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At Cornell

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Weill Cornell Medical College

Measuring and Improving Our Capacity to Respond

How Will Hospitals Function During the Next Influenza Pandemic?
Public Health

(l. to r.) Nathaniel Hupert, Medicine/Public Health, WCMC; Roger Lang, OR-Manhattan, ORIE; David Murray, College of William and Mary; and John Muckstadt, ORIE

If an influenza pandemic were to occur, how long could hospitals stay open to serve the sick: until they run out of supplies, until their suppliers run out of supplies, or until staffing levels drop below a critical threshold? What impact would this have on community health? These are among the questions posed by a university-wide collaboration undertaken by John A. Muckstadt, Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE), and Nathaniel Hupert, Public Health/Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). We are pioneering new applications of quantitative engineering methodologies to problems in public health emergency response. With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and other sources, our objective is to better characterize potential health system responses to pandemic influenza and other diseases or disaster threats.

A Health Logistic Engineering Team

Our Cornell team has collaborated with researchers under contract with the DHHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to produce the AHRQ Surge Model, a web-based program that permits users to estimate the hospital-based resources and health personnel needed to respond to a flu pandemic in more than 200 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas. The surge model was one of only three models (and the only one produced by a university) that provided estimates to the White House Homeland Security Council this past summer on the resources that would be required for a nationwide pandemic flu response.


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