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The Role of Leaders in a Pandemic

Decision makers face limited resources and uncertainty, and they often have different objectives or constraints driving their decisions. Science can help guide decision making, with methods ranging from game theory models to disease modeling to optimization models.

Published onJun 22, 2022
The Role of Leaders in a Pandemic
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Abstract

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the complex systems in which a response takes place, including a global supply chain for critical medical products, a domestic supply chain for consumables like food at risk to major disruptions, and a numerous companies, government agencies, non-profits, healthcare entities, and others playing a role in effective response. Decision makers face limited resources and uncertainty, and they often have different objectives or constraints that drive their decisions. Science can help guide decision making, with methods ranging from game theory models in economics to disease modeling from epidemiology and virology to optimization models from engineering. Scientific advisors in the complex system also must think about how best to communicate in different environments and to different audiences. Julie Swann, Ph. D. will share her story as a scientific advisor on loan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009-2010 and during the response to COVID-19. She will also talk about the evolution of becoming an advisor to decision makers, and the roles that students have had in various stages of the work.

Julie Swann, is the department head and a Doug Allison Distinguished Professor of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining NC State, she was the Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she co-founded and co-directed the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems, one of the first interdisciplinary research centers on the Georgia Tech campus. In 2009, she was on loan as a science advisor for the H1N1 pandemic response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Swann is a research leader in using mathematical modeling to enable supply chain systems and health care to become more efficient, effective, or equitable. Recent collaborations have been to quantify the return on public investments to improve pediatric asthma, plan for infectious disease outbreaks, analyze administrative claims data from Medicaid patients across the US, and design systems with decentralized decision makers.

Moderating the event is Maria Mayorga, Ph.D., Professor of Personalized Medicine and University Faculty Scholar in Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University. Her goal is to address fundamental research barriers in moving from estimates of efficacy to estimates of the effectiveness of interventions or policies by explicitly considering individual patient preferences when the underlying patient population is heterogeneous. She is also interested in optimally allocating resources in Emergency Medical Service systems.

The Role of Leaders in a Pandemic (Julie L. Swann)

This video was originally produced for an audience of entering first-year and transfer students at NC State University as a part of an interdisciplinary experience. It is available for noncommercial reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 4.0 License, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

  1. The Decisions That Need to Be Considered During a Pandemic Related to Vaccine Allocation Survey is designed to accompany Dr. Swann’s talk

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