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The Computer Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory is a constituent laboratory of the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland.

Disseminating Emergency Preparedness Planning Models as Automatically Generated Custom Spreadsheets



When public health officials requested operations research models to help county health departments across the United States create plans for dispensing medications and vaccines, we developed capacity planning and queueing network models. We then faced the challenge of distributing these models to a set of persons who have unknown experience with operations research techniques and no resources for acquiring and learning new software. We decided to use spreadsheets, which eliminated the most significant obstacles. To allow users to evaluate a wide variety of plans, we created software that runs macros to generate spreadsheet models based on user input. Public health emergency preparedness planners can download the software from our web site. Developing spreadsheets for this type of application is very different from end-user modeling and typical spreadsheet applications.

Download: Click on the following link to download the paper, which is in PDF format.

Copyright Notice: This paper was published in a special issue of Interfaces (Volume 38, Number 4, 2008) on spreadsheet applications. Personal use of this material is permitted. Any other uses require permission of the copyright holder.

Acknowledgements: The helpful suggestions of anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated. The spreadsheet software described in this paper is the result of many persons who helped with data collection and modeling, especially Daniel T. Cook, whose time at the University of Maryland was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant EEC 02-43803, and Mark Treadwell, Peter Lin, Ali Pilehvar, and Samuel Fomundam, who developed the software in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Laboratory, a constituent lab of the Institute for Systems Research. Kay Aaby, Rachel Abbey, Carol Jordan, and Kathy Wood at the Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Health Services provided excellent guidance and assistance.

Cooperative Agreement Number U50/CCU302718 from the CDC to NACCHO supported this publication. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the University of Maryland and the Advanced Practice Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response of Montgomery County, Maryland, and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or NACCHO.

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Last updated by Jeffrey W. Herrmann, September 12, 2008.

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