Health Technology @ Illinois -- Innovating for Health
Event Type
Poster Presentation
TimeThursday, April 152:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
LocationEducation and Simulation

The College of Applied Health Sciences in collaboration with the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign welcomed its first cohort of students in our innovative Master of Science in Health Technology in Fall 2020. This unique educational program is a one-year professional master’s degree that combines human factors, health, engineering principles, and design, in an experientially-based intensive program that utilizes the unique simulation spaces available on campus. The MS in Health Technology culminates in a capstone experience wherein students partner with industry, community partners, health care providers, and faculty to solve real-world health technology problems. Students train and prototype in the simulation spaces, which include the McKechnie Family LIFE Home (Living in Interactive Future Environments, Jump Applied Research through Community Health through Engineering and Simulation (ARCHES)/Healthcare Engineering Systems Center (HCESC), and the Siebel Center for Design among others. In this poster, we will highlight the unique aspects of this new educational program, describe how our students utilize the simulation spaces on campus, and discuss the capstone projects in which students are students are currently engaged. Six students in the program will participate to share their experiences and plans for their capstone projects.

Health technology is a broad term that encompasses technology used in the context of healthcare, including applications to support patients and their care (e.g., medication adherence, health tracking, clinical assessment); smart-home technology (e.g., activity sensors, fall detection, telewellness); social and assistive robots; digital home assistants; social engagement tools; and virtual reality. The health technology domain incorporates all consumer-facing and medical-facing technologies intended to support individuals in maintaining health and improving wellness and independence. The vision of the Illinois Health Technology master’s program is to educate the next generation of applied health technology professionals. Our mission is to develop interdisciplinary practitioners, through classroom education and experiential learning, who have the knowledge, skills and abilities to advance health technology design and implementation.

Core Competencies and Courses

Students completing the program will have the following competencies:
• Comprehension of varying user needs;
• Knowledge of human factors tools and techniques;
• Familiarity with research methods, theory, and data analytics;
• Understanding of hardware components;
• Facility with software;
• Awareness of regulations, policies, standards;
• Appreciation of ethical issue in design and implementation; and
• Communication skills.

The MS in Health Technology combines core courses in human factors along with software and hardware engineering to provide a sound background in health technology basics. These courses provide a leveling field for students who despite having completed the same six prerequisite courses prior to entering the program, have a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The MS-HT first cohort includes students from Anthropology, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Community Health, Computer Science & Engineering, Information Technology, and Psychology.

The culmination of the program is the Capstone Project, which is selected, developed, and implemented across three courses. Students also select three electives that will support the knowledge base they need to support their capstone. Research facilities on campus are available for the capstone project and the simulation spaces enable research, prototyping, and capstone development.

Simulation & Development Spaces at Illinois

Health technology is inherently an applications-oriented domain with a broad range of users. Simulation spaces on campus provide realistic settings for the initial development and evaluation of healthcare products and devices.

McKechnie Family LIFE Home The McKechnie Family LIFE Home is a cutting-edge research center focused on innovations in home environments. This facility mimics existing home dwellings (i.e., typical home of today) as well as provides space for the development of next generation smart homes (i.e., house of tomorrow) that would allow people of all ages and abilities to live fuller, healthier, and autonomous lives. Spaces include a two-bedroom home; an attached garage; multi-purpose research and collaboration rooms; outdoor areas; and capacity for community engagement. Research and development efforts focus on a range of topics related to in-home activities to improve quality of life and independence. The research and development efforts performed in this facility focus on developing and testing new technologies to support independent living, healthcare needs, social interaction, and everyday activities. The Observation & Control Center enables viewing and recording interactions in the home simulation space. The laboratory spaces provide opportunities for rapid prototyping of technologies, participant interviews, remote presence research, and educational and training activities. The collaborative spaces provide a hub for research teams, industry partners, clinicians, and for community engagement.

JUMP Simulation Center This center provides all the simulation needs of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the first medical school in the nation focused—from the beginning—at the intersection of engineering and medicine. The Jump Simulation Center is equipped with state of the art simulators including operating rooms, simulation mannequins, control rooms and exam rooms.

Seibel Center for Design The Seibel Center for Design is in the center of campus to foster multidisciplinary collaborations across campus, using design thinking as an approach to promote human-centered design and mandated quick iterations.
Other campus facilities In addition to these centers there are variety of rapid prototyping maker labs and innovation spaces, as well as technology available to students such as virtual reality, 3D printing, robotics, and more.

Capstone Project Discussion

The students in the MS Health Technology Program Students will complete a Capstone Project that is extended, intensive, targeted, practical, and problem-based. They are challenged to solve problems provided by industry, government, community-based organizations, or academia. Capstone sponsor locations will vary widely and include industry, regulatory agencies, community organizations, and may be part of campus projects as well. Students explore possible projects in the Fall semester, and ultimately choosing a project by the end of the semester. In the Spring semester they develop their project idea, to be implemented in the Summer. During the Spring and Summer semesters, students can utilize various simulation spaces on campus as they develop and implement their capstone ideas.

Our poster presentation includes six students from the MS Health Technology Program and they will each provide a snapshot of their capstone project. Gabrielle Koo Chang is working with Dr. Megan Huisingh-Scheetz at the University of Chicago Medicine on modeling accelerometry data to assess frailty in older adults. Asif Huq is working with a team from State Farm Sundial Labs on a digital home assistant tool for older adults’ legacies. Tia King is working with AARP on the validation of use cases for digital health technology. Amrutha Kumaran is working with Professor Abby Wooldridge in designing a mobile application to support pediatric care transitions. Neva Manalil is working with Dr. Mary Pietrowicz at the Applied Research Institute on software analytics for the prediction of anxiety and depression, with a focus on building an app to facilitate data collection and visualization. Marlene Robles Granda is also working with Dr. Mary Pietrowicz on software analytics for predicting mental health conditions, exploring computational processing tools for screening.


This poster will provide an overview of the MS Health Technology program and include the experiences of the students in the program. We will provide an overview of the simulation spaces on campus that support this unique interdisciplinary professional degree. There is a rapidly growing need for well-trained professionals with skills in software application, hardware engineering, human factors, and user-centered design to create innovative health technologies.