Conference Host

University of Rwanda Regional Centre of Excellence

The University of Rwanda (UR) was established by the Government of Rwanda through the law no 71/2013 of 10/09/2013. It resulted from the merge of the nation's seven public Higher Learning Institutions into a consolidated entity governed by the Board of Governors and an Academic Senate with strong staff and student representation, along with the Vice Chancellor who is the University's chief executive officer. The UR is a singular, multi-campus institution offering a wide range of academic studies. As such, it provides opportunities for students to pursue a variety of programs (Undergraduate, Postgraduate, Short courses and Professional Training) - some that are quite specialized in nature, others that are multi-disciplinary and/or problem-based in focus - and to undertake their studies at different locations across the country, both through classes at designated campuses and through access to distance learning.'

On May 26th 2016, the World Bank Board approved the award of 24, competitively-selected, African Centres of Excellence (ACEs) for 8 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. Four of these Centres are based at the University of Rwanda. READ MORE

Conference Co-Chairs

Jarrod Goentzel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Director, MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab
Research Scientist and Lecturer
Jarrod Goentzel

Jarrod Goentzel is founder and director of the MIT Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab in the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. His research focuses on meeting human needs in resource-constrained settings through better supply chain management, information systems, and decision support technology. Dr. Goentzel leads fieldwork in a range of contexts to develop insights that improve response efforts during emergencies and strengthen supply chains in vulnerable communities. Research involves direct engagement with the private sector, government agencies, humanitarian, international development, and community organizations on several continents. Dr. Goentzel has created residential and online courses and in humanitarian logistics, international operations, and supply chain finance, and has extensive experience using simulation games to build intuition and leadership skills.

Previously, Dr. Goentzel was Executive Director of the MIT Supply Chain Management (SCM) Program, a nine-month master’s degree program. He joined MIT in 2003 to establish the Zaragoza Logistics Center in Spain, which was the first node in the MIT Global SCALE Network. He received a Ph.D. from the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Özlem Ergun, PhD

Northeastern University
Co-founder, Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS)
Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Dr. Özlem Ergun is currently a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. Prior to beginning at Northeastern, Dr. Ergun was the Coca-Cola Associate Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech where she co-founded the Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS). Dr. Ergun’s research focuses on the design and management of large-scale networks. She has applied her work on network design, management and collaboration to problems arising in the airline, ocean cargo and trucking industries. Recently, her work has been focused on the use of systems thinking and mathematical modeling in applications with societal impact, such as applying new algorithmic and analytical tools to important real world problems. She has worked with organizations that respond to humanitarian crisis around the world, including: UN WFP, IFRC, CARE USA, FEMA, USACE, CDC, AFCEMA, and MedShare International. Dr. Ergun received a B.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001, and she was awarded the NSF Career Award in 2003.

Pinar Keskinocak, PhD

Georgia Institute of Technology
Director & Co-founder, Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS)
William W. George Chair and ADVANCE Professor, School of Industrial & Systems Engineering

Pinar Keskinocak is the director and co-founder of the Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) at Georgia Tech. She has over 20 years of experience in logistics and supply management. Her work focuses on the applications of operations research and management science with societal impact, particularly health and humanitarian applications. Her recent work has addressed infectious disease modeling (e.g., cholera, pandemic flu), evaluating intervention strategies, and resource allocation; catch-up scheduling for vaccinations; medical decision-making (e.g., disease screening); hospital operations management; disaster preparedness and response (e.g., prepositioning inventory, debris management). Dr. Keskinocak has worked on a variety of projects with companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and healthcare providers, including American Red Cross, CARE, CDC, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, Pan-American Health Organization, and the Task Force for Global Health.

Julie Swann, PhD

NC State University
Co-founder, Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS)
Department Head and A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Julie Swann is Department Head and the A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor at the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) at North Carolina State University. She is also 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 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.

Luk Van Wassenhove, PhD

Academic Director, Humanitarian Research Group

Professor Van Wassenhove's research focus is on closed-loop supply chains (product take-back and end-of-life issues) and on disaster management (humanitarian logistics). He is the author of many award-winning teaching cases and regularly consults for major international corporations. He recently co-edited special issues on humanitarian operations for the Journal of Operations Management, the Production and Operations Management Journal and the European Journal of Operational Research.

