Cornell University

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Ezra's Round Table / Systems Seminar: Rana Zadeh (Cornell DEA) - Systems engineering integration in healthcare design: Path to transform healthcare experiences at the individual, community, national, and global level

Friday, October 30, 2020 at 12:15pm

Virtual Event

The systems approach is key to developing successful, well-integrated, and functioning solutions to address a specific need for individuals, communities, and countries. Health and healthcare experiences are complex, interface with multiple factors, involve multidisciplinary fields, and relate to many stakeholders.

Today, innovating in health and healthcare means developing solutions that are successfully translated into real-world applications to address the existing complex and multifactorial and multisectoral quality, safety, efficiency, cost, and equity issues.

Systems engineering integrated with social sciences principles is a promising path forward to practically redesigning and transforming healthcare experiences, whether for meeting the needs of an older person at home, a community interfacing with services, or at the public health or global level.

In this seminar, first, we will describe the principles of applying the systems approach in the health design field. Second, we share, examples at micro, macro, and mezzo level on the critical role of systems approach to address major gaps, to bring effective innovation and transformation in health and healthcare. The following three examples will be shared:

  • Health system level: Role of systems engineering, integrated with design and behavioral sciences for infection transfer prevention, also related to the COVID pandemic
  • Global level: A systems approach in disease management by WHO
  • Individual and community level: A systems look to address the needs of an older person with dementia at home.


Rana Sagha Zadeh, is an Associate Professor, Design & Environmental Analysis, Graduate Field Member of Systems Engineering and the co-director and co-founder of the Health Design Innovations Lab (affiliated with the Institute for Healthy Futures) at Cornell University.

Zadeh’s interdisciplinary research cuts across design, engineering, medicine, and business focusing on enhancing the quality of life through evidence-based and human-centered approaches. Her focus has included designing experiences for healthcare workers, older adults, individuals with chronic illnesses, advanced and life-limiting illnesses. Most recently, she just returned from spending part of her sabbatical leave at the World Health Organization (WHO) and part at Weill Cornell School of Medicine. Dr. Zadeh’s multidisciplinary team received an Innovation Incubator Award and the Novel Technology Award from the Clinical and Translational Science Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. Zadeh has been working with community providers, healthcare systems, and global leaders in low-cost high-impact solutions for bettering health and healthcare. For more information on current work see and

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Event Type



College of Engineering, Systems Engineering


engineering, systems engineering, College of Engineering


ALANA, Anything Goes, Bear's Den



Rana Zadeh

Speaker Affiliation

Department of Design + Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

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