As president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Dawn Elliott will focus on education

Dawn Elliott, chair of the University of Delaware’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been elected president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Founded in 1968, this professional society for biomedical engineering and bioengineering has more than 7,000 members.

As president, Elliott plans to launch an initiative to study biomedical engineering education. She wants to conduct market research to find out how industry professionals perceive biomedical engineering students and how academic biomedical engineering departments can optimize student success.

This is important because biomedical engineering and bioengineering are relatively new compared to other engineering disciplines, such as electrical and mechanical engineering. For example, ABET—the accrediting body for engineering programs—accredited its first biomedical engineering department in 1972, four decades after they started accrediting engineering departments.

In 2011, Elliott came to UD as the founding director and sole primary faculty member of the biomedical engineering program, which achieved departmental status and received national accreditation four years later.  The department now has 17 primary and joint faculty, 45 affiliates, and a doctoral degree program. Recent graduates have landed jobs at firms such as Johnson & Johnson and Siemens or continued their education at graduate schools such as Columbia University, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

“Biomedical engineers have skills that are broad enough to understand problems from all perspectives, but also deep enough to apply rigorous quantitative tools to address those questions,” Elliot said.

As president of BMES, Elliott will also preside over the society’s board of directors and the annual scientific meeting. BMES has several committees, hosts a robust annual meeting, publishes multiple journals, and more. “It will be my job to make sure that these activities flourish and are financially stable,” said Elliott. She previously served as the society’s treasurer.

Elliott, a Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will serve as president-elect for the next year. She will assume the role of president at the BMES meeting in October 2018, during the society’s 50th anniversary. She will serve a two-year term and then serve as past-president for one year.

About Dawn Elliott

Elliott joined the UD faculty in 2011 after spending 12 years on the faculty in orthopedic surgery and bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in engineering mechanics at the University of Cincinnati and a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering at Duke University.

Elliot’s research expertise includes the biomechanics of collagenous soft tissues and intervertebral disc function, degeneration, and restoration. In 2015, Elliott received the Van C. Mow Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for contributions to the field of bioengineering. That year, she also received the Inaugural Outstanding Achievement in Mentoring Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society. Elliott is heavily involved with the Perry Initiative, a nonprofit organization aimed at inspiring women to be leaders in orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering.

Elliott is a fellow of both the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and ASME. She has held leadership roles in the Orthopaedic Research Society and the Bioengineering Division of ASME.

A member and previous executive board member of the International Society for the Study of Lumbar Spine, Elliott serves as a reviewer for numerous journals in the area of orthopedics and biomechanics and is a frequent grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.