Society Spotlight: The Biomedical Engineering Society

By | July 30, 2014

By Allison Lea

The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is a rapidly growing society with over 6,500 members. As the lead society for biomedical engineering and bioengineering, BMES strives to promote and enhance knowledge and education in the field and its utilization for human health and well-being worldwide. The Society charters and supports more than 100 Student Chapters at colleges and universities around the country and abroad, providing aspiring biomedical engineers with opportunities to establish leadership skills, network, publish, and participate in a wide range of career-enhancing activities. BMES also has several Industry Chapters, which aim to build and strengthen the community of clinical and industrial biomedical engineering professionals by offering networking opportunities, continuing education, and technology transfer and utilization.

The BMES careers resource, Career Connections, brings together biomedical engineering academic programs with the biomedical industry to offer students the opportunity for career development, employment, and collaboration through regional conferences, online resources, and special events. On September 26, Clemson University will host the Southeast Biomedical Engineering Regional Career Conference, where students and recent graduates can learn about careers from alumni working in industry, academia, government, law, and medicine, as well as potential employment and intern program opportunities. In November, Wayne State University will host a similar event: the BMES Midwest Biomedical Engineering Career Conference.

On October 22-25, 2014, BMES will hold its annual meeting, “Bioengineering Innovation to Catalyze Affordable Health Care,” in San Antonio, TX, It will be the Society’s largest annual meeting to date It is expected to attract nearly 4,000 attendees and 150 exhibition booths, over 30 percent more booths than in previous years. BMES’s mission to support education and career building opportunities for its members is well incorporated into the meeting agenda, with several sessions focusing on understanding many specialized fields of bioengineering, getting a job after graduation, learning how to network, and finding a mentor.

During the annual meeting, as it does each year, BMES will present awards  recognizing individuals and organizations for their accomplishments, significant contributions, and service to the Society and the field of biomedical engineering. BMES will also present student and young investigator awards.

As a part of its ongoing efforts to provide its members with educational and career-building opportunities, BMES recently offered a webinar on how to lobby for increased and sustained funding for biomedical research. The webinar provided biomedical engineers of all levels with the knowledge and skills to impact decision makers, funding, and policy issues. The featured speakers, which included Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Director of Legislative Affairs Jennifer Zeitzer and BMES’s representative on the FASEB Board of Directors, Scott I. Simon, PhD, explained how members can get involved in policy and advocacy issues.

Both Ms. Zeitzer and Dr. Simon highlighted the importance of developing a personal story, in the form of a 30-second, easy to understand “elevator pitch,” that relates the novelty of the research and emphasizes why it requires support from the federal science agencies. Members were encouraged to reach out to their representatives in their home state and to participate in Capitol Hill Days organized by FASEB, BMES, or other organizations.

This webinar was the latest in a series offered by BMES. Topics in the past have focused on industry careers, grant writing, patent law, and best practices for running a lab. In November, the Society will host its next webinar on technology in the classroom.

BMES joined FASEB in 2009.  In addition to Board member Dr. Simon, the Society is represented on FASEB’s Science Policy Committee by BMES President Gilda Barabino, PhD, who participated in FASEB’s Capitol Hill Day in March 2014.

To learn more about BMES and its upcoming events, visit the BMES website.

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 Bioengineering students participating in career-building activities at the 2013 BMES Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. Photo courtesy of BMES.

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