Modeling and Optimizing the Public Health Infrastructure for Emergency Response

The September-October 2009 issue of Interfaces is the special issue with the 2008 Wagner Prize Papers.

The paper Modeling and Optimizing the Public Health Infrastructure for Emergency Response, by Eva K. Lee, Chien-Hung Chen, Ferdinand Pietz, and Bernard Benecke, is a useful overview of the models that this group has developed in collaboration with public health officials around the nation. The RealOpt system can “minimize staff required at various stations in point-of-dispensing (POD) locations to meet throughput requirements, determine the number and locations of the PODs to minimize cost of operations while ensuring acceptable travel times and distances, and help evaluate facility design and flow strategies within a POD to mitigate the spread of disease.”

It is great to see this valuable work getting important recognition by the broader operations research community.

Mitigation Strategies for Pandemic Outbreaks

This week at the INFORMS Annual Meeting here in San Diego there have been some interesting talks on public health preparedness.

At the University of South Florida, Tapas Das is leading a team with experts in industrial engineering, public health, and medical anthropology to develop surveillance and simulation techniques to build a real-time mitigation strategy for pandemics that can begin optimizing the response to an outbreak as soon as it appears.