Engaging Biomedical Engineering in Health Disparities Challenges

J Community Med Health Educ. 2018;8(2):595. doi: 10.4172/2161-0711.1000595. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Health Disparities (HD) are community-based, biomedical challenges in need of innovative contributions from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Surprisingly, STEM professionals demonstrate a persistent lack of HD awareness and/or engagement in both research and educational activities. This project introduced Health Disparities (HD) as technical challenges to incoming undergraduates in order to elevate engineering awareness of HD. The objective was to advance STEM-based, HD literacy and outreach to young cohorts of engineers. Engineering students were introduced to HD challenges in technical and societal contexts as part of Engineering 101 courses. Findings demonstrate that student comprehension of HD challenges increased via joint study of rising health care costs, engineering ethics and growth of biomedical-related engineering areas.

Keywords: Ethics; Health disparities; Societal impact; Undergraduate education.