Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems Offers Certificate in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management to International Cohort

Posted May 12, 2017 | Atlanta, GA

On May 15, 2017, an international group – from countries including the United States, Bolivia, Colombia, and a dozen countries in Africa – will gather at Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center for a week to participate in the certificate program in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management (HHSCM) offered by Georgia Tech’s Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS). The participants’ admirable passion for their work has motivated them to seek systematic approaches toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their organizations, positively impacting the beneficiaries they serve. This year’s participants represent corporate, government, and nongovernmental organizations such as the Carter Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Gambian Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Task Force for Global Health, UNICEF, U.S. Agency International Development (USAID) Office of Food for Peace, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and local governments in African countries.

The certificate program in HHSCM consists of three courses: Pre-planning Strategy for Health and Humanitarian Organizations, Tactical Decision Making in Public Health and Humanitarian Response, and Systems Operations in Health and Humanitarian Response. Topics include distribution network design, strategies for managing inventory and uncertainty, resource allocation, and systems dynamics related to a broad range of activities including preparing, responding to, and recovery from disasters and health emergencies, as well as ongoing efforts in strengthening and managing health systems.

Previous participants have high praise for the HHSCM program, highlighting the importance and relevance of the practical applications studied in the course and how they plan to incorporate the new skills and knowledge in their current and future work.

Daniel Ngongo, who acts as the operations coordinator in a health clinic for Management Sciences for Health/USAID in the Lualaba province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), noted that the HHSCM program enabled him to teach supply chain strategies to fellow staff members, and share distribution techniques with his organization’s coordinating partners.

Marta Wnorowska, supply manager for MSF based in Geneva, Switzerland, said that in her role, “The main objective is to deliver medicines to the final beneficiaries. Sometimes – especially when working in emergencies –  it is not possible to find time, reflect more, and go more into details of the tools and techniques used. Training at Georgia Tech has given me this opportunity: to step back, to think more, and to get a more technical approach. Overall, the training has given me an irreplaceable opportunity to improve my skills as a supply manager.”

Samson Balekembaka, of Save the Children International in DRC, is working to promote child protection, education, and health activities – particularly through malaria and HIV prevention. He said, “To support these activities, I have been able to put in place a supply chain unit thanks to the rich and interesting training at Georgia Tech. The impact is real.”

And Dr. Mahmud Mustafa, director of logistics and health commodities at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Nigeria, added that he plans to “provide guidance to [his] team on evidence-based decision making and application/use of tools learnt here to review and make quality decisions,” an aim other participants echoed for areas such as hospital supply procurement, distribution center locations, inventory stocking, and emergency response plans.

Past participants highly valued the diverse group of experiences and the opportunities to network with and learn from others in the program. Kevin Horrocks, in-kind logistics manager at World Vision USA, observed that field practitioners often focus solely on their own experience, but by “hearing experience in the field from other organizations,” practitioners are better able to “put all of this training into context and to break down the ‘blinders’ … to create a more rounded perspective of the material.”

This year, 11 scholarships have been awarded to HHSCM program participants representing nine countries. Scholarship support comes from benefactors including the UPS Foundation, Pete Quinones, Andrea Laliberte (IE 1982, MSIE 1984), and Richard “Rick” Zalesky Jr. (CE 1978) and Charlene Zalesky (HS 1977). The courses are led by CHHS co-directors Pinar Keskinocak, ISyE William W. George Chair, and Julie Swann, ISyE Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Professor. Guest instructors include former CHHS co-director Özlem Ergun, associate professor at Northeastern University, and Paulo Gonçalves, professor at University of Lugano.

For further information on the Certificate in Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management, visit https://chhs.gatech.edu/professional-education. For information about applying for a scholarship, visit https://hhls.scl.gatech.edu/.