Engineering Excellence: An Academic Partnership with the University of Toronto

By Chiara Marcello

Humber River Health has recently welcomed engineering students in collaboration with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. The students started their journey at Humber in September 2022 and will continue to work with the Hospital until the end of April 2023.

The engineering students have helped to support the Medical Device Reprocessing Department and Patient Registration, along with the Innovation Excellence team. Students assisted in identifying new and emerging technologies and utilized simulation modelling to test designs to address a variety of process improvement needs.

Through the academic partnership with the University of Toronto, the students first began by understanding and defining the problems. They then worked with their ‘clients,’ such as Humber, to determine project requirements, develop design specifications, and finalize the product. To do so, the team continues to meet regularly to share and review materials and information, while working with various stakeholder groups in the departments they are serving.

“The Industrial Engineering students were keen to learn and brought fresh perspective to our project work,” explained Shawn Thaddaeus, Manager of Health Information Services. “Combining their theoretical knowledge and observational studies on-site, they brought forward simulation-tested solutions when envisioning what our future state could look like. We continue collaborating with the Industrial Engineering students as we continue towards our future state in Registration at Humber.”


A few of the participating students have shared their inspirations and experiences working in the engineering field and with the team at Humber.

What inspired you to get into engineering?

Kate Ni: As a child, I was fascinated by science and its potential to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Engineering is a great combination of my strengths and interests, as it provides the opportunity to explore science and make a meaningful contribution to society through my studies.

Audrey Natasya: I have always had a passion for STEM and was inspired by the idea of being able to make a change and build models that have real-life applications. I am particularly drawn to the efficiency and optimization aspect of Industrial Engineering, which is why I chose this field.

What are your responsibilities at Humber?

Kate Ni: As a member of my Capstone team, I have had the privilege of collaborating with the Innovation Excellence team at Humber to work on a crucial improvement initiative – enhancing the medical instrument sterilization process, which is a huge part of the operating room and can directly impact patient health.

Audrey Natasya: I am currently in my final year at Humber and am involved in a Capstone project where my team of four, including Erica Barriatos, Leelavathi Vutukuru, and Farah Rahman, is working with Humber to identify potential opportunities for process optimization of the Hospital’s patient registration.

How has your professional and academic experience been at Humber?

Kate Ni: My experience at Humber has been super exciting! I am met with new and meaningful challenges through my project work, which has allowed me to develop my creativity and problem-solving skills. The quality improvement team has been an invaluable support through this journey. The guidance and mentorship I have received from them has been instrumental in developing my project management and communication skills.

Audrey Natasya: My experience at Humber has been great. I have been able to further learn and apply what I have been taught in classes through real-life projects. I have seen firsthand how useful industrial engineering techniques can be in the healthcare sector. Humber has been able to support me both academically and professionally by providing me with the resources and opportunities to apply my knowledge in a practical setting.


In all, this has been an educational and successful collaboration between the University of Toronto, the respective program, and the Innovation Excellence team. Humber looks forward to continuing the partnership and welcoming more students in the future.