Liz Igharo

The International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL)
Executive Director

Elizabeth is an accomplished public health development leader who has more than 15 years of experience in supply chain management of medicines and medical supplies in immunization campaigns, reproductive health, tuberculosis, and malaria as well as maternal and newborn health programs. Elizabeth, a founding member of IAPHL, holds a master’s degree in public health and is based in Abuja, Nigeria. She has worked in the private sector as a co-owner and managing director of a pharmacy, an educator in Nigeria’s public school system  and has held various positions at an international NGO that helps ministries of health develop and improve their public health supply chains. She has presented on public health supply chains at numerous conferences around the world.

Dominique Zwinkels

People that Deliver (PtD)
Executive Manager

Dominique is the Executive Manager of the People that Deliver Initiative (PtD). She is an international development professional with 22 years of experience in managing programs with a focus on health supply chain management, livelihood, food security and nutrition.

Since 2016 Dominique has been responsible for the management and overall performance of PtD, a broad coalition of governments and international, regional and national organizations working together to raise the profile of the health supply chain workforce as a key strategic area of health systems. Prior to PtD she worked for ten years on the HIV/AIDS supply chain for John Snow International (JSI) at the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), which procured and delivered essential lifesaving medicines and related commodities to HIV/AIDS programs around the world.

Dominique also has experience working with multilateral development agencies; the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. She has both an MBA in International Business Administration and a Master's degree in Nutrition. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Dutch. As a native of The Netherlands and having lived in Latin America (Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela) and Washington, DC, she is now based at UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Program Committee

Rwanda Convention Bureau

Laila Akhlaghi, PhamD, MPA, MMSCM

John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Senior Technical Advisor
Laila Akhlaghi

Dr. Akhlaghi’s career ranges from working as a pharmacist in a retail pharmacy chain in the United States to providing technical assistance in pharmaceutical and supply chain management in low and middle income countries, giving her a unique and multisectoral perspective. She is an APICS certified supply chain professional with 18 years of experience working to strengthen the pharmaceutical sector, public health supply chains, and project management.

Working with organizations like USAID, UNFPA, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she is known for her ability to synthesize information and clearly communicate complex subjects to facilitate decision-making. She joined JSI over eight years ago and now serves as the Senior Technical Advisor managing the Family Planning Access Programs, which includes the Jadelle Access Program, Implanon Access Initiative, and the Sayana Press Introduction activities. In her role, she constantly liaises with the pharmaceutical industry, donor organizations, and in-country partners to design and implement strategic initiatives that improve product introduction, registration, sourcing, production, and delivery, and ultimately bring supply closer to demand to serve varied markets in a broad range of countries throughout the world. Most recently, Laila provided technical assistance to UNFPA in Cox's Bazar as they transition their supply chain to more stable conditions.

Previously, with Management Sciences for Health’s RPM Plus Program, she oversaw the development of Quantimed a pharmaceutical forecasting tool; with the Department of Health and Human Services, she administered the 340B Prime Vendor program, an indigent care discount pooled procurement program with over US$100 million in annual sales; and began her career as an Executive Resident in Association Management. She has worked in over 20 countries across Africa and Asia to provide pharmaceutical system strengthening and forecasting and supply planning technical assistance. Dr. Akhlaghi received her Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kentucky, her MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management from MIT and is licensed to practice in the state of Virginia.

George Fenton

Humanitarian Logistics Association
Chairman & CEO

George Fenton is an experienced consultant and evaluator, working with both the aid and private sectors, in the fields of emergency preparedness, response and logistics, including digital cash transfers and market-based interventions. He is an expert in humanitarian supply chain management with over 30 years of experience and is a leader in his field, having co-founded: the Humanitarian Logistics Association, a global humanitarian logistics community of practice and professional development body; the global Fleet Forum which promotes aid transport knowledge sharing, road safety and capacity building; and the East Africa Inter-Agency Working Group for disaster preparedness. George has also played an influential role within international fora such as the World Humanitarian Summit and the Humanitarian Response Network. 

George has led and managed emergency operations and logistics teams to ensure successful multi-million dollar responses to a wide range of global humanitarian crises over the past decade. Constantly seeking new challenges, he uses his academic, private and aid sector networks, broad management experience and versatile skills to support improvements to the delivery of aid by influencing practical, innovative changes to ways in which resources are used.

As a senior executive George has worked for the United Nations and several of the world’s largest non-governmental organisations, leading the development of new technologies, such as mobile data solutions to facilitate cash transfers, developing national supply chain capacity, and managing key relationships with a broad range of stakeholders. He has recently been involved in several UN and donor evaluations of emergency preparedness, response and logistics services in East Africa.

