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, a freshman who has long been drawn to working in the healthcare industry, chose biomedical engineering because of her use 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 at an agricultural processing company in Arkansas, where he understood some of the negative impacts that industrial manufacturing can have on human health and the environment. .
“I decided I wanted to learn more about biotechnologies that can heal our bodies and, along the way, help heal the planet,” he said.
Both Kilgore and Huynh obtained travel grants for underrepresented minorities from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering to attend the group’s Public Policy Institute. Each year, AIMBE hosts a conference with panels presented by regulatory agencies, industry leaders, policy experts and more. This year’s event was held April 25-27 in Washington, D.C.
Panels featured included, among others, “The Misuse and Subjugation of Science and Public Policy,” “Women’s Health, Health Policy, and the FDA,” and “Best Practices for Communicating with the Congress”. The organization provided attendees with additional public policy insights, including understanding related hot topics and funding decisions behind federal health policy.
For both, the experience was eye-opening and a career milestone.
“It has shown me that our work in bioengineering can truly be interdisciplinary. I look forward to what the future holds and how I can work to reach more people and have a greater impact,” said Kilgore.
“And I thought I would have to give up research eventually,” Huynh said. “But with all the NGOs and professional societies fully dedicated to public policy, I now know that one can be an important part of the discussion without having to leave the lab.”
Raj Rao, Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Fellow of AIMBE, said he was extremely proud of Kilgore and Huynh for their participation in the Public Policy Institute. “They are part of the next generation of healthcare leaders who will focus on developing innovative solutions to benefit people of all backgrounds, everywhere,” he said.
Kilgore is expected to graduate with honors in May 2023, while Huynh aims to complete her doctorate. program this December.