Healthcare Systems Engineering

Summer Internships

The Healthcare Systems Engineering Institute's Summer Internship Program provides hands-on experience for ISE (Industrial Systems Engineering) students and faculty across the country. Work spans applied and research problems with 60+ local healthcare facilities affiliated with our 3 federally-funded centers. Despite the renewed national interest in applying ISE to healthcare problems, most can only be improved by those familiar with health care. This experiential education program is intended to bridge that gap. Accepted summer fellows join ongoing projects and gain experience applying systems engineering methods to a variety of healthcare problems. Participants explore their interests over the 8-12 week summer program by working on 2 projects developed by our industry partners. Each participant is team-mentored by a senior doctoral student, healthcare practitioner, and faculty coach.

Summer Internship

Program Value

Many graduates of our program continue working on discovered problems as part of their research, and embark on successful healthcare industrial engineering careers. For Northeastern, the program has led to increased visibility, stronger local relationships, research collaborations, and numerous co-publications and grant proposals. For participating students and health systems, the annual increase in applicants and project requests with zero advertising by the program is further evidence of its value.

2015 In-Service Schedule

Week Starting





Methods & Skills



Orientation to HSyE Institute
Overview of IE in Healthcare

Basic Process Improvement Methods

The U.S. Healthcare System

HIPAA Training


Human factors in health care

Intro to Process Simulator

Guest Speaker: Nadine Hill


Practical applications of optimization in health care

Visual basic basics

Vensim System Dynamics Software


CPlex optimization Software

Measuring for Improvement



SPC Workshop
All Day 6/24

Healthcare Innovation


Guest Speaker: Jim Noga
Partners Health
Chief Information Officer

R Statistical Software

Healthcare Reliability Science


Guest Speaker: Dr. Joe Kimura
Atrius Health
Accountable Care Organizations & Analytics

Affordable Care Act

Guest Speaker: Dr. Russ Phillips
Primary Care


IEOR in Population Health


Guest Speaker: Dr. Rob Janett
Population Health


Medical Decision Making

Patient Safety


Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Finance


The logistics, paperwork, & alphabet of health research

Health IEOR in the real world

Guest Speaker: Dr. Rosenblatt
CMO Perspectives


Intern Presentations
Final Week

Timeline and Logistics

Program Location: Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Internship Period: May - August 

Housing: On- and off-campus options available

Hiring ProcessApply here. Accepted interns will be required to complete HR paperwork for Northeastern University and provide necessary documentation (immunization records, negative TB test within last 3 months) for onboarding at area health systems.


"I never imagined one summer could so powerfully infulence and prepare me for what I'm now certain I want my career focus to be." - Spencer Barrett, 2014 Summer Intern

"Sabrina did great work for us. Her work gave us a much better understanding of the room utilization. She provided and organized the data to move the initiative to use these rooms more appropriately along. Sabrina was a bright, cheerful, and willing intern. She learned the organization culture quickly. The final product was exactly what we needed and she left us with the tools to modify the model as things change at our organization and/or if we want to test different scenarios." –Janet Razulis, Brigham and Women's Hospital

"Having Elena join our team over the summer was fantastic. She brought enthusiasm to data analysis and was creative and skillful in her work. Elena was able to easily jump into our team's projects such as conducting a Value Stream Mapping event and brought value immediately." - Sarah Kadish, Director Process Improvement, DFCI

Previous Summer Internship Overviews

Examples of past program schedules:


Please see the recording below for more program details or click here to view the PDF.

Please see the recording below for more program details.

HSyE Summer Intern Program 2014: Director's Reflections 


Each summer intern will be given 2 applied and/or research projects. 2 Mentors (one PhD student and one healthcare industry professional) will be assigned to each intern for guidance and technical counsel. Projects will be chosen based on the students' interests. Some potential project areas include:

Delivery System Logistics

  • Supply chain
  • Inventory management
  • Equipment location/allocation
  • RFID
  • Standardization
  • Equipment recalls, Supply robots

Patient Flow

  • Workflow smoothing
  • Patient self-scheduling
  • Flow simulation models
  • Operating room logistics
  • Emergency department flow
  • Diagnostic test scheduling

Workforce Planning

  • Capacity planning
  • Staff scheduling
  • Demand management
  • Alignment of work functions and skill-levels
  • OR scheduling and turn-around
  • Academic workforce logistics

Quality & Patient Safety

  • Reliability, bundle implementation
  • Harm, medication error reduction
  • Readmission reduction
  • Nurse knowledge exchange & hand-off practices
  • Standardized care management processes

Past Project Examples

Readmission Statistical Process Control

  • Goal: Design and develop end-user templates which implement the desired Statistical Process Control methods and help quickly detect improvement in readmission rates.

Medical facility planning

  • Goal: Develop new medical facility layouts through queuing and simulation modeling.

Physician Assistant Staffing

Real Time Locating Systems

On Call Rooms Assessment


  • Goal: To determine if the facility design that the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) had created would provide optimal flow for their patients through their lobby area as well as monitoring potential areas for bottlenecks in queues.
  • Project Summary: Simulation - Corey Balint - Summer 2011

Patient Flow

Network Analysis