What makes a biomedical engineer?

  • Linsenmeier R
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Abstract

This article focuses on undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) curriculum, particularly on how to address industrial needs and to what extent a common curriculum can and should exist. It is part review, part description of the current work of the VaNTH (Vanderbilt University; Northwestern University; University of Texas at Austin; and Health, Science and Technology at Harvard/MIT) Engineering Research Center for Bioengineering Educational Technologies, and part editorial. The editorial offers a snapshot of the continually evolving effort to integrate ideas from many sources for the improvement of curriculum in BME. These ideas and recommendations are accessible on the Web site of the VaNTH curriculum project. The term "biomedical engineering" denotes a type of engineering with a strongly medical focus. It encompasses programs that are called "bioengineering" (BE) but which have the same flavor as BME. The first BME undergraduate degrees were granted less than 40 years ago. Full agreement about the content knowledge needed for a B.S. in BME does not exist now and is not likely to exist in the near future. Our recent survey of required curriculum in accredited programs found no courses that were required by all, although courses in biomechanics and systems physiology were quite common. This lack of agreement at the course level does not mean that there is no similarity at the content level, however. Our hypothesis is that it will be possible to achieve consensus about key elements of the BME curriculum.

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Authors

  • Robert A. Linsenmeier

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