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Endorsement of the Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on HST

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To the Members of the MIT Corporation, President Hockfield, Provost Reif, Vice-President for Research and Associate Provost Canizares, and Chancellor Grimson:

The Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) is a unique academic and research enterprise. Created 40 years ago to combine the engineering strengths of MIT with the exceptional preclinical training at Harvard Medical School, HST has been a pioneer in biomedical education and research. As a multi-institutional program, the administration and organization of HST has always been a complex undertaking and has recently prompted a re-examination of its structure within MIT.

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Structure of the HST Effort at MIT, which is composed of numerous distinguished MIT faculty and chaired by Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, was charged with investigating various structural options to ensure that HST becomes better aligned with the other academic units at MIT. After a period of extensive information gathering and deliberation, the committee issued a report recommending the creation of a new “Institute of Medical Engineering and Science” to be housed within the School of Engineering. In addition, the report elucidates several factors the committee deems essential to the success of the new institute.

We, as members of the HST community,

§ applaud the committee for their open, thoughtful, and thorough examination of HST;
§ affirm their findings and enthusiastically endorse their recommendation to establish a new “Institute of Medical Engineering and Science” to house the MIT component of HST and to permit the growth of additional programs of education and research;

§ encourage the senior administrators of MIT to move expeditiously to implement the specific suggestions provided by the committee, including:
  1. encourage the Dean of Engineering, as well as the Deans of Science and Sloan to become advocates for medical engineering and science at MIT;
  2. provide substantial initial resources, including seed funds, to promote collaborative research between the Institute, other MIT departments, and the surrounding Boston/Cambridge medical community;
  3. initiate joint searches for dual-appointed senior or mid-career faculty with outstanding interdisciplinary credentials to provide additional credibility and leadership to the Institute;
  4. provide sufficient ongoing resources to maintain the highest academic standards, and to continue to attract the most highly talented students and faculty, including adequate functional space to accommodate HST’s core activities.

Finally, we wish to convey the importance of community participation in the formation of the new Institute. We therefore advocate for the timely creation of a student/alumni panel to assist in decision making throughout this exciting process.

Sincerely, (please include your current title/position in the “Comments” box)


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