To accelerate the development of an inclusive culture in biomedical engineering (BME), we must accept complexity, seek to understand our own privilege, speak out about diversity, learn the difference between intent and impact, accept our mistakes, and learn how to engage in difficult conversations. In turn, we will be rewarded by the ideas, designs, devices and discoveries of a new generation of problem solvers and thought leaders who bring diverse experiences and perspectives.
Biomedical engineering is well known to have more gender parity than almost any other engineering field. Data from 2017 confirm that biomedical engineering is second only to environmental engineering in having the highest proportion of Bachelor’s degrees awarded to women (44% vs. 50%; engineering average 21.3%), Doctoral degrees awarded to women (39.1% vs. 48.7%; engineering average 23.3%), and women faculty tenured or on the tenure track (22.7% vs. 26.9%; engineering average 16.9%) in the United States. However, along other axes of diversity, such as race and ethnicity, biomedical engineers are a highly homogenous group. The percentages of Bachelor’s degrees awarded to Blacks or African American, Hispanics and American Indians or Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders1 were 3.8, 8.8, and 0.3%, respectively, which are less than the engineering averages of 4.1, 11.2, and 3.8%, respectively. Similarly, the percentages of Black or African American and Hispanic faculty members in biomedical engineering are substantially lower than the engineering averages—1.8% vs. 2.3% and 3.0% vs. 3.9%, respectively in 2017. Interestingly, whereas the percentage of Bachelor’s degrees awarded to Asian Americans in biomedical engineering is higher than the engineering average (21.6% vs. 14.6%), the percentage of faculty is similar (25.7% in biomedical engineering vs. 27.9% in engineering). Understanding why biomedical engineering is especially appealing and/or hospitable to women and Asian Americans and unappealing and/or inhospitable to Blacks and Hispanics is critical to developing institutional strategies to diversify the profession… Continue reading.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Naomi C. Chesler, Ph.D., Professor, Vice Chair, and Associate Chair for Faculty and Academic Staff Development, Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Chesler was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows For outstanding contributions to pulmonary hypertension research, to engineering education research, and to promotion of diversity in engineering.