The mission of the Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is to nurture and advance a culture in the Department of Biomedical Engineering:

  • where diversity is actively embraced and supported,
  • where the practice of research and education is purposefully anti-racist,
  • where we recognize and overcome prejudice in training and hiring, and
  • where discrimination on the basis of, but not limited to, race, color, gender, sexual orientation and disability, is identified and addressed.

Through continuing education, strategic partnerships, increased mentorship, and community outreach, we strive to create a just and equitable environment from which to advance education and research in science, engineering, and medicine.

Columbia Engineering and the wider University are deeply committed to cultivating a global community of scholars and researchers devoted to academic excellence and the translation of ideas into broad impact. Read statement from Dean Mary C. Boyce.


We want to hear from you! If you have questions, feedback, suggestions, or want to get involved with diversity initiatives at Columbia BME, let us know!


Contact us at

Meet the DEI Committee



Henry Hess and Elisa Konofagou














DEI Initiatives

BME Movie Night

The purpose of BME Movie Night is to reinforce the mission of the BME DEI Committee to “advance a culture in which diversity is actively embraced and supported.” By gathering the community around the widely familiar media of film and television, we seek to encourage and normalize conversations which may be difficult or unfamiliar, as well as those traditionally overlooked in the BME community. Each month, by incorporating additional resources centered around selected themes, we aim to engage and equip community members with the tools to critically examine the current culture around racism and diversity.

The first theme of BME Movie Night was the history of modern systemic racism and featured a community viewing of the movie "13th" (also available for free streaming here), and subsequent live discussion. See resources below. Thank you to all those who participated. 

Relevant Resources - AUGUST

13th Movie Discussion Slides

13th Movie Discussion Guide 1

13th Movie Discussion Guide 2

Systemic Racism Explained (Act TV)

Systemic Racism & Covid

Let's Get to the Root of Racial Injustice

Housing Segregation

Racial Wealth Gap Explained

Mass Incarceration Visualized

Environmental Racism

September's theme for BME Movie Night was People of Color in STEM and included a community viewing of the feature film "Hidden Figures," a community viewing of the "2017 BMES Diversity Award Lecture" delivered by Dr. Manu Platt (also available for free streaming here), and subsequent live discussion. 

Relevant Resources - SEPTEMBER

Hidden Figures Movie Discussion Guide

Manu Platt, 2017 BMES Diversity Award Lecture 

Manu Platt, "Amplified: Gaslighting in the Academy—Actually Making Black Lives Matter"

TEDx: The Future of STEM Depends on Diversity | Nicole Cabrera Salazar, Georgia State

For questions about BME Movie Night, please contact Ketsia Zinga at


HBCU Partnerships

Professor Tommy Vaughan is spearheading our effort to build ties with the College of Engineering at Tuskegee University, a private, historically black university in Tuskegee, Alabama. Tuskegee University was home to the renowned scientist George Washington Carver, a botanist and agricultural scientist who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. Professor Vaughan’s grandfather H.A. Vaughan was the county agricultural extension service agent for Macon County and had the honor of supplying many of the seeds, fertilizers and farming implements used by Dr. Carver. Prof. Vaughan and a team of BME faculty and staff are working to build on that ancestral connection.

On behalf of Professor Tommy Vaughan (BME) and Professor Christopher Boyce (CHEME) and the BME DEI Committee, you are invited to participate in an Engineering Ethics Symposium on October 26, 2020 at 6:00PM EDT, hosted by Tuskegee University's College of Engineering. While this two-hour symposium will open with a 20-minute introductory talk, the body of the symposium will be a moderated discussion leading to a plan for educational exchange and research collaboration between our two institutions. All are invited to join this discussion and planning session. Details sent via email.


  • Introductions and moderation (TU)
  • Short talk on engineering ethics (Vaughan)
  • Open forum discussion on educational opportunities and exchange between CU and TU students and faculty (students and faculty)
  • Faculty discussion on organization and research collaboration


Combating Anti-Black Racism

Our mission is to engage in research and educational practices that actively combat anti-Black racism. We strive to eliminate the impacts of systemic racism through intentional activities to: best serve minority students during their matriculation at Columbia, promote diversification of our graduate students and faculty, and devise biomedical innovations to address healthcare deficits in underrepresented minority groups.


  1. To create and/or maintain early (K-12) STEM education and identity opportunities
  2. Support students throughout their Columbia matriculation and prepare for post-graduate activities
  3. Create a more diverse graduate applicant pool to increase the number of Black Ph.D. students
  4. Support Ph.D. students/Post-docs through mentorship and early career professional development

For information about this initiative, please contact Dr. Aaron Kyle at


Columbia Community Resources

Educational Resources

Coming soon!