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CIRSS Seminar - The Values of Biomedical Engineering Practices in the Design of Novel Healthcare Technologies

Friday, February 14, 2020
4pm - 5pm

131 iSchool

Event Details

Session leaders: Beth Strickland Bloch, iSchool Doctoral Candidate
Description: There are many novel biomedical technologies currently under development within academic laboratories around the world. The biomedical engineers responsible for their development employ a variety of tools and techniques to design technologies intended for use within healthcare settings. The decisions made by researchers during the design process enact a set of values which present ethical implications for their use within society. This talk will discuss research which studies the everyday laboratory activities of biomedical engineers who design technologies located at opposite ends of the development spectrum of translational medicine. Through the use of ethnographic methods, this research examines biomedical device engineers who develop novel applications, focused on improving devices already translated into use within clinical settings, and cellular biomedical engineers who develop novel systems, comprised of new materials, techniques, and/or methods, and who want these technologies ultimately translated into clinical use. The findings of this study suggest there are values tensions within each group as they relate to stages of technological development, to disciplinary identities as scientists and/or engineers, and to the epistemological underpinnings of biology and engineering. This research offers new insight into how these tensions result in values implications related to issues of responsibility, transparency, and well-being. The need to incorporate practical ethical interventions within everyday biomedical research practices is necessary to create technologies that are better for humans. The concluding part of this talk will connect insights from this work with new research projects focused on understanding the information worlds of biomedical researchers, and exploring how academic librarians can support their information needs throughout the research lifecycle.
Beth Strickland Bloch uses qualitative methods to examine why biomedical researchers make certain design decisions when developing novel healthcare technologies within academic settings. Her research has been presented at Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), and Academic College and Research Libraries (ACRL). She is currently a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and received a MLIS from the University of Denver, and a MA in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University.