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Healthcare Engineering Short Courses (HESC)

Background: Engineers are in high demand in healthcare, but many engineers may not have sufficient knowledge to serve in healthcare, because most engineering curricula, except those of Biomedical Engineering, do not cover healthcare. However, besides Biomedical Engineering, healthcare industry is in great need of engineers in almost all engineering disciplines, such as Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Industrial, Information, Materials, Mechanical, Software, and Systems Engineering. Our short course program is designed to bridge the gap.



  • To help course taker gain cutting-edge engineering/technology knowledge on virtually any topic in healthcare engineering.

  • To allow course taker to determine the course topic, objective(s), and scope based on his/her own background, interest, trend of healthcare engineering/technology, need of expertise in the industry, need of continuing education, and future job.

Rationale: Development of courses in healthcare engineering is very challenging due to the following:

  • Since healthcare engineering is a rapidly progressing field, it is very difficult to offer courses in a traditional format while keeping up with the speed and magnitude of emerging technologies.

  • Since healthcare engineering is an immensely broad field, it is very difficult to offer courses in a traditional format to cover all important topics to satisfy the needs of course takers and the healthcare industry.

  • As a highly interdisciplinary field, healthcare engineering covers topics that draw interest and contributions from a wide spectrum of background and specialty. For instance, the topic of Artificial Intelligence for Breast Cancer Diagnosis may be of interest to engineers, scientists, and healthcare professionals in Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, Oncology, Pathology, Radiology, etc. Among them, some may be more interested in fundamental issues, while the others may be more interested in applications. It is very difficult to develop a course on a particular topic to accommodate course takers of varied background, specialty and interest.


We address the above issues by developing a short course format that allows course taker to develop his/her own course topic, objective(s) and scope, and select the most recent refereed archival journal articles based on personal background, interest, career prospects, etc. Each course taker needs to pass an ad hoc exam particularly developed by our advisory committee, along with the authors of the articles, to test the course taker’s understanding of the course materials.


Who should take the course: HESC are designed for the following groups:

  • Engineers and students from all engineering disciplines such as Biological, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial, Information, Materials, Mechanical, Software, and Systems Engineering, who are interested in healthcare.

  • Healthcare professionals such as physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, health/medical scientists, and students who are interested in extending their specialties to Healthcare Engineering, or updating and further enhancing their professional competence.


  1. Course taker contacts HESC to register and pays course fee. Courses can start anytime.

  2. Course taker works with HESC advisory committee to determine the topic and scope of a course in Healthcare Engineering based on personal interest, background/experience, career prospects, etc. (Refer to general topics of Healthcare Engineering, engineering jobs in healthcare, and technical topics of online communities.)

  3. The advisory committee provides a list of the most recent journal papers (see sample) related to the topic from the literature database of National Library of Medicine of NIH at www.PubMed.gov. This database is the largest and most authoritative biomedical literature database in the world, and includes only peer-reviewed, quality archival journal papers. The number of papers for the course depends on the course topic, scope, course taker's schedule, course fee, etc.; usually from 10 to 50, typically around 30. The committee works with the course taker to finalize a paper list that is acceptable to the course taker. 

  4. Course taker studies the papers at his/her own pace. Help/guidance is available from the Advisory Committee and authors of the papers if available. 

  5. Advisory committee, along with authors of the papers if available, prepares an ad hoc test (see sample questions) for the materials covered in the papers.

  6. Course taker takes the test any time when ready. Test format: open everything (book, notes, papers, Internet, etc.), online, 60 minutes. Each test is uniquely developed for a certain course taker to test understanding of the particular set of papers selected; no second individual takes the same test.

  7. Advisory committee decides the outcome (pass/fail) of the test. 

  8. In case of failure, course taker can retake the test multiple times (with different test problems and additional fee for each repeated test) at any time until passing.

  9. Considering the rapid advancement of the technology, the set of selected papers needs to be updated every 6 months if the course taker does not pass the test within such time frame. Course taker needs to pay additional fee to work with the advisory committee again for a new set of papers. Procedure is restarted from step 3.

  10. Course taker can change course topic and scope any time after paying additional fee. Procedure is restarted from step 2.

  11. Upon passing the test, a certificate will be issued that shows the course title, scope, number of papers covered, and date of completion.  A list of papers studied is optional.

  12. Course of the same topic may be repeated if significant advances in the field have been demonstrated by the new papers published, true for most of the topics in Healthcare Engineering. Procedure starts from step 1.


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