What does engineering have to do with health?

I spent my undergraduate years in industrial & systems engineering learning how to make things.

I had to go to graduate school (in human factors engineering) to understand work’s impact on people – their health, motivation and productivity.

We can design work to promote the health of our people, their families and our communities. The design of work is a foundational piece of public health, safety and equity.

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– Katherine Sanders, PhD, Sanders Consulting


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Work Systems Model

Systemic change means addressing all parts of the work system. The Work Systems Model (adapted from Smith & Sainfort, 1989) helps us see how people’s skills, abilities and needs are either supported or diminished by the systems they work within.

We need to design equitable work systems (jobs, technologies, physical and social environments and organizational structures and policies) so that people can make their best contributions and lead healthier lives.

Work is a foundational aspect of public health.  Designing healthy work improves employee health, the health of families and community health.