Areas of Focus
From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. last March, Pinar Keskinocak was in demand as an expert on disease spread modeling and supply chains for critical items such as vaccines and personal protective equipment. Keskinocak is the William W. George Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and is also the co-founder and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech. Together with her team of student and faculty collaborators, Keskinocak worked on various aspects of Covid-19 response, including assessing the impact of implementing or relaxing non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as shelter-in-place, school closures, or voluntary quarantine) and equity in vaccine distribution. Keskinocak shared her insights and her team’s research results with many media outlets and decision makers in public health.
Now Keskinocak has been called on to lend her expertise to the Committee on Addressing Issues of Vaccine Distribution and Supply Chains to Advance Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza Preparedness and Response. This ad hoc committee formed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will examine “supply chain and distribution challenges related to vaccines and vaccinations during the COVID-19 response and explore their implications for pandemic and seasonal influenza.”
Among other responsibilities, the committee will review pandemic vaccine manufacturing during the H1N1, SARS, Ebola, and Covid-19 outbreaks; identify critical gaps in vaccine delivery on both a regional and global basis; and examine how Covid-19 vaccine manufacture and distribution may have important implications for the manufacture and distribution of flu vaccines.
Closer to home, Keskinocak serves on Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera’s Recovery Task Force, a group of leaders from across campus formed to help guide the Institute’s eventual return to normal – and safe – operations. The task force has been modeling different return scenarios using guidelines set forth by federal and state public health agencies, as well as the University System of Georgia. In March, Institute leadership announced plans for the Fall 2021 semester to see resumption of fully normal operations.