!




CHHS Researchers Developed a Model to Evaluate The Impact of Social Distancing on COVID19 Spread

As the COVID19 spread in the US continues to grow, local and state officials face difficult decisions about when and how to transition to a new normal. CHHS researchers developed an agent-based simulation model to project the infection spread; outcomes include the number of COVID19 infections and resulting severe outcomes, and the need for hospital capacity under social distancing, particularly, shelter-in-place and voluntary quarantine. Their work received global media coverage. Learn more 


Piedmont Healthcare and CHHS Student-affiliate Collaborate to Create a Digital Tool to Aid in Coronavirus Retest Decisions

For deciding and ordering COVID-19 patient retests, Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta established a paper-based decision tree, but Georgia Tech graduate research assistant April Yu has since converted that decision tree into a digital tool. The automated tool provides physicians with recommendations for best courses of action to avoid false negative results and save scarce test kit for those in need. Learn More 


CHHS Research Director Turgay Ayer and Interdisciplinary Team Develop COVID-19 Policy Simulator

Turgay Ayer, CHHS Research Director, is on an interdisciplinary research team that has received global media coverage on their "COVID-19 Simulator". It was designed to test different social distancing measures and "help policymakers understand consequences such as the rate of new cases, potential strain on the healthcare system, and projected deaths". This tool, born out of a collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Boston Medical Center, is a compartmental SEIR model — the data sorts individuals into groups in various stages of the disease: susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered.  Learn More

UPS Foundation Surpasses 6 Million in Support

The UPS Foundation remains committed to helping Its Global Network of Humanitarian Partners and Local Community Organizations to Combat the Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus Around the World.

• Support surpasses $6 million in grants, logistics and transportation, and collaboration with more than a dozen relief agencies deploying novel Coronavirus initiatives.

• Relief spans local, national and global efforts bringing urgent medical supplies, food and housing support, and financial assistance to aid recovery efforts.. 

Learn More 


Joshua Weitz Discusses Past, Present, and Possible Futures of COVID-19 in New Talk and Interviews with AJC, WABE, GPB
Joshua Weitz says the U.S. doesn’t just need a lot more testing for those who may be currently infected with COVID-19. It also needs widespread serological antibody tests to determine those who have recovered from the disease — and may have some immunity — to begin restarting the economy.


GT Research Team Receives Best Paper Award at ITU Conference! 

Jung Wook Park (Ph.D. student in Interactive Computing), Aditi Shah (CS Masters Student), Rosa Arriaga (Associate Chair of Graduate Affairs, School of Interactive Computing) and Professor Santosh Vempala (Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing, College of Computing), published a research paper titled, “Redesigning a Basic Laboratory Information System for the Global South”. This paper is about how to make the current interface of C4G BLIS better and what factors standard enactment communities should consider while standardizing laboratory information systems. The work follows up one of the most sustained and successful deployments of the Computing-4-Good program (C4G), namely, the Basic Laboratory Information System (C4G BLIS), currently in use in over 10 countries in Africa, and hundreds of hospitals: Learn More 


CHHS, AIMING TO IMPROVE THE HUMAN CONDITION AND PROMOTE WELLNESS through research, education, the development of tools, and collaborations that transform decision making and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of health and humanitarian systems.