Health, Technology, and Engineering

HTE@USC: An interdisciplinary program in Engineering and Medicine


The aim of HTE@USC is “learn by doing” in areas related to medical device and process innovation. Through project-based and interdisciplinary collaboration, all HTE students will augment their current programs with a set of courses that include experiences linking medical and engineering research groups. The program aims to create interdisciplinary, boundary-spanning, inventive entrepreneurs seeking early practical experience with device and method innovation in healthcare.

Program participants form bonds with a group of like-minded medical students and engineers who will be their mentors, colleagues and contacts as they advance in their careers. HTE@USC eliminates barriers to collaborative projects and ensures that graduates know whom to contact, how to discuss their projects, how to work together and how to plan from the beginning for successful outcomes or, for some, instructive failure.

Typically one symposium or workshop per semester is organized to link the schools of Engineering and Medicine. As much as possible, these will include both first and second year HTE students and will be linked with class exercises. These have included “Matchmaking” exercises where HTE students work with clinician-initiated needs and find engineers to help generate a broad array of novel solutions.

In addition, students are encouraged to look for relevant offerings from the wide variety of symposia, conferences, etc., hosted at USC and other local institutions (e.g. the Caltech Entrepreneur Club). Students and HTE faculty are also encouraged to share announcements of such events with HTE students and other interested groups.

HTE@USC collaborative workshops are developed to incorporate opportunities for HTE students to interact and communicate in a collaborative manner with clinicians and engineers from a range of disciplines in the provision of healthcare. Workshops seek to establish mechanisms with students, faculty, clinicians for joint planning and decision making in order to identify shared content. Workshops also enable students to link with clinicians and engineers on funded projects.

Students in this program also have the opportunity to learn and exercise soft skills related to critical activities such as shadowing clinicians, customer discovery interviews, stakeholder management, business model hypothesis testing, as well as other aeas of activity related to getting medical products to market.

Workshops engage departments across the Viterbi School of Engineering and The USC Keck School of Medicine. Topics and Themes are chosen and organized according to key emerging technologies and popular research areas. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their coursework and class projects with clinicians and engineers for immediate feedback.

All HTE@USC students are invited to attend these collaborative workshops. HTE@USC students will prepare a range of presentations during the program. Following each team presentation we allocate time for feedback and questions and to switch to the next team. Presentations allow for immediate feedback from potential users, customers, hospital administrators, clinicians and engineers. The presentation format is intended to resemble a “work in progress” session at a research conference, in which teams are given an opportunity to present a brief overview of their project.