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April 8, 1998
Biomedical Engineering Institute Established at Hershey Medical Center

Hershey, Pa -- A Biomedical Engineering Institute will be established at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center thanks to a grant of nearly $1 million from The Whitaker Foundation. The institute s purpose is to add a new educational component to the bioengineering program at Penn State.

We are extremely excited and pleased to get the support of the Whitaker Foundation. The significance of this program is that students will be able to work with clinicians and researchers in our medical center to learn about real-world problems, says Gerson Rosenberg, Ph.D., institute director. They will learn about different areas of research that may interest them. At the medical center that could include Penn State s artificial heart, virtual reality research and robotics, and orthopaedic and rehabilitation research and imaging. Rosenberg is chief of the Section of Artificial Organs and professor of bioengineering at Penn State s College of Medicine.

Part of the funding will be used for the addition of two new faculty positions and for existing faculty to teach bioengineering courses. New courses will also be developed at Hershey and will be taught through distance education technology to students at University Park.

In addition to the $970,999 grant from the Whitaker Foundation, significant financial commitments are being made from the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering to expand the bioengineering program at Penn State, adds Rosenberg.

The history of collaborative research involving bioengineers in the College of Engineering and faculty and research staff from the College of Medicine goes back to the start of the artificial heart program in 1970. Since then numerous collaborative efforts have taken place in this unique environment for engineers, which enables them to gain an understanding of a clinical practice and the role of biomedical devices and technology that they could not have gained in a pure engineering environment.

The three-year grant for the establishment of the Biomedical Engineering Institute became effective in January 1998.


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