Swine Flu Outbreak Puts Attention on Pandemic Planning at Universities

Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
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Emergency Management - May 22, 2009
. . .Colleges and universities are in a unique position when planning for a pandemic. Many students are housed in residence halls, and therefore are provided shelter and food. Should dormitories be closed during a pandemic? Should infected students be quarantined? . . .These are important, difficult questions put to campus emergency managers. . . .Bob Lang, the AVP of strategic security and safety for Georgia's KSU, said it's important for every pandemic plan to identify essential support functions. . . "Those people are going to have to come up with not only plans as to how they would support the university when people don't show up, but how they are going to actually maintain adequate levels of support internally," he said. . . .New technologies may aid planning for pandemics and the information that's available when creating tools like templates. Researchers in Georgia Tech's ISyE created a model that simulates the spread of a pandemic geographically and across time. Julie Swann, a developer and ISyE associate professor, said the model was created as part of a university initiative to study humanitarian logistics in health and other crises, and to use the skills professors teach in areas that have a public impact. "Our reasons for participating in the research were to have a public impact, and this is one of the areas that we saw where some real help was needed," Swann said. . . .Pinar Keskinocak, another developer and ISyE associate professor, described the model: "This is a large-scale simulation model, and we essentially simulate each person in a population according to age groups and social groups - such as households, school groups, work groups and community interaction. Taking all of these factors into account, the simulation model mimics the way the disease will spread both geographically and across time."
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  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: May 21, 2009 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:06pm