Rushmer Term Professorship (Medicine)
The Robert F. Rushmer Term Professorship was established in 2005 to enhance the University’s ability to attract and retain distinguished faculty in the Department of Bioengineering, a department jointly administered by the College of Engineering and UW Medicine.
Robert F. Rushmer, M.D., graduated from Rush Medical College in 1939 and trained in pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic. During World War II, he did aviation research with the Army Air Corps at Randolph Field in Texas.
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.
In 1967, Dr. Rushmer founded the UW Center for Bioengineering, which later became the Department of Bioengineering. Throughout his life, he advocated for using medical technology appropriately and for considering the ethical, political, social and technological consequences of medical advances.
The Rushmer Term Professorship was created to memorialize Dr. Rushmer’s many contributions to the University and to the field of bioengineering, as well as to recognize the extraordinary services rendered by current faculty to the Department of Bioengineering.
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