The aim of the 11th annual Health & Humanitarian Logistics (HHL) Conference is to provide an open forum to discuss the challenges and new solutions in disaster preparedness and response, long-term development and humanitarian aid, and global health delivery. The conference platform encourages learning and collaboration within and across institutions; promotes system-wide improvements in organizations and the sector as a whole; identifies important research issues; and establishes priorities for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), corporations, and the government in terms of strategies, policies and investments.

Representatives from the humanitarian sector, government, NGOs, foundations and private industry, and academia present diverse perspectives in health and humanitarian challenges through keynote addresses, panel discussions, focused workshops, lunchtime group discussions, and interactive poster sessions covering a broad set of research topics and applications.

The conference is sure to bring together an abundance of professionals active in the global health and humanitarian sectors from around the world. The event is chaired annually by the Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS), NCSU, INSEAD Humanitarian Research Group, MIT Humanitarian Response Lab, Northeastern University. This year’s conference is pleased to have as Co- organizers The International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL) and People that Deliver, and University of Rwanda Regional Center for Excellence as our Host.

2019 Conference Theme:

The Road to Resilience: Sustainably Meeting Health, Humanitarian, and Development Needs

UN Sustainable Development Goals envision a world free of poverty, hunger, disease, fear and violence, with equitable and universal access to education, health care, water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and social protection along with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, economic growth, and inclusive societies to ensure physical, mental and social well-being. While these ambitious goals help populations to strive and make progress, there are ongoing and emerging challenges especially given the changing demographic, social, and environmental factors faced by humanity and our planet. These challenges are pervasive in some areas, and may rely (in part) on external resources to meet needs. Health emergencies or disasters also negatively impact already fragile health systems and disproportionately impact vulnerable populations. This year’s conference will focus on challenges, experiences, lessons, and tools to help countries and their organizations improve and transition to sustainable and resilient systems.

Panel themes will focus on meeting these challenges through the role of: See the Agenda

  • Supply Chains
  • Funding/Development
  • Collaboration between Programs and Organizations
  • Policy
  • Diverse Talent Pools/training opportunities


Conference Co-Chairs

  • Özlem Ergun, Northeastern University
  • Jarrod Goentzel, Humanitarian Response Lab, MIT
  • Pinar Keskinocak, Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS), Georgia Tech
  • Julie Swann, Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, NCSU
  • Luk Van Wassenhove, Humanitarian Research Group, INSEAD

Conference Co-Organizers

  • Liz Igharo, The International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL)
  • Dominique Zwinkels, People that Deliver (PTD)


Conference Host

University of Rwanda Regional Center of Excellence

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.

The University also boasts other centers including the Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (RCE-VIHSCM) based in the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (EAC RCE-VIHSCM).

One central and vital part of health systems is an efficient supply chain management for the provision of health institutions with medical commodities like vaccines, diagnostics, medications, medical equipment and products for family planning.

Currently there is an acute lack of well-trained specialists on regional and national level of health systems as well as on district level and general health facilities being able to adequately manage and modernize such supply chains.

The East Africa Community (EAC) seeks to address challenges of vaccine and other commodities supply chain management by addressing weaknesses in human resource capacity.

Therefore, the EAC established a regional Centre of excellence (RCE) at the University of Rwanda in Kigali, School of Public Health (UR/SPH) in order to strengthen the above stated competences on behalf of the six EAC Countries (Republic of Burundi, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Republic of Uganda).

RCE Vision and Mission

Our Vision is to become an autonomous, well-recognized, top-class, regional knowledge hub, providing high-quality pre- and in-service training and disseminating best practices in vaccines, immunization and health supply chain management.

Our Mission is to contribute to solving existing performance challenges of the health supply chain management (HSCM) system in the EAC region through the generation of knowledge and its translation into research, policy and practice.

The East Africa Community is one of the region in the world that has suffered and still suffering from disasters including man-made disasters and this created a high number of refugees within the region or neighboring countries and a big number of displaced people within the same country. For example:

  • the Government of Rwanda hosts around 70,000 of refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Republic of Burundi;
  • The Government of Uganda hosts over 450,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and DRC,
  • The Republic of Kenya hosts over 470,000 refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, DRC

The regional preparedness level to deal with the issue requires a well-coordinated efforts and funding and human resource development and capacity gaps in emergency logistics is the most important way for the EAC to quickly and actively respond to health and humanitarian logistics challenges.

The University of Rwanda, Regional Centre of Excellence considers hosting the 11th HHL International Conference in Kigali, Rwanda as a great opportunity for the EAC region to network, learn from international researchers, academicians, policy makers and UN Agencies involved in health and humanitarian logistics and for conference participants to learn from existing home-grown solutions and initiatives that are contributing to improve the emergency logistics in the region.

For more information about the University of Rwanda, please visit us on

For more information about the EAC RCE, please visit us on

Event Notes

Thank you to all who attended HHL 2019!

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Previous Conferences

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 |

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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For general information about the conference, including registration, please use our contact form or the below:

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  • 755 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332