Catch-up Immunization Scheduler

At the INFORMS conference I attended a talk about the Catch-up Immunization Scheduler for children six years of age and younger at the conference I just attended. The talk, by Hannah Smalley and Pinar Keskinocak (both from Georgia Tech), was a finalist for the INFORMS Daniel H. Wagner Prize, which recognizes excellence in the practice of operations research.

This tool, available from the CDC, helps parents and pediatricians quickly figure out what to do when a child is no longer on the recommended vaccination schedule. (There are also versions for older children and for adults.) Essentially, given the child’s vaccination history and current age, the tool determines, based on national vaccination guidelines, which vaccinations the child still needs, and when they should be given.

The tool uses a vaccine library that facilitates updates when guidelines change. The problem of finding the optimal catch-up schedule is extremely difficult; the tool uses a algorithm that finds a high-quality solution quickly.

INFORMS 2010 sessions

The INFORMS 2010 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, will be next week. Among the many sessions will be a couple on operations research related to bioterrorism and emergency preparedness, both on Monday, November 8, 2010.

Session MC52 is Homeland Security: Challenges and Advances in Biodefense. The session will include James Chung (Pacific Northwest National Lab), who will present metrics for biosurveillance systems; Douglas Samuelson (InfoLogix), who will discuss the impact of new health care legislation; Eva Lee (Georgia Tech), who will describe decision support systems for mass dispensing; and Chien-Hung Chen (Georgia Tech), who will discuss the design of mass dispensing centers.

Session MD24 is Operations Research and Homeland Security. The session will include Diana Prieto (University of South Florida), who will describe a pandemic simulation model; Carlo Payan (Georgia Tech), who will analyze disruptions to food supply chains; Adam Montjoy (Maryland), who will describe the medication distribution problem; and Jun Zhuang (Buffalo), who will present a medical resource allocation model.