Seminar on May 21, 2021

Rapid COVID-19 Modeling Support for Regional Health Systems in England 

Feryal Erhun, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge


Problem definition: This paper describes the real-time participatory modeling work that our team of academics, public health officials, and clinical decision-makers has been undertaking to support the regional efforts to tackle COVID-19 in the East of England. Methodology: Since March 2020, we have been studying four research questions that have allowed us to address the pandemic’s current and nearfuture rapidly evolving epidemiological state, as well as the bed capacity demand in the short (a few weeks) and medium (several months) term. Frequent data input from and consultations with our public health and clinical partners allow our academic team to apply dynamic data-driven approaches using time series modeling, Bayesian estimation, and system dynamics modeling. We thus obtain a broad view of the evolving situation. Results: The academic team presents the model outcomes and insights during weekly joint meetings among public health services, national health services, and academics to support COVID-19 planning activities in the East of England, contributing to the discussion of the COVID-19 response and issues beyond immediate COVID-19 planning. Academic/practical relevance: As COVID19 planning efforts necessitate rapid response, our portfolio of scratch models aims to achieve the right balance between rigor and speed in the face of an uncertain and changing situation. Managerial implications: Our regional and local focus enables us to better understand the pandemic’s progression and to help decision-makers make more informed short- and medium-term capacity plans in different localities in the East of England. In addition, the learnings from our collaborative experiences may present guidance on how academics and practitioners can successfully collaborate in rapid response to disasters such as COVID-19. (In collaboration with Cambridge Judge Business School Covid-19 Planning team and Public Health England)

Short Bio

Feryal Erhun is Professor of Operations and Technology Management at Judge Business School. She is also the codirector of the Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise (CCHLE). Feryal is a strong proponent of practice-based research. Through collaborations with Intel Corporation, Cisco, Stanford University Medical Center, Public Health England and others, she has been able to combine her academic interests with organisations’ needs to deliver insights for both communities. At Stanford, her research group designed a decision-support system for optimising capital investment decisions for firms in capital-intensive industries in collaboration with Intel Corporation, which was selected as one of the finalists in the 2012 Franz Edelman Award. The Award recognises outstanding examples of innovative operations research that improves organisations; Feryal was also inducted as an Edelman Laureate. Feryal is an editorial board member of POM, M&SOM, and MS, and is a board member of Production and Operations Management Society and the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society.


Friday, May 21, 2021, 4.00 pm - Zoom Meeting