Carnegie Mellon University

Nicolette Louissaint, Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Planning, HDA

Advocating for the Health of Health Care’s Supply Chain

COVID-19 may have been many people’s introduction to the complexities of addressing a multifaceted public health crisis, but Nicolette Louissaint (ENG 2006, MCS 2006) has been focused on improving health care on a global scale for more than a decade.

As senior vice president of policy and strategic planning for HDA (Healthcare Distribution Alliance), Nicolette advocates for the health of the health care supply chain as she works with legislators, medical manufacturers, transporters and others to protect and improve the integrity of the pharmaceutical distribution infrastructure. Her work helps to keep drugs, vaccines and critical supplies moving into hands that need them — no matter the challenges.

“My focus in this role is thinking about resilience,” Nicolette says.

She defines resilience as the ability of the supply chain to quickly adapt to changes. It’s making sure that COVID-19 vaccines roll out to every community quickly, drugs are available after a hurricane damages local pharmacies and that inevitable disruptions like these don’t undermine the distribution system as a whole.

“When we elevate resilience as an overall strategy, we are prepared for the next disaster,” she says. “But we’re also prepared to do what's needed during steady state, so patients can depend on medical products to be where they need them to be.”

Nicolette came to this role after leading the nonprofit organization Healthcare Ready, where she worked more broadly with all aspects of the supply chain. She embraced the ability to focus on the movement of medicines and medical products when she took her new role with HDA earlier this year.

“I think it's important that people know who is moving their meds and to understand this really important stakeholder in health that most people have never heard of,” she says. “The pharmaceutical distributor pipeline plays an important role in the supply chain and in patient health.”

Story by Elizabeth Speed