When engineering met public health

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People often ask Victoria Fan, S.M. ’08, S.D. ’11, how she ended up in public health after completing undergraduate studies in engineering at MIT. As she sees it, the trajectory is a natural one, rooted in history.

In a piece published on August 20, 2013 in the Huffington Post, the Harvard School of Public Health alumna describes how the two fields converged in the 19th century, and outlines the founding of the first U.S. training institution in public health in 1913—the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, which evolved into Harvard School of Public Health.

Today, “the creative energy” of engineering continues to inform responses to the world’s most urgent  health threats, but progress often hinges on technologies that are “simple, low-cost, and accessible in low-income settings,” as has been the case with malaria, writes Fan, who is currently a research fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C.