Covid-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery

Woman wearing a mask

The Covid-19 global pandemic has impacted people across the world, including in the Charlottesville area. Our team is working with partners both locally and internationally to aid in the response and recovery efforts for those hardest hit.

The Team

Faculty, Staff and Students

Our core faculty and staff oversee the Global Policy Center and promote research and education within the humanitarian sector.
  • Amanda Nguyen

    Assistant Professor of Education, School of Education and Human Development

  • Amanda Rosensky

    Graduate Research Assistant

  • Ben Allen

    Executive Director, The Equity Center at the UVA Democracy Initiative

  • Bree Cattelino

    Research Assistant

  • Brooke Ray

    Former Operations Manager, Global Policy Center

  • David Leblang

    Ambassador Henry Taylor Professor of Politics; Randolph P. Compton Professor at the Miller Center; Professor of Public Policy and Global Policy Center Director, Batten School

  • Justin Schon

    Demo Initiative Postdoc

  • Katie Cox

    Graduate Research Assistant

  • Kirsten Gelsdorf

    Professor of Practice of Public Policy, and Director of Global Humanitarian Policy, Batten School

  • Kristin Adams

    Research Assistant

  • Lena Bichell

    Medical Research Assistant

  • Michael Jarosz

    Graduate Research Assistant

  • Rebecca Meaney

    Research Assistant

  • Sonal Pandya

    Associate Professor of Politics, Department of Politics


Covid-19 in Charlottesville: Toward an Equitable Response and Recovery

Though not the cause, the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing wealth and health gaps in our community, particularly for minority groups. The same groups who were not benefitting from our systems before the pandemic are those of the highest concern now, especially those experiencing multiple points of discrimination or elevated risk. This includes, but is not limited to, families of color, low income/unemployed, non-native English speaking, geographically isolated, or those unable to socially distance. The Humanitarian Collaborative is partnered with Cultivate Charlottesville’s Food Justice Network, the regional Emergency Operations Center members, the UVA Equity Center and others to develop strategies to help ensure that assistance reaches those who most need it. Focus areas include food security response and recovery strategy, and coordination between grassroots and public actors. 

Planning and Pandemics: How the Design of Refugee Camps Influences the Spread of Infectious Disease

Coronavirus is a serious threat to displaced populations worldwide, especially within refugee camps where population density is high and where residents often do not have access to sufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure. Yet refugee camps have different experiences with the spread of infectious disease. We investigate whether the spatial configuration of refugee camps helps us understand past experiences with the spread of infectious disease and whether this, in turn, helps predict the spread of COVID-19.

Our initial focus will be on four refugee camps—Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya, Zaatari in Jordan, and Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh—in order to model how coronavirus may spread differently within each camp. For all four camps, existing studies and detailed geolocated maps ensure that usable data on geographic factors is available. Kakuma and Dadaab allow us to consider contextual variation within the same host country, while the others provide cross-country comparisons. Cox’s Bazaar and Zaatari are also ethnically homogenous camps, whereas Kakuma and Dadaab have heterogeneity by ethnicity (Kakuma) and clan (Dadaab) that have prompted camp policies of segregation in attempts to minimize violence. These policies, we hypothesize, may also influence the spread of disease.

This work is new and is novel. While there is limited work exploring the transmission of disease in refugee camps, none of it is comparative across multiple camp settings; our results will inform camp design improvements to minimize the spread of infectious disease beyond what is available to date. Given the severe shortages of health care resources at refugee camps to effectively respond to epidemics, data- driven camp policies to minimize disease diffusion are critical. Combined, the four camps of interest have hosted roughly 1.5 million people at their peak populations, demonstrating the substantial potential impact of improved policy at a large scale. Insights from our modelling of refugee camps will also be applicable for other closed populations of human population clusters, such as migrant detention centers and prisons.

Pandemics and Supply Chain Stability

Global commercial activity requires a robust international supply chain. The recent, and ongoing, COVID-19 crisis is not just a global health emergency but has dire implications for the health of the international economy. While there is a robust private sector interest in design of metrics used to evaluate the risk of global and local supply chains, there is, to date, no systematic work that incorporates public health and public health vulnerability into a coherent framework.

This project, in cooperation with leading supply chain management firm,, will design, evaluate, and implement a supply chain risk management tool that incorporates not just the occurrence of infectious disease but the risk of such occurrence. The underlying framework and resulting empirical model will be used as the basis for policy prescriptions not just regarding supply chain management but for measuring how vulnerable a health system is to the spread of a pandemic disease.