Bauer Professor Examines Zika Virus Through “Supply Chain Lens”

Published on February 5, 2016

Recent Research Sheds Light on Supply Chain Issues in Global Health Care

Bauer College Associate Professor Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher examines failures during 2014 Ebola through a “supply chain lens” to help global leaders prepare for Zika virus crisis.

Bauer College Associate Professor Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher examines failures during 2014 Ebola through a “supply chain lens” to help global leaders prepare for Zika virus crisis.

To avoid the “massive failures in communication” seen during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, global leaders must examine the rising Zika virus crisis through a “supply chain lens,” according to a Bauer College professor.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher researches and teaches courses that focus on supply chain, or the system of resources, people, information and activities involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.

“If we view the current Zika virus pandemic through a supply chain lens, then one could imagine all of the necessary elements — science, resources, people, supplies, logistics, and governmental policies — needed to respond rapidly and comprehensively to a global public health emergency,” Anderson-Fletcher said.

She added: “It is critical that all entities in the Zika supply chain work together as partners to prevent the massive failures in communication we saw with Ebola.”

Anderson-Fletcher examines the health care management aspect of the Ebola crisis in recently released research in the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) White Paper Series, in a study co-authored with Associate Professor Dusya Vera (Bauer College) and JeAnna Abbott, the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Professor in Social Responsibility at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

The paper, titled “The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Ebola Crisis: A Perfect Storm of Human Errors, System Failures and Lack of Mindfulness,” offers healthcare supply chain strategies in order to prevent similar incidences from happening again.

Anderson-Fletcher also wrote an article for the Houston Chronicle’s Inside Policy & Politics section that focuses more specifically on the Zika virus supply chain implications.

“When we think of global public health, we typically think of health care policy, bioscience, and medical practice, but, it’s also important to consider the situation from a business supply chain perspective,” Anderson-Fletcher said.

By Amanda Sebesta