Students with a love of STEM and an interest in health care can prepare for a career that prioritizes both with Florida Polytechnic University’s new Health Systems Engineering (HSE) program.
The program launched in fall 2020 offers the only undergraduate-level concentration of its kind in the state.
“Anyone who is frustrated with the current health care state and who would like to learn how to use their STEM skillset to transform health care delivery could benefit from HSE,” said Dr. Grisselle Centeno, director of the Florida Poly program.
The Health Systems Engineering program allows students pursuing a degree in data science or business analytics to declare a concentration in HSE. Students majoring in computer science, or electrical, mechanical, or computer engineering can also benefit from this program by pursuing an HSE certificate.
“Health care captures 18% of the national gross domestic product, equivalent to $3.5 trillion,” Centeno said. “There are many challenges and therefore opportunities to improve health systems – that is hospitals and clinics, which constitute about 80% of that 18%.”
In addition to its coursework, the concentration brings in a variety of guest speakers such as physicians, nurses, and health care consultant to discuss the importance of data, process improvement, and other relevant issues in the health care industry.
“Health systems engineering uses engineering tools and methods to improve efficiency and productivity, and studies health care as a holistic complex system,” Centeno said. “If students are interested in being part of improving health care quality and access, this is a great field for them to explore.”
Data science major Michael Ortiz is eager to declare the concentration next semester.
“What motivates me is being able to wake up every morning and put my skills to use in a field that can really help people, not just businesses or profit margins,” said the sophomore who graduated from Gateway High School in Kissimmee, Florida.
Career opportunities may include positions in systems engineering in health care, health informatics, health data science, medical device development, and medical supply chain management.
“I think that the creativity of our student population is greatly needed in health care,” Centeno said. “Given all the support we’re getting from industry and interest in opening doors for our graduates, we hope to quickly grow our program.”
Ahna Cecil, a sophomore majoring in computer engineering, jumped at the chance to take the program’s first course this semester.
“I’ve always thought the health care field was very fascinating and I thought that learning about the ins and outs and how it functions would be beneficial for my future,” said Cecil, a graduate of Pensacola High School in Pensacola, Florida.
She hopes to one day pursue a career in health care robotics and eventually become a project manager in the field – a shift from her childhood dreams of becoming a doctor.
“My passion for the medical field never went away, so I decided I would try to combine the two fields I really enjoy,” Cecil said.
Jonathan Boada, a junior majoring in data science, was also eager to enroll.
“It’s one of my favorite classes this semester,” said Boada, a transfer student from Venezuela. “This field is so diverse that even if you’re not sure what you want to do, you’re narrowing it down, but there’s boundless opportunities.”
For more information about the HSE program, contact Dr. Grisselle Centeno.
Director of Communications