Health, Technology, and Engineering

HTE@USC: An interdisciplinary program in Engineering and Medicine


Health, Technology and Engineering (HTE@USC) augments the training of select doctors and engineers through project-focused collaboration resulting in the most effective and efficient solutions to real-world healthcare problems.

HTE@USC is part of a larger USC effort to promote rapid advances in healthcare through research and education combining the essentials of medicine with advanced engineering and scientific technologies.

As active members of inter-disciplinary teams linking researchers at both the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, students learn the patient-centered research approaches required to address the healthcare needs of all patients, including those from traditionally underserved populations.

The Need

The complexity of modern medicine makes it difficult for individual engineers, scientists or clinicians to move new technological or methodological advances all the way from ideation to concept to prototype to implementation and wide-spread application.

The journey from bench to bedside is rarely straightforward and the necessary steps require diverse expertise along the way; this includes interdisciplinary collaboration, brainstorming sessions, prototype iteration and testing. All steps are essential throughout this journey.

The initial steps include the identification of a problem that is both important and solvable and for which solutions have the potential for widespread adoption and application. Solution-oriented designs must then be prototyped, refined and tested. Testing culminates in well-designed clinical trials to demonstrate comparative effectiveness.

Good ideas can falter because of technological limitations, interoperability, ethical concerns, design errors, lack of patient acceptance, inability to scale, market challenges, hospital infrastructure, inadequate protection of intellectual property, or financial issues including cost to manufacture or potential for reimbursement. Successful teams anticipate these issues and account for them accordingly from the initial stages and iterations of design and prototyping. HTE@USC prepares you to become a valued member of design teams focused on healthcare innovation.

As part of its education mission, HTE@USC offers a unique training program that provides hands-on, practical, real-world, case-based experience in medical technology and process improvement.

Case-based instruction, project-focused learning

To prepare motivated engineering and medical students to be successful innovators equipped with new technology and demonstrated methodological skills, we have a program that involves close collaboration at all stages with students and faculty in the medical and engineering schools.

Our vision is that graduates of this educational program will be experts in collaboration. Through interdisciplinary teamwork, graduates will be able to identify and solve the most important healthcare problems more rapidly and more effectively than previously possible.

Career Potential

There are many potential career paths for graduates of this program:

  • A faculty member in an academic engineering department interested in health applications who remains alert for potential innovations and knows how to contact the right people in the medical field to start the development process
  • An engineer in a health-related technology company that actively identifies and develops new technology for healthcare
  • A leader of an industrial research and medical design group
  • A founder or partner in a health-technology startup company who can develop an appropriate technology development plan and assess the medical impact, feasibility, and utility of new technology
  • A researcher in a health-technology company, clinic or hospital who focusses on technology implementation
  • A clinician in a hospital or clinic that promotes the advancement of medical device technology and guides medical devices from bench to bedside

After completing the HTE@USC graduate certificate program, all graduates will have direct experience with the full process of device or method development in medical technology. Most importantly, they will have formed bonds with a group of like-minded medical students, clinicians, researchers, and engineers who will be their mentors, colleagues, and contacts for the rest of their lives.

HTE@USC eliminates barriers to collaborative projects and provide a clear path so that graduates know whom to contact, how to discuss their projects, how to work together, and how to plan from the beginning for a successful outcome.

Successful HTE@USC graduates will be provided with a certificate of completion of the requirements of the program. More important than the certificate, however, will be their experience with hands-on project development, and the tangible results of the project, including patent applications and initial steps toward technology transfer.