Theses and Dissertations



Tajik, Nazanin

Committee Member

Babski-Reeves, Kari

Committee Member

Johnson, Jenna

Committee Member

Ma, Junfeng

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


In recent years, rare catastrophic disasters have triggered pharmaceutical supply chain disruptions, resulting in product shortages and other problems that have negatively impacted healthcare delivery. Since the health sector is part of many nations’ critical infrastructure, ensuring minimal disruption in the supporting supply chains is an essential aspect of national security. While traditional risk management approaches have proven adequate for handling independent routine operational risks, these methods are inadequate for infrequent disruptive risks that propagate further risks, producing a domino effect in complex systems. Since today’s pharmaceutical supply chains have many characteristics of complex systems, elucidating the disruptive risks and required resilience capabilities, through knowledge gained from actual disasters, can be valuable in developing mitigation strategies. This research aims to investigate two catastrophic disasters that disrupted pharmaceutical supply chains in recent years. The first case explores the impact of a localized Category IV hurricane that hit Puerto Rico and disrupted the supply chain for saline, an essential product used in the treatment of many illnesses. The risk events that propagated from the disaster are identified and modeled using a Bayesian network to determine where resilience should be strengthened. In accordance with ISO 31000 risk management guidelines, Bayesian networks have been identified as appropriate tools for modeling complex system risks. The second case employs a qualitative research study on the vaccine supply chain supporting mass immunization during the COVID-19 pandemic. A content analysis is conducted to extract the insights of over 100 professionals on disruptors and resilience capability requirements of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain. The results indicate that a large and diverse set of risk factors and resilience capabilities are pertinent to pharmaceutical supply chains during localized severe weather and global pandemic disasters. Furthermore, to mitigate the impacts of severe weather risk in the case of Puerto Rico, the predominant type of resilience required is absorptive capacity, while in the case of the mass immunization vaccine supply chain, adaptive capacity is key. These findings should be useful to national leaders, pharmaceutical supply chain and healthcare sourcing managers, disaster preparedness officers, and others charged with pharmaceutical supply chain resilience.