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Commentary: The Role of Mentored Internships for Systems Engineering in Improving Health Care Delivery

Day, T. Eugene DSc; Goldlust, Eric J. MD, PhD; True, William R. PhD, MPH

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181eac050

The authors advise the adoption of mentored internships in systems engineering, conducted at academic hospitals, directed by physicians, epidemiologists, and health administrators and overseen by faculty at attendant schools of engineering. Such internships are anticipated to directly address the immediate objectives of administrators and clinicians. Additionally, this affords future generations of health care engineers the opportunity to learn the language and methodology of the medical sciences to provide a common ground for the analysis and understanding of medical systems. In turn, this should foster collaboration between the principal stakeholders in health care delivery—practitioners, administrators, engineers, and researchers—in the collective efforts to improve the quality of services provided.

Author Information

Dr. Day is health systems specialist, St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and senior fellow, Center for Optimization and Semantic Control, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Goldlust is assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

Dr. True is director, Health Services Research and Development, St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and research professor, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Day, St. Louis VAMC, JC/00, 915 Grand, St. Louis, MO 63106; telephone: (314) 482-1996; e-mail:

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges