How We Advocate

Among AIMBE’s most important roles is the promotion of public policies that foster continued advancement in medical and biological engineering (MBE).  We educate and influence public officials, regulators, the media and general public about the positive impact MBE has on virtually every sector of society – from human health to a vibrant economy. AIMBE advocates for legislative, monetary and regulatory solutions that assistant our engineering community at each stage of the innovation ecosystem – from the research lab to the bedside of a patient.

AIMBE Focuses on Combating the Opioid Epidemic

AIMBE partners with the Congressional Research and Development Caucus and the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus for a two-part lunch briefing series on combating the opioid epidemic. Biomedical engineers have many tools to help prevent drug abuse by treating pain efficiently and effectively. Dr. Lori Setton, Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, discusses drug delivery methods that allow for localized pain medication, avoiding oral opioids altogether. Neuromodulation is also an effective strategy to treat pain without oral opioids, which Dr. Walt Baxter and Dr. Tim Denison of Medtronic present to Congress. Dr. Christina Smolke, Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, is working to transform the discovery, manufacture, and distribution of opioids through synthetic biology.

AIMBE Fellows Dr. Lori Setton and Dr. Christina Smolke present work on how biomedical engineers are combating the opioid epidemic.

AIMBE partners with the Research and Development Caucus and the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus for a two-part briefing series on combating the opioid epidemic.

AIMBE Fellows Dr. Walt Baxter and Dr. Timothy Denison discuss how neuromodulation can be used in pain management, avoiding oral opioids altogether.

AIMBE Responds to State Dept. Proposal of Extreme Vetting of International Students

The Administration has proposed extreme vetting procedures on immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications, which will have a negative impact on higher education and scientific collaborations. AIMBE filed comments with the U.S. State Department opposing this rule. We feel that U.S. innovation greatly depends on international collaboration and noted that international students have made valuable contributions to the US research enterprise and our nation.

More than one million international students attending U.S. colleges and universities during the 2016-2017 academic year supported 450,000 U.S. jobs and contributed nearly $37 billion to the U.S. economy. Moreover, for every 10 percent increase in international graduate students, U.S. patent applications increase by 4.5 percent. By adopting burdensome visa application requirements absent a clear, evidence-based rationale, the United States risks sending existing and potential partners and students elsewhere, thereby enriching those countries with their intellectual and economic contributions, resulting in a double loss for the U.S.

AIMBE Showcases Veteran Health Innovations

AIMBE participated in a Veterans Technology Showcase sponsored by the Congressional Research and Development (R&D) Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. AIMBE works closely with the R&D Caucus to inform on public policy issues concerning the medical and biological engineering community. AIMBE and the bipartisan Caucus, chaired by Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA), highlighted federally-funded innovations that have made tremendous contributions to veteran health.

AIMBE Fellow Dr. Matthew Becker from the University of Akron demonstrated his DOD-funded work on non-opioid pain management, as well as the development of degradable polymer shells that facilitate limb salvage in soldiers following gun shot wounds and IED explosions. This congressional event allowed Members of Congress to learn about emerging technologies in the field of veteran and military adaptive and continuing care, with the goal of showcasing efforts to enhance the recovery of wounded and disabled veterans and service members.

AIMBE Fellow Dr. Matthew Becker engages with Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) on his work developing degradable polymer shells that facilitate limb salvage in soldiers following gun shot wounds and IED explosions.

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) speaks with AIMBE Fellow Dr. Matthew Becker about innovative efforts to improve the health of wounded veterans.

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) learns about an innovative method for delivering pain management without opioids from AIMBE Fellow Dr. Matthew Becker.

AIMBE Advocates for NSF

As an organizational member of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF)–an alliance of over 140 professional organizations, universities and businesses–AIMBE supports the goal of increasing the national investment in the National Science Foundation’s research and education programs in response to the unprecedented scientific, technological and economic opportunities facing the United States.

AIMBE participated in a Congressional Exhibition for Members of Congress and their staff demonstrating the importance of NSF-funded research. AIMBE Fellows Dr. Sarit Bhaduri and Dr. Vijay Goel from the University of Toledo presented their work on healing spine injuries with next-generation bioengineering technology, and met with their delegation while in Washington, DC.

Fellows Dr. Sarit Bhaduri and Dr. Vijay Goel presented their work on healing spine injuries with next-generation bioengineering technology during a Congressional NSF Exhibition.

Fellows Dr. Sarit Bhaduri and Dr. Vijay Goel, University of Toledo spend the day on Capitol Hill with AIMBE and meet with their lawmakers.

Fellows Dr. Sarit Bhaduri and Dr. Vijay Goel meet with legislative staff in the office of Congressman Bob Latta to discuss the importance of their NSF-funded research.

FDA-Tour-FlyerAIMBE Hosts Congressional Staff Tour of FDA Labs

AIMBE provided Congressional staff with their first look inside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nearly 50 legislative aids to Members of Congress toured intramural research labs and met with senior FDA scientists at the Centers for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). CDRH Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL) Director Edward Margerrison briefed congressional staff about the offices’ mandate to protect and promote the public health by conducting research in order to review cutting-edge medical devices for regulatory approval. CDRH assures that patients and health care providers have timely and continued access to safe, effective, and high-quality medical devices. By organizing a tour of FDA for Congressional staff, AIMBE educates policy makers about the importance of federal funding for medical device research designed to keep Americans safe and healthy. This tour, and AIMBE’s congressional tours of NIH, are part of AIMBE’s expanded advocacy efforts to inform key House and Senate staffers about the role of federal funding for medical device innovation, from the early stages of discovery funded by NIH, to regulatory approval by FDA.

Edward Margerrison, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Science and Engineering Labs within CDRH/FDA (center) briefs Congressional staff about the mission of the agency.

Congressional staff arrive on the FDA White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD for a first-hand look inside medical device research labs.

AIMBE Showcases MBE Technology on Capitol Hill

Partnering with the Congressional Research and Development Caucus and the Congressional Robotics Caucus, AIMBE hosted a BioMedical Technology Exhibition for Congressional staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. Researchers from the University of Utah, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of California–San Diego, MIT, Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and Children’s National Health System provided live demonstrations of their federally-funded biomedical engineering devices and technologies that have the potential to revolutionize access to health care. Perhaps most importantly, these researchers participated in 18 congressional hill appointments facilitated by AIMBE–the first step in starting a dialog and becoming a trusted advisor to their lawmakers. Krishna Kandarpa, MD, Ph.d., Director of Research Sciences and Strategic Directions at NIBIB provided brief remarks and emphasized the critical role of NIH in catalyzing medical innovations.

AIMBE Hosts Congressional Lunch Briefings

AIMBE regularly partners with the Congressional Research and Development Caucus to host an annual series of Congressional Lunch briefings for Members of Congress and their staff highlighting the latest, innovative medical and biological engineering advancing health care. The purpose of the briefing series is to demonstrate breakthroughs only possible with federal funding for R&D and to advocate for increased support.

AIMBE University Public Policy Lecture Series

AIMBE has launched a new lecture series on the campuses of colleges and universities across the country to discuss “The Science of Failed Public Policy – Why Congress Doesn’t Fund Medical Innovation,” hosted by AIMBE Executive Director Milan Yager.

Abstract: In the halls of Congress there is widespread agreement about the role of R&D in the success of the America’s most innovative corporations. However, too often lawmakers view government models of discovery, from NASA to public university research labs, as obsolete and costly superstructures in today’s .com marketplace. What happened to the case for public exploration and discovery and why shouldn’t the private sector be trusted to find the cure for Grandma’s dementia or Johnny’s brain tumor? Long-time Washington political insider, former lobbyist, Administration appointee, and AIMBE’s Executive Director, Milan Yager, will reveal the hidden truth about why Congress doesn’t fund needed biomedical research… Learn More.

AIMBE Joins Congressional R&D Caucus Advisory Committee

As a member of the Congressional R&D Caucus Advisory Committee, AIMBE informs Congress and the public on important national and global issues regarding research and development in medical and biological engineering. In this role, AIMBE helps to bring important issues to the attention of Congress by shaping briefings and hearings for Members and their staff. AIMBE increases awareness and advocates for the benefit of federally-funded scientific research to society. Through this work, AIMBE highlights the following issues:

  • The economic, societal, and security benefit derived from federal R&D investment.
  • Technological innovations that have resulted from federal investment in R&D
  • The importance of a balanced R&D portfolio, with appropriate distribution of resources between the physical, engineering, and health sciences.
  • Yearly trends in R&D budget numbers.

Additionally, AIMBE supports:

  • The work of existing congressional Committees and members of Congress with jurisdiction over the National Science Foundation, DOE, EPA, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, National Institutes of Heath and other agencies supporting research and development efforts.
  • Federal agencies that support research and development efforts.
  • Federal policies that foster and encourage research and development in the private sector of our economy.

AIMBE Fellows Dr. David Mooney and Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam with Congressional R&D Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) at AIMBE Congressional Briefing.

AIMBE partners with the Congressional Research and Development for the AIMBE Congressional Briefing on "Cancer Moonshot Breakthroughs Made Possible by NIH and Bioengineering."

Congressional R&D Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) kick-off AIMBE Congressional Briefing on the Cancer Moonshot in the U.S. House of Representatives

AIMBE Hosts Biennial Congressional Staff Tour of NIH

AIMBE recently hosted its third tour of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), providing Congressional staff with a look inside the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Nearly 50 legislative aids to Members of Congress witnessed cutting-edge bioengineering technologies first-hand–the largest Congressional event the NIH has seen to date!

The mission of NIBIB is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care.

By organizing a tour of NIBIB for Congressional staff, AIMBE educates and informs policy makers about the importance of federal funding for biomedical innovation in tackling society’s grand challenges.

Congressional staff learn about the io Diagnostic System which provides accurate test results in 30 minutes for a broad range of infectious diseases.

A demo of a new NIBIB app is provided.

Congressional staff tour an NIBIB molecular imaging lab and view an innovative microscope magnifying living cells several million times.

AIMBE Voice Paper on Making Case for Public Investments in Medical-Technology

A new AIMBE Voice opinion paper recently published by Science Translational Medicine argues Americans have always embraced innovation but today there is a failure in making the case for public investments in medical-technology. AIMBE Fellow David Williams, and Professor of Biomaterials at Wake Force, led a task force in drafting the AIMBE Voice paper. The Task Force included David Williams, Elazer Edelman, Milica Radisci, Cato Laurencin and Darrel Untereker. The paper concludes Americans are less sure the benefits of medical innovation and suggest it is up to the medical-technology sector to educate society in an unbiased rational way about the success and benefits of biotechnology innovation. Only education, communications, and active outreach to and empowering of the community can address sources of tension and correct misunderstanding.

AIMBE Lends Expertise to the FDA (Network of Experts Agreement)

AIMBE was one of the first organizations to partner with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sign a Network of Experts Agreement.

The CDRH is responsible for regulating firms who manufacture, repackage, relabel, and/or import medical devices sold in the United States. In order to better meet this responsibility, the CDRH identified a need for additional medical and engineering expertise from the broader scientific and engineering community to enhance the knowledge base of their own staff. Through the Network of Experts Agreement, AIMBE’s College of Fellows—around 1000 innovators and pioneers from the medical and biological engineering community—will be called to provide scientific and engineering knowledge to the CDRH at the FDA’s discretion. This will provide the FDA with access to leading engineers in new and emerging technologies in bioengineering to better fulfill their mission.

By partnering with the CDRH, AIMBE is committing to providing access to the College of Fellows whenever an expert is needed. Through this collaboration, AIMBE continues to demonstrate its role as a major thought-leader in medical and biological engineering.

Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the Center for Devices and Radiological released this statement: “Rapid access to the expertise of AIMBE’s distinguished College of Fellows will help to broaden CDRH’s scientific viewpoints and assure that we consider the most current information on emerging fields of science and pioneering biomedical technologies related to medical devices.”

AIMBE is proud to be providing access to our College of Fellows, comprised of the most cutting-edge and pioneering leaders of biomedical engineering, to the CDRH at the FDA. Our mission includes building strong relationships with government agencies in order to advance the potential for medical and biological engineering to improve our quality of life, and this Network of Experts Agreement contributes greatly to that goal. We consider this a new opportunity for public service leveraging the considerable scientific and medical knowledge of AIMBE Fellows to benefit all Americans.

AIMBE Storms the Hill to Advocate for Medical and Biological Engineering

Each year during AIMBE’s Annual Event Fellows across the country travel to Washington, DC to meet with their Representatives and Senators to advocate the positive impact medical and biological engineering has on society. Each Fellow relays their personal experience, whether in the lab, classroom or boardroom of how biomedical engineers are not only creating jobs, but a higher quality of life for all Americans.

Bringing with them medical devices and technologies, Fellows illustrated how federal investment in bioengineering research and development translates ideas from the lab bench to the bedside of patients. Even in these fiscally constrained times, there is a direct need for sustained investment in federal R&D, as slashed funding risks forfeiting America’s leadership in the biotechnology industry to Europe or China. In addition, AIMBE Fellows conveyed the reality that erratic and slashed funding impedes the innovation pipeline, as universities and businesses lose the researchers and the brain power vital to the process of product development. At a time when health care costs continue to soar and manufacturing is shipped overseas, biomedical engineers are the entrepreneurs and innovators who are developing the products that lower health costs and are produced right here in the United States.

By visiting one-on-one, AIMBE Fellows make a powerful statement to our policy makers in Washington how medical and biological engineers are fostering healthy lives, a health economy and a healthy world.

AIMBE Looks Forward to the Next 20 Years

An invited paper published by IEEE focuses on the promises and challenges of the next 20 years in medical and biological engineering. Six overarching challenges were identified and they include: 1) engineering safe and sustainable water and food supply, 2) engineering personalized health care, 3) engineering solutions to injury and chronic diseases, 4) engineering global health through infectious disease prevention and therapy, 5) engineering sustainable bioenergy production, and 6) engineering the 21st century US economy. AIMBE Fellow Robert Linsenmeier, PhD led a task force in drafting the paper. The Task Force included George Pantalos, PhD, Walter Baxter, PhD, Arthur Tipton, PhD, Arthur Coury, PhD, Warren Grundfest, MD, Luis Kun, PhD, Ronald E. Yoder, PhD, William Bentley, PhD, John Watson, PhD, David Jones, Martha Bidez, PhD, Alan Russell, PhD, Thomas Skalak, PhD, Kenneth Lutchen, PhD, and Raphael Lee, MD, ScD.