Ekici Wins 2009 SHS Student Paper Competition

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Ph.D. student Ali Ekici won the 2009 Society for Health Systems (SHS) Graduate Student Paper Competition with his paper titled Modeling Influenza Pandemic, Intervention Strategies, and Food Distribution. The paper, which is also co-authored by Professors Julie Swann and Pinar Keskinocak, will be presented by Mr. Ekici at the 2009 Society for Health Systems Conference in Chicago.

The SHS Student Paper Competition is designed to recognize outstanding work that demonstrates the use of Industrial Engineering skills in improving healthcare related products, processes or services. The paper submissions were judged on originality and soundness, applicability, methodology, organization and quality of the paper. An oral presentation was also a required part of the judging.

The paper summarized the threat of a pandemic flu to aid in the development of a food distribution plan and other intervention strategies. The authors identified the potential problems as being: interruption in services due to infection, infected individuals may not be able to obtain food, and the logistical problems of delivering food to ill people. Their findings model the spread of pandemic flu geographically and over time, evaluates the effectiveness of intervention strategies, and develops a facility location and resource allocation model for food distribution.

The researchers investigated the effects of voluntary quarantine on disease spread, as well as the best time to begin the quarantine and how long it should last. "These results are important because during a pandemic, communities have limited resources, including food and volunteers to distribute the food," notes Swann.

The researchers also compared the two interventions: quarantine and school closure. The results showed that closing schools reduced the number of infected with the virus. "While we hope that a pandemic never occurs, our models will help Georgia and other states across the United States prepare response plans for the potential [outbreak]," Keskinocak commented.

For more information on the conference, which is April 1-4 in Chicago, IL, go to

For more information on their pandemic influenza planning research


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 03/18/2009
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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