UofW business professor to lead $2.5 million study on healthcare supply chains


A business professor at the University of Windsor has been awarded nearly $2.5 million to research ways to improve health care supply chains in Canada.

Anne Snowdon, scientific director and CEO of the Supply Chain Advancement Network in Health (SCAN Health) at the Odette School of Business, will use the grant to fund a five-year research project. 

The project's aim is to advance supply chain resilience, workforce sustainability, and economic recovery in Canada's post-pandemic future.

Dr. Snowdon says COVID-19 has laid bare the need to learn from the past and share knowledge and expertise.

She says during the height of the pandemic, and even in the years before, we were running into severe supply shortages.

"Nobody could get their hands on an N-95 mask for example and yet that was the best way to protect yourself from getting the virus," she continued. "We see drug shortages often, we run out of chemotherapy drugs or we run out of contrast dye for our imaging departments."

She says these supplies are very critical to delivering care Canadians need, and yet far too often they become short or we can't get our hands on them.

"This is about how do we build supply chain resilience. How do we make sure we've got the the solutions so that even if there's a shortage we have the critical supplies we need for our health workforce to be safe and our health systems to have the products we need to deliver the best possible patient care."

Along with University of Calgary professor Pierre-Guelier Forest, Snowdon will lead a team of 18 researchers working with 40 partner organizations and citizen advocacy groups. 

They will develop supply chain solutions, practices, and measurement tools so the healthcare system is better able to manage COVID-19 and respond to any future pandemics. 

Dr. Snowdon says for her this is very, very important work and everyone involved has jumped in with tremendous support.

"Because we all saw the tremendous limitations during this pandemic and we want to make sure that never happens again. We want to make sure if another pandemic unfolds we have exactly what we need for supplies to keep our workforce safe and make sure people can get access to care," she said.

The project is one of over 800 across the country receiving a total of $175 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.