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The creation of a Biomedical Engineering Technology Program for the 2020's

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Focus on the Classroom: Novel Approaches to Course Delivery

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1513.1 - 26.1513.14



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Paper Authors


Gary J. Mullett Springfield Technical Community College

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Gary J. Mullett, a Professor of Electronics Technology and Co-Department Chair, presently teaches in the Electronics Group at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) located in Springfield, MA. A long time faculty member and consultant to local business and industry, Mullett has provided leadership and initiated numerous curriculum reforms as either the Chair or Co-Department Chair of the four technology degree programs that constitute the Electronics Group. Since the mid-1990s, he has been active in the NSF’s ATE and CCLI programs as a knowledge leader in the wireless telecommunications field. A co-founder of the long running National Center for Telecommunications Technologies (then the ICT Center) located at STCC, Mullett also played a principle role in the development of the innovative and long running Verizon NextStep employee training program. The author of two text books, Basic Telecommunications – The Physical Layer and Wireless Telecommunications Systems and Networks, Mullett did both his undergraduate and graduate work (in Remote Sensing) in the ECE Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he also taught the undergraduate sequence of courses in electromagnetics. He has presented at numerous local, regional, and national conferences and also internationally on telecommunications and wireless topics and on the status of the education of electronics technicians at the two-year college level. His current interests are: the adaptation of a systems-level approach to the education of electronics technicians and virtual instrumentation, applications of the emerging field of wired and wireless networked embedded controllers and sensor/actuator networks, and cyber-physical system applications.

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The creation of a Biomedical Engineering Technology program for the 2020sMany biomedical engineering technology or similarly named programs were spawned in theearly 1970s. These programs, at the two-year college level, were a response to the demand fortechnicians to deal with the rapidly expanding base of medical equipment that was beingdeployed primarily in hospitals. Although there were many electronics engineering technologyprograms at the community college level, it was thought that the need for technicians skilled inthe medical equipment area would be more successfully satisfied through a specific program thattaught the fundamentals of electronics and then concentrated on medical equipment andelectrical safety. Programs were designed to produce graduates that could deal with thebiomedical equipment technology of the day and the needs of the clinical workplace.During the time that these programs flourished, biomedical technicians would troubleshoot faultsto the part level and replace defective components to affect a repair. However, Moore’s law hasbeen hard at work for the last five decades and the technology utilized by the medical field hasmorphed substantially over the last twenty years in particular. The adoption of digital electronicstechnologies to replace analog electronics, the introduction of low cost microcontrollers intoelectronic systems, the Internet, wireless networking technologies, medical laser systems, andinnovative medical sensors and imaging techniques has changed the way medical care isdelivered today and the way maintenance and repair of equipment is performed. Furthermore, itis felt by many that the e-healthcare field is at the cusp of another change that will rapidlytransform the medical device industry and as a result modify noticeably how health care isprovided. The implementation of medical cyber-physical systems will allow for the developmentof virtual medical devices that will be deployed in both a clinical setting and in the home.Presently, engineering technology education at the two-year college level does not producetechnicians with the skill sets needed to install, evaluate, maintain, and up-grade these systems asthey are envisioned in either setting. This paper will discuss the design and impendingimplementation of a two-year “biomedical engineering technology” program tailored to meet thee-healthcare workforce needs of the end of this decade and those required as we move into the2020s for both clinical sites and home environments.

Mullett, G. J. (2015, June), The creation of a Biomedical Engineering Technology Program for the 2020's Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24851

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