Society for Biomaterials Announces 2024 Award Recipients: Porras receives Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

The Society for Biomaterials (SFB), a multidisciplinary society dedicated to advancing biomaterials science, education, and professional standards, recently revealed its 2024 award recipients. Among the distinguished awardees are Dr. Ana Maria Porras, Assistant Professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida, and Dr. Brian Aguado, Assistant Professor from the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, who received the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the biomaterials field, mainly promoting anti-racism and fostering diversity in the STEM disciplines, especially in biomaterials.

Porras and Aguado have been honored for their groundbreaking work with the LatinXinBME initiative, a pioneering effort that has earned them this prestigious accolade. LatinXinBME, under their leadership, established the first online support community for Latinx biomedical engineers. This innovative platform serves as a crucial support structure for a historically excluded group, providing essential tools for career development and spearheading campaigns to enhance the visibility of Latinx scientists in the STEM landscape.

Dr. Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida, emphasized the significance of their work, stating, ‘Dr. Ana Maria Porras and Dr. Brian Aguado’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award recognizes their pioneering work with the LatinXinBME initiative. By creating an impactful online support community for Latinx biomedical engineers, they’ve addressed diversity needs and set an outstanding precedent for the scientific community. Their dedication reflects a transformative impact in fostering inclusivity within STEM.’

The SFB’s award reinforces the importance of initiatives that actively contribute to dismantling barriers and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic and professional settings, positively impacting research, patient care, and policy within the biomaterials field.

Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hern├índez, Ph.D., from The University of Texas at Austin, praised the initiative, stating, ‘LatinXinBME established the first online support community for Latinx biomedical engineers. This innovative new platform provided a support structure for this historically excluded group, tools for career development, and campaigns to increase the visibility of Latinx scientists. The impact of this virtual program has been incredible, and they were asked to provide a template for other communities.’