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Made for Medicine
You don't have to be an MD to make a difference in people’s medical care.
There was a time not long ago when measuring your heart rate was predominantly done by healthcare providers. Indeed, most tech related to the practice or delivery of medical care was strictly regulated to the acute care environment. But times and biomedical technology change.
Thanks to wearable devices, you can check your heart rate, blood pressure and any number of key indicators anytime, anywhere. According to CCS Insight research, 61 million fitness, sports and activity trackers were expected to be purchased in 2016. Forecasters anticipate the market to grow to 187 million by 2020.
Additionally, the devices and advanced medications healthcare providers have at their disposal allow for quicker diagnosis in many cases and the latest treatment options. And, just like consumers are always clamoring for the next generation of smartphones or wearables, the healthcare community anxiously awaits the newest biomed innovation.
Could it be virtual and augmented reality headsets? Maybe it’s a new treatment protocol or a breakthrough medication. The answer to what will be the next groundbreaking development may not be defined just yet, but the possibilities have biomedical professionals excited.
Yu Imagines the Future of Siemens Healthineers
Daphne Yu doesn't consider herself a big-time gamer. In fact, when she plays video games with her children, Yu isn’t necessarily engaged to compete. Rather, she's more captivated with the game’s technology. The same phenomenon occurs when she treats her family to an animated film.
“My children make fun of me when we watch movies. I’ll say, ‘Look at the water’ because it’s really hard to animate water well. I also point things out to my family when we’re playing a video game. I appreciate that a lot of work goes into entertainment technology,” comments the director of engineering, image visualization for Siemens Healthineers.
It’s not that Yu envisions herself a great video game developer or CGI animator, but she’s constantly assessing whether a device or software program from various industries can be applied to the healthcare arena.
“I look at charismatic domains, like entertainment or gaming. I want to see what they’re doing and if it’s relevant for Siemens,” she explains.
Siemens Healthineers, which has U.S. headquarters in Malvern, PA, has been innovating and producing medical tools and equipment for more than 100 years. In fact, it produced the first industrially manufactured X-ray machine. Its modern contributions to the medical imaging sector include positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, as well as computed tomography (CT) scans.
Even before she decided to specialize in medical imaging, and before she declared biomedical engineering as her field of study, Yu had a habit of viewing emerging technology as an avenue to more possibilities.
While seeing how certain images are created to simulate a scene for a video game or movie, she’d contemplate how that program could be applied to an entirely different reality. This type of curiosity fit the biomedical engineering discipline much more succinctly than some of the other technology and engineering realms.
“As a student, I was drawn to building, but not bridges. For me, there's an attraction to the balance of human factors and hardcore engineering. Biomed is a sweet spot for me because there's so much human aspect to it,” she explains.
Earlier in her career, Yu worked in research and development, as well as project management, guiding products through various developmental stages. In her current position, she relies on her curiosity and imagination as much as her engineering know-how.
“I’m a technology explorer for the company. I look into trends to see what opportunities are available in the trends, and whether they will benefit the company,” she says.
However, she still gets to experiment with hands-on engineering.
“We’re empowered to explore and create prototypes,” she says.
A major challenge for Yu is to not just explore for exploring sake. She always stresses the purpose behind her work, which is remembering who will benefit from her efforts.
“I think it’s important to empathize with the user,” she says. “I think the younger generation of engineers believe if you have the best technology, you win. But it’s so important to empathize with the user.”
Check out careers at Siemens Healthineers at siemens.com/global/en/home/company/jobs/our-locations/usa.html. Follow on social media @SiemensHealth and at facebook.com/SiemensHealthineers.
Dr. Chiweshe Is on Duty for Beckman Coulter
For most medical students, life after graduation starts with an internship, followed by a residency and sometimes a fellowship for additional specialty training. Then it’s a career in private practice or with a hospital or healthcare system.
That’s the path on which Joseph Chiweshe, MD, MPH, set out. He landed an internship in general surgery and opted for a residency in preventive medicine. He also collaborated with insurance providers and participated in pain-centered research.
Each experience built a curriculum vitae that positioned him for a successful future practicing medicine, except Chiweshe kept remembering a piece of advice he heard early in his career. Someone suggested he should collect diverse experiences.
“This advice has been instrumental in my career to date, and has served as an important ingredient in shaping my career development thus far,” he emphasizes.
Chiweshe embraced that philosophy wholeheartedly when he agreed to become medical innovations manager for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. A division of Danaher, and based in Brea, CA, Beckman Coulter supplies healthcare facilities with scalable instruments, diagnostic tests and business management systems.
Going to work for a biomed company meant, instead of collaborating with nurses and therapists, Chiweshe now consults with engineers and marketing specialists. However, his concern for patients continues to be his number one priority.
“The key here is that we continue to keep patients first in all we do, which, for me, is important and provides a rewarding experience to our work,” he says.
Plus, Chiweshe didn’t switch careers just to collect diverse experiences.
“I always had an interest in health innovations and embraced opportunities that allowed me to engage in it, but there wasn’t a clearly defined path for that career in my previous work,” he comments.
“I’m now in the biotech space wherein I found a natural extension of being able to continue helping others at a much broader scale on the business side of healthcare.”
This consists of engaging both internal and external stakeholders, partnering with members of the healthcare system at large. and continuously evaluating the changing health landscape.
This all also happens “as we conduct our due diligence in an effort to hone in on truly value-add[ed] and patient-centered solutions for further developments,” Chiweshe adds.
“Addressing the complexities of healthcare is a challenging and continual journey as the landscape has undergone, and continues to undergo, rapid change. At the same time, new ideas must be balanced with nuanced regulatory and policy aspects of the field that take varying amounts of time to reach implementation and become standards.”
Adjusting to an office environment instead of a clinical setting could be jarring to many physicians; however, Chiweshe discovered the support and insight from colleagues eased his transition. More specifically, he appreciates how their varied contributions provide greater perspective.
“Diversity is crucial on the business side of medicine as it was in direct patient care. The best solutions generally come out of working with and internalizing different viewpoints that are aligned with our collective goal of better care,” he explains.
“We all relate to what it means to be ill, or at the very least, have a loved one who has been affected by illness. Thus, we all improve our understanding from harnessing the diverse experiences each and every person brings to solving the complex issues we face.”
Check out careers at Beckman Coulter at beckmancoulter.com/wsrportal/wsr/company/careers/overview/index.htm. Follow on social media @BCILifeSciences and at facebook.com/BCILifeSciences.
Nowlin Embraces the Astellas Corporate Brand
For the first five years of her career, Stacie Nowlin focused on numbers. She earned a degree in management with an emphasis in accounting, and fulfilled several accounting roles for an industrial manufacturer.
For the past year of her career, though, Nowlin has focused less on numbers and more people. The interim between then and now included a major career change.
After that stint in accounting, Nowlin decided her personality better matched a job involving more interaction, so she moved into pharmaceutical sales with a member of Big Pharma. Then in 2009 she accepted a contract position with Astellas Pharma US, Inc., which turned into a permanent position two years later.
“I thought medical sales would be a challenge that combined my love for science and a solid business background,” she remembers.
Astellas Pharma US, is the sales and marketing branch of Astellas US, LLC. Based in Northbrook, IL, the company’s products serve patients in multiple specialties, including cardiology, infectious disease, oncology, urology and transplants.
While Nowlin was intrigued by Astellas’ research and development efforts, she was equally interested in its reputation for hosting a progressive corporate culture. The company has received several accolades: both Forbes and Working Mother named it as an employer of choice, and it’s been added to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
“An ‘inclusive’ corporate culture always seemed like a cliché at other companies, but it felt real at Astellas,” says Nowlin.
“Astellas supports employees and our families by providing a multitude of benefits, acknowledging our commitment to our community by offering five volunteer days per year to be used for the non-profit of our choice, and providing resources that support our emotional well-being. The leadership is accessible and the company is very transparent, which fosters trust among its employees.”
