Skip to main content

Click here to sign up for the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub newsletter and never miss an update 

Mitacs grant allows Dalhousie industrial engineering students to bring innovative solution to Nova Scotia Health

News and Updates RSS  
Dalhousie Engineering student Grace poses at the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub

By: Allison Currie

You could say engineering runs in the family for Dalhousie University Industrial Engineering student Grace Eisnor. Her father, a civil engineer, and her mother, a chemical engineer, are both involved with Engineers Nova Scotia and Grace was exposed to the industry early on, often attending events.

While she was interested in engineering, and her mom told her she had the engineering “knack”, Grace wasn’t sure she wanted to follow either of her parent’s footsteps. It was when her mom encouraged her to join Go Eng Girls, a non-profit outreach program that encourages high school students to pursue careers in engineering through mentorship, that Grace became interested in industrial engineering.

“After hearing a few engineers speak about their work, someone spoke about industrial engineering and I thought ‘ok, I like this’,” says Eisnor. “Instead of building brick and mortar, you’re building a process, and I really enjoy that.”

Two years at Acadia later, and now in her third year at Dalhousie, she’s confident that she made the right decision.

Enrollment in the Dalhousie engineering program is how Grace found herself working with Nova Scotia Health in her recent co-op. In August of 2023, the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub and Mitacs partnered on a $1.4 million grant to embed 42 of Dalhousie’s top industrial engineering interns and two post-doctoral fellows within the provincial health care system to solve some of our biggest health care problems.

This collaboration expands upon an internship program established by Dalhousie industrial engineering researcher Peter VanBerkel that has allowed numerous Dalhousie graduate students to make significant contributions, using their newly honed skills to enhance efficiency within Nova Scotia Health while gaining valuable experience themselves.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

“The internships allow students to get firsthand experience working with health care professionals, while also improving health care for Nova Scotians at the same time.” Says Dr. VanBerkel. “There are so many great opportunities for them to learn and make a meaningful impact.”

Industrial engineers typically develop and evaluate integrated systems and processes for large companies and organizations including factors related to staffing, quality control, logistics, cost analysis and coordination. During Grace’s co-op with Nova Scotia Health, she worked with the industrial engineering team currently doing process mapping for the Oncology Transformation Project, provided an assessment and recommendations to the Yarmouth Regional Hospital emergency department, streamlined a form that will allow for better tracking of delayed or unavailable homecare services and provided process mapping support to the Violence Prevention, Intervention and Response program. She enjoyed the work so much that she’s now considering a future in healthcare as well.

“I originally got into industrial engineering having learned about the manufacturing side of things at PepsiCo through Go Eng Girls, and I always thought that’s where I would lean. But after my time with Nova Scotia Health, it definitely opened my eyes to that side of things as well.” Says Eisnor. “So, I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up, but I can see myself in either manufacturing or healthcare.”

According to Gail Tomblin Murphy, VP, Research, Innovation & Discovery and Innovation Partnerships with Nova Scotia Health, we would certainly be happy to see such talent choose healthcare in the future.

“Having the next generation involved in shaping the future of healthcare is crucial.” Says Dr. Tomblin Murphy. “They bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and the type of enthusiasm needed to tackle challenges in the healthcare system. I’m thrilled to see the continued success of this partnership.”

Tags: Dalhousie, Dalhousie Industrial Engineers, Mitacs,