Serving Society

Biomedical engineering is, by its nature, a way for engineers to improve the human condition — an embodiment of the phrase 'service to society.' Biomedical engineers are constantly improving the state of health care and making new, important advances in disease detection and treatment.

Duke's BME educational program features several truly distinctive opportunities for our students to engage in hands-on learning and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Duke-MUK Partnership: Building Transformative capacity in uganda

The Duke-MUK partnership is a commitment between Duke and Makerere University (MUK) in Kampala, Uganda, to collaborate on the education of biomedical engineers and the development of biomedical devices.

Duke-MUK students

The goal of the partnership is to enable transformational capacity building in Uganda by training BME professionals and future MUK faculty. Through the partnership, classes are taken simultaneously by students at Duke and MUK. MUK BME graduates are offered scholarships to study for Master of Science degrees at Duke.

The partnership is directed by Duke's William M. Reichert and the founder of MUK's BME program, Charles Ibingira.

GWHT: Addressing Global challenges in women's Health

GWHT student with WISER school girls

The Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies (GWHT) aims to provide multidisciplinary and multicultural experiences to motivate Duke students to utilize science and technology to tackle global challenges in women’s health.

The center also works to increase research, training and education in women’s diseases with an initial focus on women’s cancers and maternal-fetal health.

For example, GWHT has developed a low-cost, smartphone-based colposcope for the screening of cervical cancer.

The center's director is Nimmi Ramanujam.

DHT Lab: Inventing Health care Tech for the world's neediest

The Developing World Healthcare Technologies Laboratory (The DHT Lab) is dedicated to understanding, creating and disseminating healthcare technology to the world's neediest. We have classes, trips, design challenges and many more opportunities for you to make a difference right now. Specific offerings include:

  • The Duke Engineering World Health Summer Institute in Tanzania and Nicaragua
  • BME 462 - Design for the Developing World
  • NAE Grand Challenge Scholars
  • Pratt Fellows, Research Program
  • DHT Lab Fellows, Independent Study Program
  • Duke Engineering World Health Chapter, including weekly meetings and annual trips to Guatemala

The DHT Lab is led by Robert Malkin.

BME 460: Creating Custom Devices for People with Disabilities

BME 460, a capstone design course, is offered to engineering students at Duke University. Students are paired with health care professionals to build custom assistive, recreational or therapeutic devices for people with disabilities in the local community.

For example, students modified a bike to allow a woman who was injured in an automobile accident to ride again.

The course is taught by Kevin Caves.