System Design and Management

The MIT Master's Program in Engineering and Management

Service Systems Innovation for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in the U.S. Military: An Enterprise Systems Approach


Deborah Nightingale
Professor of the Practice of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, MIT; Codirector, MIT Lean Advancement Initiative, Director, MIT Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development

An estimated 300,000, or 18.5% of combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression. However, the full continuum of care in the U.S. Military for PTSD and related disorders is reported to be insufficient to meet the current and future needs of service members and their beneficiaries (Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, 2007).

While a systems perspective that accounts for all components of the system is advised by a number of experts, limited research has considered such an approach. This presentation highlights new MIT research that takes an enterprise perspective that enables system observation and analysis beyond the more commonly studied components of care (e.g., diagnosis and treatment) to include other critical components (e.g., prevention, resilience, and reintegration activities).

This approach to analyzing the system of care for PTSD and related disorders in the U.S. military using both quantitative modeling as well as qualitative methods will be described. Initial recommendations for transformation of the enterprise will also be discussed. This case review presents implications for the use of an enterprise systems perspective to describe and ultimately improve other large-scale healthcare systems and presents areas for future research.

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  • Sloan School of Management
  • School of Engineering
  • Engineering Systems Division

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