BMES Statement and Commitment to Racial and Social Justice
BMES Responds to Racism and Equal Justice.7/2/2020
BMES Responds to Racism and Equal Justice
George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. Our hearts go out to the Floyd family and friends for this tragic injustice. It is unfortunate that it takes a catastrophic loss of life, caught on video, to escalate a systemic issue that has been plaguing our society for so long. Police brutality and racism have been and continue to be a lifetime experience for Black people. We condemn these disturbing, racist, and violent acts and stand in solidarity and support of the Black community.
Now is a time for action. We recognize that these horrible acts are deeply rooted in institutional and structural inequities that span all aspects of life for Black people. The BMES member community, with support from its Board of Directors, Diversity Committee, and professional staff, want to be a part of the efforts to heal the community and share in alleviating the unfair burdens placed on Black people. To this end, BMES will dedicate itself to educating the biomedical engineering (BME) professional community in a way that does not add further burden to discriminated groups. We will also help identify and reduce disparities and discrimination in access to healthcare services.
At our core, BMES is a community of biomedical engineers who work towards improving human health. We have seen the health disparities data, which show that Black Americans are more likely to have major chronic health problems, coupled with a lack of access to quality healthcare. Much of the current clinical and research studies primarily benefit white patients. In addition to better addressing racial disparities in clinical studies, we also need to address cost of the preventative and diagnostic tools that we develop as biomedical engineers to improve equitable access to healthcare. We also need to make our profession a place in which a diverse community can be comfortable and thrive.
We pledge to:
- Present scientific programming at our annual meeting on healthcare disparities and discrimination in access to healthcare.
- Convene dedicated conference sessions and virtual seminars led by renowned subject matter experts to promote and foster discussions focused on bringing to light the conscious and subconscious biases, which disproportionately affect the Black community. We will partner with AIMBE and other interested associations committed to a long-term effort to build findings into policy-driven action.
- Reinvest in educating ourselves and other stakeholders in the BME community, relieving the burden on our Black colleagues who are too often the only resource to educate non-BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). BMES will assemble a collection of modules, webinars and related resources to address bias, representation, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as part of a “Best Practices” training set for all BMES members and the broader BME community, whether they are a student, an early career professional, an academic or an industry leader.
- Collaborate with the Council of BME Chairs to create a DEI mentorship program for department chairs and faculty.
- Collaborate with the Council of BME Chairs to regularly convene leaders of departmental diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI) groups in an effort to effectively spread and thereby amplify successful activities.
- Rewrite the BMES code of conduct to call for zero tolerance for racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia for all in-person and virtual events delivered by the Society.
- Work with partner organizations, like NSBE and SHPE, to elevate access and participation of BIPOC in BME. Dedicate staff support to ensure that the goals of these partnerships are realized.
The actions outlined above are in addition to the steps BMES has already taken to build and support a diverse BME community. We will continue to enhance and strengthen our resources via continuous learning from our members, stakeholders, and partner organizations who have demonstrated leadership in DEI efforts. We will hold ourselves accountable to the actions cited above.
BMES will continue to seek additional initiatives and tangible actions that contribute to a greater collective impact to affect change in our society. We will also remain vigilant in our pursuit to ensure a safe and equitable environment for our members and the broader BME community.
Dawn Elliott John White Evangelia Bellas Brenda Ogle
President President-elect Diversity Committee Chair Affiliations Committee Chair
A Statement from BMES Leadership
The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) stands firm in the fight against racism. We owe it to our members, to the scientific and academic communities, and to the public not to be silent. BMES will always stand on the side of racial justice and we remain committed to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dawn Elliott John White