Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our department is committed to creating and sustaining a community that values diversity and champions equity and inclusion. 

With the word Diversity, we mean all of the values and experiences that come from a multitude of cultures and experiences, including, but not restricted to, differences in race, ethnicity, age, gender and gender identity, language, religion, sexual orientation, ability or disability, and socioeconomic status.

By Equity, we are referring to the unbiased treatment of all individuals, and the promise of fair and equal access to all opportunities and resources, removing any barriers that may exist for marginalized groups.

Inclusion to us means welcoming, respecting and supporting all views and opinions, and ensuring that all individuals feel they belong.

Biomedical Engineering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and Community

A Note from DEI Lead Lizzy Mays: 

Our ability to engage with departmental activities related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has not quited matched pace with our growth as a department from the last few years. There are several changes I want to implement that will take some time to do, however I am committed to following through. So much so that I’m placing this statement on our new BME website.

  • An updated Action Plan or Committee Guidance document that outlines the roles and practices of our DEI Committee
  • Recent and upcoming events advertised on this site
  • Current projects (with sign-ups as appropriate)
  • A “Get-Involved!” sign-up where you can indicate your level of interest within our community events

At a minimum, our current BME DEI committee is composed of several faculty, with myself as the Department Lead and Liaison to the College of Engineering. I hope to implement the following:

  • The DEI Committee, an MCommunity Group, will be composed of faculty, staff, and community representatives from the various organizations, as well as individuals dedicated to helping organize and advertise our department’s DEI efforts
  • In addition to the committee, we will have a separate BME DEI Community that is a private list of individuals who are interested in attending, aiding, or organizing events or projects

At this time, the best way to get in contact with the BME DEI Committee is through email: BME-DEI-committee@umich.edu. I am very open to suggestions and I welcome you to watch and see how our community grows! 

Recent Events and Projects

Get Involved! 

This BME DEI Community Google form is for all members of the BME and BME adjacent Community (Faculty, Staff, Students, Organizations) to sign up for emails, tell us that you want to be involved, or to tell us about what you are doing! We would love to hear from you!

@STEMPrideAtUM (Instagram) STEM Pride at UM is a social media initiative on Instagram dedicated to increasing visibility, promoting academic networking, and bringing awareness to the obstacles and experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals in STEM at UM. If you are interested in being featured please fill out this form.

BME Inclusive Teaching
The BME-IT initiative received the Rackham Faculty Allies and Student Ally Diversity Grant. The grant involves seven BME faculty, five BME students, CRLT and C-SED. It aims to engage graduate students and faculty to make improvements to BME courses over the summer and fall to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in our teaching. The goal is to deliberately cultivate a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning and feel valued and supported in their learning through group interactions and course content. In feedback from the first year, IT-BME students responded that case studies and/or discussing the socio-technical aspects of engineering added value to the courses that incorporated these strategies. The lead faculty member on this program is David Nordsletten, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Cardiac Surgery.

BME DEI Book Club
The BME DEI Book Club launched in fall 2023, with the primary goal of bringing together a group of people in the department who share a common interest in learning, discussing, and working to improve DEI efforts within BME. The book club will meet four times over the course of the year: three book club discussions and one invited speaker seminar.

The first book was “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” by Claude M. Steele. Michigan Engineering, together with BME, provided complimentary copies of each book in the language of the reader’s choice, along with a lunch during book club discussions. The lead faculty members for this grant are Aaron Morris, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Alexandra Piotrowski-Daspit, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine – Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division. The next book club sessions will be

  • “Babel: An Arcane History”, by R.F. Kuang (March 1)
  • Author Claude M. Steele will be a guest speaker for the April 4 BME 500 Series
  • “Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women”, by Virginia Valian (May 3)

Faculty Wellness Event
Lisa Pruitt, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, led a conversation focusing on faculty wellness and mental health
on Friday, November 3, 2023, as the featured speaker at BME’s Faculty Wellness Event. Dr. Pruitt, the author of Soul of a Professor: Memoir of an Un-engineered Life, discussed her book and the lessons she learned from her challenges. College of Engineering Interim Dean Steve Ceccio opened the session, which was followed by a lunch discussion that focused on the importance of faculty mental health and wellbeing and the need for self-care.

BME Graduate Application Assistance Program (BME-GAAP)
The BME Graduate Application Assistance Program (BME GAAP) is a student-run initiative at U-M that supports prospective applicants from non-traditional paths or historically disadvantaged backgrounds by pairing them with current graduate students who can help review application materials throughout the process of applying to a BME PhD program. The students may come from a variety of educational, economic, cultural, and/or geographic backgrounds that are non-traditional, historically disadvantaged, or underrepresented within STEM, thus contributing to a lack of support and/or guidance in their pursuit of higher education. The graduate students who serve as mentors are volunteers, and make no guarantee that students who participate as mentees will be accepted into the U-M BME Ph.D. program or any other academic program.The goal of BME GAAP is to increase representation in all BME graduate programs and to make the national and international BME community more diverse, inclusive, and representative. The lead faculty member for this program is Karin Jensen, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

BME NEST: Network for Engineering Success and Transformation
The BME Nest: Network for Engineering Success and Transformation is in its second year of providing resources for support to BME students. The goal of the program is to bring together first-generation and transfer students so they can encourage each other to succeed in their academic and professional goals. This student-centric group meets to provide information about topics such as financial aid, careers, department news and other items within a community of peers. Students serve as Ambassadors who connect with other students in the program so that no one feels alone as they start their college experience.

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The format is informal and is arranged to encourage camaraderie and student interaction. A main guiding element of the BME NEST program is that it proactively provides students with access to information and support that is designed to help them achieve. Rather than students needing to search for support, it will be provided organically in the NEST.

NEST is focused to increase the diversity of the applicant pool, as well as to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students once they have entered the program. The lead faculty members on this program are Kerri Boivin (Director of the Engineering Career Resource Center), Karen Gates (BME Alumni, Development, and Industry Relations) and Jan Stegemann (BME Professor and BME MEng Program Director).


For Students

For Faculty & Staff

For Everyone