About the Robert F. Rushmer Endowed Lecture
The Robert F. Rushmer Endowed Lectureship was created to bring outstanding leaders in the field of bioengineering to the University of Washington community for exchange of ideas. The first Rushmer Lecture was held in 1987.
This lecture honors Dr. Robert F. Rushmer, who, in 1967, founded the UW Center for Bioengineering, which later became the Department of Bioengineering. An extraordinary pioneer, mentor and leader, he had a vision to establish a place where many different disciplines work together towards a common goal of providing an improved quality of life for all.
Dr. Rushmer began his work at the UW in 1947 in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, where his team of physics and engineering students developed a battery of equipment to monitor the cardiovascular system in healthy, active animals without inflicting pain. The team was able to monitor cardiac functions in engineering terms — changing dimensions, pressure, flow and derived variables such as acceleration, power and work. In the 1950s, Dr. Rushmer and his colleagues applied Doppler ultrasound to imaging the pumping heart and measuring blood flow. These diagnostic devices were credited with reducing premature deaths from circulatory diseases. The technology was also modified to detect fetal heartbeats. Dr. Rushmer received many honors and awards for these cardiovascular and ultrasound monitors. Several earlier models were displayed at the Smithsonian Museum.
Throughout his life, Dr. Rushmer advocated for using medical technology appropriately and for considering the ethical, political, social and technological consequences of medical advances.