BME Community Town Hall Shapes Vision for the Future

October 14, 2019
Ramisa Fariha

The Brown University Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBME) held the first Town Hall meeting on October 3rd, 2019. The meeting opened with welcome remarks from Dr. Kareen Coulombe, Director of Graduate Study and Assistant Professor of Engineering and Medical Science, and was an open forum comprised of graduate students, faculty and staff, intended to encourage open dialogue between students and faculty. The meeting also introduced the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEB) Graduate Advisory Board - a student established advisory board aimed at facilitating student-program and student-faculty cohesion. BMEB presented their ideas for the coming year and the importance of student feedback, and involvement in the programming decisions. Biomedical Engineering, as a center, is one of the most diverse and collaborative disciplines at Brown, sitting at the intersection of Engineering, Medicine, Biology, and other life and physical sciences. Therefore, the Center has been working, together with graduate students to enhance community building and encourage student involvement and feedback with the aspirations of becoming a world-class research program. As the meeting progressed, small group discussions were facilitated by different student and faculty members of BMEB representing Program Climate, CBME Management Plan, Program Cohesion, Invited Speakers, Diversity and Inclusion, Corporate Outreach, Faculty Meeting Observers, and General Questions. Students and faculty had the opportunity to explore the different action groups, learn about their initiatives, provide suggestions and sign up for the committees. At the end of the discussion, representatives from each group summarized their outcomes and reported them to everyone present at the meeting. The discussions also provided an opportunity to brainstorm ideas as BMEB and CBME move forward in the year, and allowed students and faculty to engage in conversations to create action plans. The importance of open communication was further enhanced through a large group discussion moderated by Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, Brown University’s Ombudsperson. A group exercise illustrated how important effective communication is for a diverse program like Biomedical Engineering at Brown. Dr. Vicki Colvin, Director of CBME, presented the closing remarks at the end of the meeting, applauding the efforts so far and encouraging continued endeavors. The event concluded with a happy hour with opportunities to exchange ideas over casual conversations. Our first town hall brought our diverse constituents together and shaped a vision for the future environment of our research center.