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Humanitarians and Global Health practitioners discuss new solutions in technology and systems at 2016 Conference

October 12, 2016

The challenges faced in the health and humanitarian sectors continue to increase in magnitude and complexity. Each year the Conference on Health & Humanitarian Logistics (HHL) offers a unique platform for participants from a variety of organizations and sectors to discuss challenges, share best practices, and explore potential collaborations, with the goal of improving efficiency and effectiveness, and leading to positive change.

The 8th annual conference took place August 29-31st, 2016 at Georgia Tech and drew over 200 participants from 27 different countries around the world, representing 115 different organizations across the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and government. Panel speakers represented organizations such as CARE USA, Carter Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), City of Clarkston, Coca-Cola Foundation, Harvard University, John Snow, Inc., Malaria Coalition (UK), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), UNHCR, and USAID, among others.

Keynote speaker Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stressed the continued threat from infectious diseases in the US and globally and the importance of ensuring that local communities are prepared and able to continue activities over time.

Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE USA, the Keynote speaker on Day 2, was interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, and pointed to how CARE determines where to get involved and dedicate resources. “CARE values relationships that are longstanding and stays in countries for long-term and systematic engagement,” said Nunn, focusing on questions of capacity building and scale and creating sustainable solutions considering cultural and social context, finance, programming, and human resources.

Plenary panels on “Strengthening Public Health Systems” and “Managing Complex Supply Chains in Refugee Crisis Response” included representatives from PAHO/WHO, UNHCR, USAID, and other private sector and non-governmental organizations, addressed the increasing global connectedness of communities around the world and the importance of community partnerships in finding sustainable solutions. Panelists also highlighted the need for continuous learning and adaptation, both through education through universities and field knowledge. A final panel on “Matching Supply and Demand in Emergency Response” included representation from Crown Agents and International Procurement Agents (CAIPA), the UPS Foundation, and the World Food Programme, and highlighted the need for companies and NGOs to engage local communities both in preparedness and immediate post-crisis recovery, using data for surveillance, demand and supply visibility, and measuring impact.

Break-out workshop sessions focused on various topics including human resources and professionalization, public-private partnerships, collaboration and segmentation, modeling, visibility and analytics in decision-making, new technologies and digital platforms for the last-mile delivery, and new logistics management tools. Technology providers such as Llamasoft, Thrive GPO, eHealthAfrica, and Toilets for People also showcased new developments and products available for practitioners across various fields. Over 35 attendees presented posters on new projects and research related to supply chain and logistics for health and humanitarian challenges. For further information about the  participants and speakers, panel and workshop presentations, and photos and videos, please visit the conference website:

The conference also offered site visits to AmeriCold temperature-controlled facility, MedShare International headquarters, McKesson pharmaceutical distribution center, UPS distribution hub, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport cargo and logistics operations, and the Global Growers bamboo farm which employs resettled refugees in the Atlanta area. Various participants praised the site visits as one of the highlights of the event, allowing for synergies and real-life application of the lessons learned during the panel and break-out sessions.

Participants and speakers applauded the diversity of backgrounds, such as the representation of public and private sector organizations with academia and government, and the unique opportunities for open exchange and in-depth discussions among both the global health and humanitarian response communities. One participant praised the “provocative and captivating” keynote session with Michelle Nunn and Sanjay Gupta, while another emphasized the “open nature of the conference overall and the encouraging dialogue” that characterized each session.

Generous sponsorship for the conference was provided by the UPS Foundation for the 8th year, and also by Imperial Health Sciences, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, Chemonics, the Georgia Tech Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE), the Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PfSCM), and the Waffle House. To connect with the GA Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) about future collaboration and events, please visit our website or email

  • Michelle Nunn and Sanjay Gupta
    Michelle Nunn and Sanjay Gupta
  • Health panel
    Health panel
  • audience shot
    audience shot
  • Poster discussion
    Poster discussion
  • Poster up close
    Poster up close
  • global growers
    global growers

Related Links: 

ISyE location map

Georgia Tech Supply Chain and
Logistics Institute
H. Milton Stewart School of
Industrial & Systems Engineering
765 Ferst Drive, NW, Suite 228
Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404.894.2343