Plus, the more time Nowlin puts in on the job, the more she takes advantage of her employer’s professional and networking programs.
“When I first joined Astellas, I worked hard and mostly kept to myself,” she recalls. “As time passed, my participation in different groups (e.g., employee resource groups, volunteer projects and initiatives) connected me with a diverse network of people from different regions of the United States across various roles outside of my department.”
These off- and on-the-job opportunities brought her both personal satisfaction and new professional possibilities.
“These resources empowered me to gain greater professional insights in a safe and organic learning environment,” says Nowlin. “Building a diverse network also helped me advance in my career and seek out different opportunities at Astellas.”
For example, in 2015, she was selected to participate in the company’s Emerging Leader Program. That led to a promotion and eventually to her current job as Southwest regional sales manager. Now Nowlin passes on these lessons to her team.
“The most rewarding part of my job is partnering with people so they can exceed their potential by capitalizing on their strengths and assisting them to develop within their roles and their careers,” says Nowlin.
And one of the key pieces of advice she emphasizes to her staff is to not only build their networks, but to also make their “net work.”
Nowlin elaborates: “As a professional, it’s important to identify your career path. Connect with people who are in the roles we aspire to and leverage your network to help breathe life into your resume and substantiate it with examples.”
Check out careers at Astellas US LLC at astellascareers.jobs. Follow on social media @AstellasUS and at facebook.com/AstellasUS.
Shumpert: Finding Meaning at Acelity
Lisa Shumpert began her human resources (HR) career with a major mass retailer. She knew it was her job to identify candidates who would thrive in the consumer-based industry. Even if employees didn't directly interact with shoppers, Shumpert wanted to see customer service and satisfaction as the driving force behind their professional motivations.
When she moved onto the finance industry, Shumpert knew she’d be looking for candidates who were knowledgeable and experienced in economics. But she also wanted professionals who conveyed confidence and would be invested in diligently and ethically striving to satisfy clients’ needs.
In both industries Shumpert’s HR decisions were aimed at aiding individuals to progress in their careers while adding value to their employers. That is, after all, one of the key functions in human resources.
However, those experiences didn’t necessarily make Shumpert feel connected to shoppers or investors. Not that people’s financial stakes aren’t personal or that consumers don’t receive a benefit from retail services, but by working in the biomedical field now, Shumpert feels a deeper connection with her company’s purpose, and vicariously with customers and their patients.
“The more professionally mature I become, the more I realize that my inner passion is driven by working somewhere that does something that matters,” she explains.
“I feel like working in this industry gives you the opportunity to do something great. We get a chance to constantly innovate, which is not true for every company and every industry."
As vice president of human resources, chief commercial office for Acelity, Shumpert knows her decisions may have an impact on the current and future state of healthcare because she isn’t just recruiting, interviewing and hiring professionals, she’s finding experts whose work could lead to major medical advancements.
Acelity, headquartered in San Antonio, TX, produces a portfolio of advanced wound therapy and regenerative medicine. It employs nearly 6,000 and serves customers around the world.
“At Acelity we either improve the quality of someone's life or we save it,” Shumpert remarks.
“When you look at pictures of someone’s wound, and it can essentially be a hole through someone’s back, then you see over time how that hole closes with the help of our products, it’s amazing to me. I continue to be in awe of what we do in that regard every single day. When you talk with the researchers and scientists who come up with these innovations, they have a genuine passion and commitment that’s unbelievable.”
At this stage of her career, Shumpert’s responsibilities have extended beyond recruiting and interviewing potential new hires. Most of her attention now goes toward strategy planning with corporate leaders, which includes executing policies across all offices.
“We have colleagues in 80 countries, and we’re committed to providing cohesive environments and processes while respecting local laws and customs,” she notes.
But she also remains dedicated to aiding people with their professional development.
“In my role the greatest reward is when I provide guidance to someone and they really listen, then execute, and ultimately achieve what they desired and are happy because of that,” says Shumpert. “That’s really fulfilling.”
Check out careers at Acelity at jobs.acelity.com. Follow on social media @Acelity and facebook.com/acelityofficial.
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