The Danger in the Acceptance of Manufactured Food; Engineering A Resilient Healthcare System

Fossett, Sophie, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Edwards, Nathan, MITRE Corporation
Barker, Shannon, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Allen, Timothy, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Each year, 805,000 people die from a heart attack in America, with 12% of those cases being fatal (Benjamin, 2019). A major contributor to heart attacks is obesity. People who suffer from obesity tend to have higher blood pressure, which is a common cause of a heart attack (Penn Medicine, 2021). Processed foods tend to cause an increase in blood pressure and thus obesity (VeryWell, 2021).

My Capstone project aims to engineer a resilient healthcare system. Hospitals often become overwhelmed due to an influx of patients, which limits the quality and availability of necessary care to patients. This occurs due to external circumstances that cause bottlenecks in the system, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. My team chose to focus on heart attack patients in Pennsylvania. Using data from 3 hospitals in Pennsylvania, the team used discrete event simulation and an agent-based model to visualize hospital flow and measure the efficacy of the current healthcare state. We then inserted our proposed improvements to the model and compared efficacy measurements to understand how our improvements helped to increase quality and availability of care to heart attack patients in Pennsylvania.

My thesis project is focused about the acceptance and widespread consumption of processed foods in America. It focuses on the social movements that have caused processed foods to become so prevalent in the country. This connects to my Capstone project due to the healthcare risks that are associated with processed foods and heart attacks. Based on the understanding of the influence of social factors on the acceptance of processed foods and how this affects public health, it is made clear the importance of the obesity epidemic in America.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

STS Advisor: S. Travis Elliott (Department of Engineering and Society)
Technical Advisor: Nathan Edwards (MITRE Corporation)
Capstone Advisors: Dr. Shannon Barker and Dr. Timothy Allen (Department of Biomedical Engineering)

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