Duke University has made major commitments to Global Health, most notably the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) that encompasses nearly all aspects of the university. The Duke Department of Biomedical Engineering is a significant participant in DGHI through the many and varied activities of its students and faculty. The most longstanding participant is Engineering World Health (EWH) established by Duke BME Professor Robert Malkin and his colleague Mohammad Kiani . EWH, which is now an independent entity with over 25 chapters, is known mostly for sending students to low resource settings to assess and repair medical equipment. More recently another Duke BME professor, Nimmi Ramanujam, started the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies that aims to utilize science and technology to tackle global challenges in women’s health. There has also been a multitude of Duke BME undergraduates that have participated in DukeEngage that sends students on summer immersive experiences to a broad range of activities, including Global Health.
The newest addition the Duke BME Global Health ecosystem is the educational partnership between the BME programs at Duke University and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The Duke-MUK BME Partnership was established by Duke BME professor William Reichert after he spent the 2014-15 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar at MUK. Working closely with MUK BME Program founder Charles Ibingira, MD, this experience firmly reinforced in Reichert that intelligence and the capacity for hard work are uniformly distributed characteristics, but that access to opportunity is the key global differentiator.
The Duke-MUK BME Partnership’s vision is one of mutual collaboration through the teaching of BME classes taken simultaneously by students at both Duke and MUK, and by offering full scholarships to MUK BME graduates to study for a Master of Science degree in BME at Duke. Together, Duke BME, DGHI and MUK BME have the expertise to enable transformational capacity building in Uganda by training BME professionals and future MUK faculty. Additionally, this Partnership lends itself to giving biomedical engineers and global health practitioners at Duke University greater appreciation of key considerations in the design and implementation of healthcare technologies in low resource settings.
The Duke-MUK BME Partnership currently has a five-year commitment from both universities to enhance collaborative teaching and learning experiences. The program sponsors are the Duke BME Department, the Duke Office of the Provost, DHGI, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Duke Africa Initiative.