A Healthy Dose of
When Jay Goldberg
started his engineering career 20 years ago, he learned by trial
and error that product development was not just about creating the
perfect design. Indeed, there were myriad considerationsclinical
trials, cost effectiveness, FDA regulationsthat no one had
ever told him about during his undergraduate education.
Goldberg were starting out today, he might have bypassed the school
of hard knocks for an easier entree into managing healthcare technology:
a one-of-a-kind master's degree programjointly offered
by Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsinthat
prepares engineers to oversee technology in a clinical, industrial,
or consultant-type setting. Instead, Goldberg directs it.
new engineers have had a narrow perspective of a company,
he says. We want our students to have enough understanding
of business and management so that they can effectively interact
with all areas of the company and speak the same language.
graduates find the Healthcare Technologies Management Programthe
first master's degree to combine the disciplines of technology,
business, and healthcareappealing because it gives them a
head start on their careers. If they're familiar with
the economic and regulatory environments of healthcare delivery,
they will know more than their colleagues and can hit the ground
running, Goldberg says. Requirements for the degree include
six core healthcare technology courses and five business courses,
which are taught as part of the MBA program at Marquette.
a broad undergraduate education in biomedical engineering, Heather
Posnanski, 22, chose the program because she wanted to more clearly
define her career interests. I knew I wanted to do something
in healthcare, but I didn't know if that would be in an industrial
or clinical setting, she says. Here, I've been
exposed to so many more aspects of the industry than if I'd
gone straight into a job after undergraduate school.
also draws students who have worked in industry or management but
realize they need more formal business training to move up the company
ladder. Bill Farley, a former naval officer who works in supplier
quality for GE Medical Systems, says the program is helping him
to make the transition from military management to business management.
The business classes are bringing me up to speed on terminology,
accounting, how business managers make decisions, and what type
of information they have available to them, says 31-year-old
Farley. But a bigger aspect is the industry as a whole. Understanding
government regulations behind design and technology is pretty important
regulatory requirements, students also study such topics as marketing
and financial management, product development, and technology assessment.
Independent study projects, designed by the students to tie in with
their career goals, round out the program. One student who is interested
in technology assessment is currently evaluating a new technology
that monitors whether a patient is in shock. Students work with
both faculty and industrial or clinical advisors and, in a sense,
serve as consultants to their sponsors.
a grant from the Whitaker Foundation, the program currently has
14 students. Joelle Neider, one of two recent graduates, says the
program opened up a whole new avenue of job opportunities
for me that were not strictly engineering or technical. For
her independent study, Neider researched regulations for medical
devices and developed a matrix of requirements that GE Medical had
to meet for marketing a product in other countries. As a result,
GE offered her a job as a regulatory affairs specialist. The
regulatory affairs job wouldn't have happened if I hadn't
completed this program, she says.
the program will reach a wider audience in the near future. There
are plans to make the entire program available online within the
next few years. Two courses already online have been well received
by the students, especially the one who brought his laptop to France
on a business trip and in between meetings, and (let us hope) croissants,
was able to download his class assignment.
Daniels is a freelance writer living in Fresno, CA.
would anyone want to teach around the clock? To keep up with the
world, of course. Debasish Dutta, professor of mechanical engineering
at the University of Michigan, has created a course called Global
Product Realization, which involves simultaneously teaching
students across three continents, in time zones six and 14 hours
apart from Michigan's Eastern Standard Time. Whether
you like it or not, globalization is here to stay, says Dutta,
who spent nearly two years planning the course. Major companies
are all global and many projects are being done in three different
relied on the technological infrastructure of video conferencing,
e-mails, faxes, Web tools like E-Viz and Placeware, and a good alarm
clock set to international times to contact his two colleaguesImre
Horvath, at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, and
Jongwon Kim at Seoul National University, South Korea. The three
instructors prepared case studies from their local industries, including
Steelcase Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Philips Electronics,
and Samsung. They also arranged for experts in their countries to
speak on product development-related topics, such as law, the environment,
this age of both globalization and diversity it's extremely
important for the students to understand how to work across international
boundaries and how to value different styles that people have. There
is nothing like actually experiencing it to understand it,
says Stephen Director, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of the college
of engineering at University of Michigan.
September, graduate students in Ann Arbor gathered twice a week
for the GPR class at 8 a.m., while in Delft it was 2 p.m., and in
Seoul, it was 10 p.m. Often the Korean students worked at home on
the Internet, and returned to campus for special lectures and video
the first day of the course, Dutta didn't waste any time. After
introducing the students to each other via e-mail, he named eight
teams, made up of two students from each country. Their assignment?
Design a coffee maker for the global market, and do it as a team.
During the last week of class, all of the students met for the first
time in Ann Arbor for presentations and a public exhibition.
face-to-face meeting was full of anticipation. As they left their
virtual worlds behind, many wondered what their teammates were really
like, and how well they would work together for the presentations.
As Sybren vanWayenburg, an industrial design graduate from Delft,
observed: There are a lot of subtleties that make it easier
to meet and work in person, for instance, the gestures and eye contact.
When you're video conferencing you're either looking at
the screen or at the camera, but not both. But you get used to it,
and I'm sure that in our careers we'll get used to it.
In the future, Dutta would like to arrange for the students to meet
on the first day of class and then meet again at the end of the
project. That would take funding, he says, but the results would
be a more effective performance in a distributed team.
there were few glitches and most of them were minor. At one point,
Ann Arbor lost Korea online for just 15 minutes. Then there was
the shakier time during a design review when the video conference
all of a sudden went dead for Delft, but was regained
quickly. As for language, all the students spoke English, though
some were more comfortable with it than others.
students appreciated what we are trying to do, says Dutta.
They understood that they were the guinea pigs, but they also
understood the importance of it, so they were very forgiving.
He adds that in a survey taken at the end of the semester, 97 percent
of the students said they would recommend this course to a friend.
other engineering courses follow suit with global teaching? Not
all, but certain courses are suitable, design courses certainly,
says dean Stephen Director. This took a tremendous amount
of effort...and the technology is still young. But it will spread
and each time we do it, it will take less effort to accomplish.
Mathias-Riegel is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.