A simulation model for policy decision analysis: A case of pandemic influenza on a university campus

O. M. Araz, T. Lant, J. W. Fowler, M. Jehn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Pandemic influenza preparedness plans strongly focus on efficient mitigation strategies including social distancing, logistics and medical response. These strategies are formed by multiple decision makers before a pandemic outbreak and during the pandemic in local communities, states and nation-wide. In this paper, we model the spread of pandemic influenza in a local community, a university, and evaluate the mitigation policies. Since the development of an appropriate vaccine requires a significant amount of time and available antiviral quantities can only cover a relatively small proportion of the population, university decision makers will first focus on non-pharmaceutical interventions. These interventions include social distancing and isolation. The disease spread is modelled as differential equations-based compartmental model. The system is simulated for multiple non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing including suspending university operations, evacuating dorms and isolation of infected individuals on campus. Although the model is built based on the preparedness plan of one of the biggest universities in the world, Arizona State University, it can easily be generalized for other colleges and universities. The policies and the decisions are tested by several simulation runs and evaluations of the mitigation strategies are presented in the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Simulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • epidemiology
  • pandemic influenza
  • sensitivity analysis
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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