Asee peer logo

Case Studies In Economics And Ethics In An Early Biomedical Engineering Class

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.283.1 - 7.283.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jerry Collins

author page

Christina Mathieson

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu



Jerry Collins and Christina Mathieson Department of Biomedical Engineering Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37235

ABSTRACT Biomedical engineering students commit to the major because the profession is growing, interesting, appears financially rewarding, is a bridge to other professions, and because they hope to make a difference in their world. Biomedical Engineering Thermodynamics (BME 102) at Vanderbilt gives opportunity to develop directions for professional and personal purpose through discussions derived from analytical and diagnostic procedures introduced in class material. Examples include:

ANALYTIC/DIAGNOSTIC TOPIC DISCUSSION TOPIC Material and energy balance in laboratory animals Use of animals in research Energetics of reactions of DNA and products Stem cell research and cloning Material exchange in dialysis Economics/ethics of home dialysis Energetics of mechanical left ventricles and hearts High costs of medical technology Biomedical device/product, drug development process Company responsibilities to public

Discussions are developed in a learning science format suggested partly by the research hypothesis of our National Science Foundation-funded VaNTH (Vanderbilt-Northwestern- University of Texas/Austin-Harvard/MIT) Engineering Research Center in bioengineering educational technologies. In this model, learners are presented initially with challenges which they think about, then discuss with others. Experts are consulted and conclusions are determined after further discussion. The BME 102 class is divided into small groups representing advocacy positions (Congress, research community, manufacturers, public, etc.) for response to a challenge (i.e., should stem cell research proceed?). Group opinions are formed and stated orally and in writing, and after in-class group presentations, individuals summarize group positions and state their own conclusions in writing. This activity led one former BME 102 student (author CM) to obtain a VaNTH summer research appointment with a leading bioethicist and to pursue career goals conditioned by her summer experience.

INTRODUCTION “Then you’re at a state of conflict. Because look. Here’s how it lays out. If you’ve got vital insider stuff that the American people for their welfare really need to know and you feel impelled to disclose it and violate your (nondisclosure) agreement (with the company) in doing so, that’s

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

Main Menu

Collins, J., & Mathieson, C. (2002, June), Case Studies In Economics And Ethics In An Early Biomedical Engineering Class Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10749

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015