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VA New England Healthcare System


VA Healthcare Systems Engineering Postgraduate Fellowship


The VA Healthcare Systems Engineering Postgraduate Fellowship introduces recent engineering graduates to the growing field of healthcare engineering. The VA runs the largest healthcare system in the country, serving 8.7 million Veterans, and is a leader on many quality and safety metrics. The fellowship is based at the New England Veterans Engineering Resource Center (VERC) in the vibrant city of Boston, MA. The VERC is a dynamic group of engineers and process improvement specialists working on regional and national projects to enable VA healthcare to efficiently, effectively, and reliably provide exceptional care.

Two staff members reviewing a floor plan
Fellows work with frontline healthcare employees, quality improvement leaders, and academic partners.


The VA Healthcare Systems Engineering Postgraduate Fellowship is designed to give engineers regardless of prior healthcare experience the tools to enter the expanding field of healthcare engineering. Fellowships last one year for master’s level fellows and two years for fellows with PhDs.

Healthcare Systems Engineering Fellows have the opportunity to:

  • Learn to apply industrial and systems engineering techniques to the improvement of health systems
  • Become immersed in clinical processes and procedures and have the opportunity to pilot tests of change
  • Use advanced engineering methods such as modeling or simulation,  and apply other expert skills (e.g. operations research, scheduling, data mining, human factors, risk analysis) in the development and application of innovative engineering solutions
  • Work in primary and specialty care models, inpatient medicine, surgical safety, and administrative processes.
  • Submit a manuscript to a medical quality or systems engineering journal and/or present work as a conference poster or presentation.
  • Take advantage of multiple learning opportunities in areas such as project management, facilitation, mentorship, lean, and a specially designed biweekly fellowship seminars, taught by healthcare practitioners and systems engineering experts.

Graduates of this fellowship will have experience and qualifications to obtain employment in healthcare settings or pursue further training in healthcare systems engineering. VERC collaborates with researchers within VA and at top academic institutions (MIT, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Purdue), allowing interested candidates to pursue mentored research projects during the fellowship.    

An annual stipend is provided to all fellows. For 2015, the stipend will be $32,500 for master’s level fellows and $46,000 for fellows with a PhD. Benefits such as leave and health insurance are also offered to fellows.

Tom Rust at VHA
Fellows have opportunities to present at national conferences.

Fellowship Alumni

Graduates of the program have gone on to careers in:

  • Healthcare consulting (Accenture, Arcadia Solutions)
  • Hospital quality improvement (Boston Children’s, VA Boston)
  • Operations research (VA Health Services Research and Development)
  • VA System Redesign staff and VERC staff engineers


Candidates from master’s and PhD level accredited programs in an engineering field are invited to apply. Applicants must have a US citizenship due to federal employment rules. Visa sponsorship is not available for this program. Preference will be given to candidates with industrial or systems engineering backgrounds.


The program starts in July each year, with some flexibility for desirable candidates. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Selected candidates will be contacted for a phone interview and will be asked for 3 recommendation letters.

VERC logo

"This fellowship has given me the perfect opportunity to transition from graduate school into a career in health systems process improvement. The VERC is a dynamic team of problem-solvers who value continued learning, innovative thinking, and collaboration. The fellowship provides a unique opportunity to gain a broad perspective of healthcare while honing technical and business skills through a variety of impactful projects."

Qing Li, Fellow 2014-2015

M.S. Health Systems
Georgia Institute of Technology

S.B. Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology