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Black History Month STEM Celebration 2021 – Bantam Elias Kagabo

23rd February 2021
 | Suze Kundu

For Black History Month USA, Digital Science’s Suze Kundu and ReadCube’s Olivia Bates wanted to celebrate the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) heroes from the USA and the UK that are making history. They asked some of our STEM heroes what changes they would like to see in research culture in 2021, with a view to revisiting them in October, Black History Month UK, to celebrate the progress that has been made, and highlight the work that still needs to be done for greater equality, diversity and inclusion of Black people and other underrepresented groups in STEM.

In this third part of the series, we’re focusing on the E in STEM with an article about engineer Bantam Elias Kagabo. Elias is a young engineer located in Rwanda. He recently completed a degree in biomedical engineering at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. During his time at Trinity College, he presented at Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) with his project “Equal Access to Education for Transformation (EAET)” which outlines a path towards education access to adolescent girls from rural neighbourhoods of Rwanda. After graduating, Elias moved back to his home country of Rwanda where he currently works at King Faisal Hospital.

Current Research and Future Projects

In his current role, Elias provides services to the selection and acquisition of medical equipment. He applies principles of engineering and design to aid in the selection and acquisition of healthcare machines for the hospital. He also plays a vital role in preventive maintenance (both planned and unplanned) and corrective maintenance on the machines. He works with a wide range of medical equipment, from electrosurgery machines and ultrasound machines to infant warmers and hemodialysis machines. Elias also trains clinical staff on the operation of the hospital’s medical equipment and technologies. His work also involves calibration, testing, and installation of medical equipment.

Elias trained at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, which has a strong focus on biomedical engineering and health sciences (Source: Dimensions)

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Elias originally got into biomedical engineering because it was the perfect unity of his interest in healthcare and engineering. He sought to contribute to the healthcare sector from a technological perspective. Looking ahead, Elias’s long term dream is to help within healthcare/clinical settings by either working as a medical technology and infrastructure consultant and/or start his own medical device company.

What changes would you like to see in research culture in 2021?

Elias said, “I would like to see more women in the biomedical engineering field, especially in developing countries like Rwanda.” He also wants to see more mentorship programmes to enable more young women to initially pursue the field, and also support the retention of women within it.