U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy on Friday addressed the role of bioengineering in the future of healthcare to a packed room of students, faculty, staff and community members at the third annual Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
“I’m invited back not because I’m a physician…or because I’m an alum,” Cassidy said in his opening remarks. “I’m invited back because right now we are in a situation where, if we’re going to do well, there needs to be wide public policy that creates an environment in which biomedical engineering can proceed.”
Biomedical engineering is the way of the future, he said, pointing to groundbreaking discoveries like the mapping of the human genome as a way to create tailored treatment plans.
But, he added, creating an environment to foster this type of innovation comes with its challenges. In order to prosper, scientists and policymakers need to successfully address four key areas: intellectual property protection, capital investment, rapid communication, and scientific method.
Another important factor in moving forward is fostering open, two-way communication between those parties.
“This [lecture] is part of a dialogue in which a lot of bright people who care deeply about science, this university, in this day, about our country,” Cassidy said. “This gives me the chance to establish a connection with you. You, in this room, have some answer, or some thought on those issues.”
He continued: “In our great country, our founding fathers set up a representative democracy. It isn’t that I’m a fountain of wisdom … But it does mean it’s my responsibility to listen and learn from you. But it is your responsibility to share with me. And it’s our responsibility to find the answers for the wise public policy that will make the next age the Golden Age.”
Adam Saal, an industrial engineering sophomore who attended the lecture, said that last point resonated with him. “It’s important to remember we have to go to them and tell them our opinions,” he said.
Though Saal is not pursuing a future in bioengineering or medicine, he said, he wanted to hear Cassidy speak. Saal said he was pleased some of the points Cassidy made, like ethical decision-making as part of the scientific method, applied to his field, too.
About the LSU College of Engineering Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series
The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series invites prominent engineering professionals, corporate executives, and public servants to illuminate public policy and societal STEM issues, promoting dialogue and sustainable solutions.