Strengthening the Healthcare Supply Chain Through Education

February 03, 2022

The health of the pharmaceutical supply chain depends on the expertise and ingenuity of the committed professionals working to help get lifesaving medicines and supplies to points of care as efficiently as possible.

To ensure the supply chain remains reliable and effective in years to come, the HDA Research Foundation continues to invest in important initiatives that support higher education students dedicated to expanding their industry knowledge.

Specifically, the Foundation’s scholarship program and partnership with Rutgers University are two examples of how the Foundation is ensuring tomorrow’s supply chain leaders are building the skills and thought leadership that will ultimately foster the logistics innovation and resiliency that makes the U.S. healthcare supply chain one of the safest in the world.

Karen J. Ribler Scholarship

Since 2018, the Foundation has annually awarded scholarships to HDA-member professionals pursuing graduate degrees. The program, established in conjunction with HDA’s professional development program Convene, was designed to develop the future growth of the winners and their companies.

At the Foundation’s CEO Roundtable Fundraiser in November 2021, the Foundation’s Past Chairman Mike Conley announced the renaming of the scholarship program in honor of Karen J. Ribler, the Foundation’s former COO. Karen, who led the Foundation for nearly a decade was a dynamic leader, supply chain advocate and a champion for academic pursuit.

Last week, we were proud to announce the 2021–2022 recipients of the newly renamed Karen J. Ribler Scholarship. Our supply chain scholars represent a range of programs, including business and supply chain management. Visit HDA’s website to learn more about the new awardees.

The Foundation is proud to carry on Karen’s legacy of developing the growth of future industry leaders — whose studies will ultimately enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Rutgers University Research Program

Additionally, the Foundation partnered once again with the Rutgers Business School Supply Chain Management Program to conduct a collaborative research project. The program, which we launched in 2017, helps immerse students in supply chain topics, providing graduate- and undergraduate-level scholars the opportunity to organize unique research projects that would benefit the industry. Students collaborate with HDA member companies on top-of-mind industry issues and learn about the distribution sector as they consider potential career paths.

In fall 2021, a group of five undergraduate students worked directly with distributor subject matter experts to evaluate the industry’s sustainability initiatives. Through panel discussions, surveys and interviews, the group conducted their research with distributor members, key stakeholders and representatives from the Food Marketing Institute. The students found that members’ views align with the work already underway at HDA, including our industry’s participation in the National Academy of Medicines Climate Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector. Further, students found that HDA members view reducing carbon emissions and waste/pollution as top priorities and are taking steps to decrease their impact on the environment.

The findings will be published in a whitepaper by the Foundation this month. To learn more about the program and read about previous research projects, visit HDA’s website.

Supporting Supply Chain Innovation and Education

As HDA’s nonprofit, the HDA Research Foundation serves as a thought leader in driving research, education and discussion that ultimately enables the distribution sector’s ability to deliver efficient, safe and secure access to medicines and medical products. With supply chain professionals rising to the pandemic’s challenges the last few years, we are proud to offer educational initiatives to support future industry leaders. Visit to learn more about the Foundation’s projects and learn how you can partner with us as we work to support our important mission.


The HDA Research Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA). The Foundation serves as the thought leader in driving research, education and discussion for all healthcare supply chain stakeholders, enabling the industry's ability to deliver efficient, safe and secure patient access to medicines and medical products. Learn more at