Engineering Healthcare: Technology For Healthier Lives
Women of Color|Fall 2016

Janeen Uzzell had been working at GE Medical Systems (now GE Healthcare) for about five years by the summer of 2007 when healthcare leaders across America met at a senior executive event. The conference’s theme was “The Future Is Now: Effective Leadership in a Global Healthcare Environment.”

Lango Deen

Five thousand miles away in Ghana, the GE Foundation, the philanthropic arm of GE, had launched its Developing Health Globally initiative, providing medical equipment, water desalination units, and power generators to the West African country’s resource-poor hospitals, health centers, and maternal child health posts.

Yet one of the keynote speakers at the four-day event was unimpressed.

An international consultant in healthcare, he compared the American system to the MTV show, Pimp My Ride, where a rapper and his crew transform an old vehicle into a flashy, moving music sound station, reported a St. Thomas newspaper.

“American health care places unbelievable amounts of high technology into a frame that is fired by an old, ineffective engine,” he said. Its system “rewards procedures and not keeping people healthy.”

Engineering Healthcare

But GE professionals like Uzzell were in “the grind” with “eyes on the ground” providing “diversity of thought, creativity, and decision-making.”

Inspired by her mother, a successful businesswoman, and an older sister who was a nurse, Uzzell often dreamed of wearing a white swan uniform but an older cousin who was studying engineering motivated her to take a different path.

Although Uzzell started with an engineering education—a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina A&T State University coupled with an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University—little did she know that her field would open a range of possibilities in organizing projects in healthcare and business.

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