Breanna Kilgore and Tai Huynh attended the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Public Policy Institute in Washington, D. C.
Biomedical engineering students Breanna Kilgore and Tai Huynh share a passion for working at the intersection of science and policy.
Kilgore, an honors student in her junior year who has long been drawn to work in the healthcare sector, chose biomedical engineering because of its utilization of technology as a means to initiate positive change.
"I hope to work in the public health sector with development engineering, finding innovative ways to treat patients with minimal resources," Kilgore explained.
Ph.D. candidate Huynh discovered this interest after working for a few years as a chemical engineer with an agricultural processing company in Arkansas, where he came to understand some of the negative impacts industrial manufacturing can have on human health and the environment.
"I decided that I wanted to learn more about biotechnologies that can heal our body and along the way help heal the planet," he said.
Both Kilgore and Huynh earned underrepresented minorities travel awards from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering to attend the group's Public Policy Institute. Each year, AIMBE holds a conference featuring panels presented by regulatory agencies, industry leaders, policy experts and more. This year's event took place April 25-27 in Washington, D.C.
Panels presented included "Misuse and Subjugation of Science and Public Policy," "Women's Health, Health Policy, and the FDA" and "Best Practices for Communicating with Congress," among others. The organization provided attendees additional information surrounding public policy, including comprehension of related hot-button topics and funding decisions behind federal health policy.
For both, the experience was eye-opening and an important career step.
"It revealed to me that our work in bioengineering can truly be interdisciplinary. I'm looking forward to what the future holds and how I can work to reach more people and have a larger impact," Kilgore offered.
"And I thought I would have to eventually give up research," Huynh said. "But with all of the NGOs and professional societies dedicated entirely to public policy, I now know that one can be a significant part of the discussion without having to leave the lab."
Raj Rao, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a fellow of AIMBE, said he is extremely proud of Kilgore and Huynh for participating in the Public Policy Institute. "They are part of the next generation of healthcare leaders who will be focused on developing innovative solutions to benefit people from all walks of life, all over the world," he said.
Kilgore is set to graduate with honors in May 2023, while Huynh aims to complete his Ph.D. program this December.
Alexander Wayne, operations manager
Department of Biomedical Engineering
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