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How Engineering Can Help Reimagine Public Health Care

Of the many things that COVID-19 has made abundantly clear to us, surely one of them is a newfound realization that public health has become increasingly complex. Understanding the challenges to public health—that is, the task of guarding the well-being of the U.S. population—is more essential now than ever. As an engineer, design futurist, and graduate program director, I have seen how COVID-19 has transformed how public health preparedness is viewed and understood. Some say the pandemic has made reimagining public health an urgent matter. From problems in producing personal protective equipment that demonstrate the vulnerabilities in critical supply chains, to solutions in vaccine distribution challenges that leverage innovative public-private partnerships, new perspectives and approaches to public health are necessary. One way to accomplish this is by using health care engineering, or more specifically, the application of systems engineering in health care. “Researchers in health care systems engineering seek to increase efficiency, reduce errors, and improve access and overall quality of health …