John W. Fitzsimmons

Chief, Revolving Fund for Vaccines
John W. Fitzsimmons

Mr. Fitzsimmons’ public health career in the expanded program of immunizations includes periods of service through PAHO/WHO (1981-94, 2001-07 and 2016 to present) through SEARO/WHO in New Delhi (1997-2001) and through CDC in Atlanta (2007-16).  In a variety of technical, operational, and vaccine supply chain positions he supported achievements by national immunization programs in regional and global public health goals for polio eradication, measles and rubella elimination and the control of vaccine preventable diseases.  Mr. Fitzsimmons holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his published work focuses on the sustainability of national immunization programs and vaccine supply chains.

Inès K. Gege Buki

USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program
Country Director
Inès K. Gege Buki

Inès Buki is the Country Director for the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program - Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project in Rwanda since 2016. With about 16 years of professional experience working under USAID funded projects, Inès served as Country Director for Rwanda and Cameroon for both the USAID Strengthening Pharmaceutical System (SPS) project and USAID Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) project. Also, she had supported through several technical assistance assignments countries such as Senegal, Benin, Burundi, Gabon, respectively on behalf of the USAID Grant Management Solutions project to improve the management of Global Fund grant, for national forecasting and supply plan exercises for antimalarial and HIV/AIDs products, for the design and implementation of a Coordinated Procurement and Distribution System for pharmaceuticals, and for designing and implementing  supply chain management system assessment for pharmaceuticals.

Inès also served at a regional position as Principal Technical Advisor for the UNITAID funded Achieving Catalytic Expansion of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in the Sahel (ACCESS-SMC) project supporting countries’ such as Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso, National Malaria Control program to assess regulatory systems and supply chain system readiness to support the implementation of a malaria prevention program which provided Sulfoxide-Pyrimethamine/Amodiaquine to the under five children. Inès hold a Bachelor degree in Pharmacy science and a Master in Health Economy & Pharmacoeconomic. 

Paulo Gonçalves, PhD

Università della Svizzera italiana
Professor of Management
Founder and Director of the Master of Humanitarian Logistics and Management (MASHLM)

Paulo Gonçalves is Professor of Management at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) and Founder and Director of the Master of Humanitarian Logistics and Management (MASHLM). He is also a research affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He holds a Ph.D. in Management Science from MIT Sloan and an M.Sc. from MIT. Paulo received an Intel Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award in 2003. For his dissertation, he has won the 2004 Doctoral dissertation award given annually by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). His research combines experiments, simulation, optimization, and econometrics to understand and improve procurement, pre-positioning, inventory, and resource allocation decisions in humanitarian settings.

Paul Molinaro

World Health Organization
Chief, Operations Support and Logistics
Paul Molinaro

Mr Paul Molinaro currently serves in WHO Health Emergency Programme, heading the Operations Support and Logistics team. A national of Kenya, he holds a master’s degree in Defence Logistics Management, from Cranfield University in the UK.  Prior to joining WHO last year, Paul was the Supply and Logistics Chief in the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa. His professional experience also includes other assignments within the UNICEF Supply Division, first within the emergency department, and subsequently with the Change Management Unit, as project lead to transform the global supply function. Paul has extensive experience in managing emergency supply and logistics operations around the world, starting on the Kenya-Somalia border in 1993. Between 1993 and 1999, he performed multiple logistics roles with UNHCR and CARE International.

Joe Ruiz

The UPS Foundation
Director, UPS Humanitarian Relief & Resilience, Environmental Sustainability and UPS Foundation Communications
Joe Ruiz

Joe oversees The UPS Foundation’s Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program, directing The UPS Foundation’s work in Disaster Resilience, Response and Recovery, combining philanthropic investments, technical expertise, skilled volunteerism, thought leadership collaboration, and global logistical support.

In this role, Joe leads the award-winning Medical Drone Network initiative launched in 2016 in Rwanda. He also oversees UPS supply chain logisticians deployed around the world including: The UPS Humanitarian Expert on Mission Program that embeds skilled volunteers with UN and other non-governmental organizations to strengthen public health supply chains; The Logistics Emergency Team (LET) loaned manager program that deploys supply chain experts to assist the U.N. Global Logistics Cluster response to natural disasters and complex crises to develop last mile supply chain solutions.

