Faculty Directory
Karen Smilowitz

Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence

Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech D239
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

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Humanitarian Logistics


Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences


Master of Engineering Management Program

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Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering: Transportation, University of California, Berkeley, CA

M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering: Transportation, University of California, Berkeley, CA

B.S.E. Civil Engineering and Operations Research (cum laude), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Research Interests

Dr. Smilowitz studies modeling and solution approaches for logistics and transportation systems.  She has developed innovative modeling and solution techniques for these complex systems in both commercial and non-profit applications, working with transportation providers, logistics specialists and a range of non-profit organizations.  She is currently leading the Northwestern Initiative on Humanitarian and Non-Profit Logistics.

Dr. Smilowitz has worked on several projects in the area of operational improvement in community-based health care.  Community-based operations research is the application of decision models to social issues of a local nature. The goal of this field is to design policies and tactics that have the potential to improve individual life outcomes and neighborhood-level outcomes by addressing welfare, equity and administrative efficiency simultaneously. 

Selected Publications

    B. Balcik, S. Iravani, and K. Smilowitz. 2014. Multi-vehicle sequential resource allocation for non-profit distribution system, IIE Transactions, 46 12, pp. 1279-1297.

    M. Basdere, C. Ross, J.L. Chan, S. Mehrotra, K. Smilowitz, and G. Chiampas. 2014. Acute incident rapid response at a mass gathering event through comprehensive planning systems: a case report from the 2013 Shamrock Shue. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 29 3, pp. 320-325.

    R. Lien, S. Iravani, and K. Smilowitz. 2014. Sequential resource allocation for nonprofit operations, Operations Research, 62 2, pp. 301-317.

    S. Deo, T. Jiang, S. Iravani, K. Smilowitz and S. Samuelson. 2013. Improving health outcomes through better capacity allocation in a community-based chronic care model, Operations Research, 61 6, pp 1277-1294.

    K. Smilowitz, M. Nowak, and T. Jiang. 2013. Workforce management in periodic delivery operations. Transportation Science, 47 2, pp. 214-230.

    R. Lien, S. Iravani, K. Smilowitz, and M. Tzur. 2011. Design principles for effective transshipment networks. Production and Operations Management. 20 5, pp. 699-713.

    G. Zhang, K. Smilowitz, and A. Erera. 2011. Routing and scheduling for dynamic drayage operations. Transportation Research E: Logistics and Transportation Review. 47 5, pp. 764-777.