Celebration of Minorities in BME Luncheon at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting
Organized by EBICS’s own Dr. Manu Platt from Georgia Tech and sponsored by the BMES Diversity Committee, the 2nd annual Celebration of Minorities in BME Luncheon created a community and network within the Society that fosters support and professional development of minorities in BMES at all levels with over 150 students, professors, and researchers from diverse backgrounds in attendance.
This year’s speaker was Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., the first and current Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and also the recipient of the BMES Distinguished Achievement Award at this year’s meeting. Dr. Pettigrew is known for his pioneering research involving four-dimensional imaging of the heart using magnetic resonance (MRI). He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, and as a Fellow in the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the Biomedical Engineering Society.
He shared his pathway from growing up in Albany, Georgia in the segregated south to attending Morehouse College, one of EBICS partner MSI’s, and Dr. Platt’s alma mater, all the way through to a Ph.D. at MIT and an accelerated two year M.D. from the University of Miami, and used this platform to discuss disparities in success for minority students and scientists. A common theme was that of social isolation of minorities in their academic environments, that when broken down in experimental studies led to high achievements. Addressing these disparities is important to reconcile the fact that of the 30% minority population in the country, only 9% are in STEM jobs.