Joe has been with UPS for 31 years and has held district, region and corporate positions before joining The UPS Foundation in 2007. Joe currently serves on non-profit boards as the Vice-Chairman for The Center for Disaster Philanthropy. He also serves on The Salvation Army National Advisory Board and The Good360 Corporate Advisory Council. He is a former member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Risk & Resilience and also served on the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) Executive Committee.

David Sarley

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Senior Program Officer

David Sarley has worked for 15 years in public health supply chain management, 10 years with JSI and five at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently part of the Foundation’s Vaccine Delivery's new Strategy and Innovation team and manages several investments including work with Zipline, PATH, WHO and the African Resource Center for supply chain in SA and Nigeria. He is researching innovation platforms and partners including African based incubators. At JSI he held several positions in the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT including Director of Public Health Supply chain work and led work on supply chain costing. Prior to JSI he worked in economics consultancy for 16 years in trade, transport, finance and health economics. He was also a volunteer with VSO in the Caribbean teaching economics and started his career with Ford in inventory management. He has a degree in Econometrics from Hull University and a Post Graduate Diploma from Southampton University. He was born in Cornwall, has also lived in West Ham, Baghdad, Hull, Southampton, Grenada, Bethesda Maryland and now Seattle. He has worked in over 80 countries doing short term economics and public health consulting and management assignments. He wore a West Ham shirt in the Foundation’s got talent show and tries to tell at least one bad joke in every meeting. He is encouraging Foundation staff to fill whiteboard space with art graffiti and recently drew Black Panther and Warren Buffett inspired cartoons. He has a terrible sense of humor and more confidence than talent. 

Alexis Strader

People that Deliver (PtD)
Project Officer
Alexis Strader

Alexis Strader has over eight years of experience in project management and strategic communications for global health programs, primarily in health supply chain management. In her current role as the Project Officer for the People that Deliver Initiative, Alexis advocates for sustainable workforce development through advocacy, communications, and research. She supports the Executive Manager in the day-to-day management of the PtD Secretariat and is responsible for partnership building and coordination between donors, board members, and PtD’s host organization, UNICEF. Before joining PtD, Alexis was based in Dakar, Senegal, where she worked at Dimagi managing mobile health projects for clients across the region. Of note, she provided capacity building support to the National Pharmacy Association in Senegal as they revamped their supply chain management mobile technology. Prior to Dimagi, Alexis worked with several public health non-governmental organizations, including Population Services International (PSI), and John Snow, Inc. (JSI). It was at JSI where Alexis first realized her passion for health supply chain programs. Alexis earned a Master’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in International Development from American University in Washington, DC. She is based at UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prashant Yadav

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Strategy Leader-Supply Chain

Prashant Yadav is Strategy Leader-Supply Chain at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. Yadav’s research and policy advisory work focuses on health care supply chains in developing countries. He also works on role of new technology in pharmaceutical supply chains, globally. He is the author of many peer reviewed scientific publications and his work has been featured in prominent print and broadcast media including The Economist, The Financial Times, Nature, and BBC.

Before his current role, Yadav was Vice President of Healthcare at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan and a faculty member at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Before that he was Professor of Supply Chain Management at the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Yadav received his undergraduate training in Chemical Engineering, his MBA in Operations and Finance and his PhD in Management Science. Before academia he has worked in pharmaceutical strategy, management consulting and supply chain technology companies.

Conference Co-Organizers

Jarrod Goentzel - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Özlem Ergun, PhD - Northeastern University

Pinar Keskinocak, PhD - Georgia Institute of Technology

Julie Swann, PhD - NC State University

Liz Igharo - The International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL)

Dominique Zwinkels - People that Deliver (PtD)

Program Committee

Rwanda Convention Group

Laila Akhlaghi, PhamD, MPA, MMSCM - John Snow, Inc. (JSI)

George Fenton - Humanitarian Logistics Association

John W. Fitzsimmons - PAHO/WHO

Inès K. Gege Buki - USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program

Paulo Gonçalves, PhD - Università della Svizzera italiana

Paul Molinaro - World Health Organization

Joe Ruiz - The UPS Foundation

David Sarley - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Alexis Strader - People that Deliver (PtD)

Prashant Yadav - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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About the Conference Series

The Health & Humanitarian Conference series is organized each year by the Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) at Georgia Tech in partnership with INSEAD, MIT, and Northeastern University, with generous support from corporate and other organizational sponsors.

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