Biomedical engineering technologist makes it her mission to save lives

The below article is written by Lorie Blundon, associate dean, School of Science and Engineering Technology for the January/February 2022 issue of The Ontario Technologist.

As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Christine Nabwire longed to make a difference in her community. There was always a shortage of medical equipment in good working condition in the hospitals. It was frustrating when her mother would take her and her sister for medical tests because the equipment was often broken. Also, seeing patients who travelled hundreds of miles return home without being treated or with an incorrect diagnosis (due to inadequate equipment) was heartbreaking for Nabwire.

“Can you imagine doctors doing surgeries or treating major illnesses and conditions without a vital signs monitor? I could not sit back and continue watching the unnecessary loss of life,” said Nabwire. Eventually, she was given the opportunity to pursue her dream to support those who need optimal health care when she was accepted to Durham College’s Biomedical Engineering Technology program – leaving her family and friends in Africa.

After graduating from Durham College in 2016, Nabwire worked in the biomedical engineering technology industry for a few years and then returned to the college in 2019, this time as an employee. As the biomedical engineering and healthcare technology management technologist, Nabwire ensures equipment is working, labs are prepped for faculty, and she shares her knowledge and experience with students to help them learn how to save patients’ lives.

At Durham, Nabwire contributes to a multidisciplinary team that supports their community. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when Nabwire worked closely with professor Sandra Kudla to deploy Durham College’s ventilators, monitors, masks, gloves and more to nearby hospitals. Kudla recently told students at an Open House event that entering the Biomedical Engineering Technology program “is a three-year commitment for a lifelong partnership to helping people get better.”

When Nabwire was asked if she would recommend Durham’s Biomedical Engineering Technology or Health Care Technology Management program, she said, “I would highly recommend both programs – I graduated and came back, what does that tell you?”

Nabwire goes on to further say, “With technology ever-changing, there is a high demand for biomedical engineering technologists, and this program meets the health care demands which are constantly changing.”

“Students then have the option to bridge to the Health Care Technology Management degree program, the first of its kind in Canada, and with both credentials, graduates can utilize their technical and business skills to optimize healthcare in Canada and around the world.”

Professor Richard Tidman has worked tirelessly to bring the Health Care Technology Management degree program to students, while Kudla will be celebrating 18 years since the beginning of the Biomedical Engineering Technology program that she led. This team shares a common passion, and it centers on biomedical engineering technologists and their goal of saving lives.

Photo credit: Jorge Dorado