Making smarter decisions faster: systems engineering to improve the global public health response to HIV

Publication Date:

13 Jun 2019


Wagner AD, Crocker J, Liu S, Cherutich P, Gimbel S, Fernandes Q, et al. (2019). Making smarter decisions faster: systems engineering to improve the global public health response to HIV. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 16(4), 279-91. doi: 10.1007/s11904-019-00449-2



This review offers an operational definition of systems engineering (SE) as applied to public health, reviews applications of SE in the field of HIV, and identifies opportunities and challenges of broader application of SE in global health.

SE involves the deliberate sequencing of three steps: diagnosing a problem, evaluating options using modeling or optimization, and providing actionable recommendations. SE includes diverse tools (from process improvement to mathematical modeling) applied to decisions at various levels (from local staffing decisions to planning national-level roll-out of new interventions). Contextual factors are crucial to effective decision-making, but there are gaps in understanding global decision-making processes. Integrating SE into pre-service training and translating SE tools to be more accessible could increase utilization of SE approaches in global health. SE is a promising, but under-recognized approach to improve public health response to HIV globally.

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