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Q&A with Christine V. Emery, the new executive director for the AAMI Foundation

par John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | May 29, 2018

For disruption, I just kept thinking that there’s got to be some way to engage in the national and global conversations about what it means to stay healthy, what is needed to stay healthy. What I mean by the status quo of aging is sort of a sense of helplessness, a sense of faith. I just found it sad, disheartening and frustrating when I heard conversations like that around the world.

Did I think I needed to get into healthcare to disrupt this? No, I didn’t necessarily thing that. As I looked for the next opportunity that would perhaps allow me to do that, I began reading about non-profits and organizations similar to AARP, but smaller or doing something different, sometimes on the domestic front and sometimes on the global scale.

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HCB News: What interested you about working for the AAMI foundation?
CE: I was introduced to AAMI and had an opportunity to look at what they were working on. I was particularly interested in the technology aspect of it because I’m noticing that the use of technology in business as well as in healthcare has increased perhaps in some countries even more so than here, such as through the use of smartphones or using small, inexpensive devices that hook to computers for health communication.

Some bells just sort of went off and I thought, ‘Okay, this may be a good opportunity of beginning my disruption.’ Looking at what AAMI is doing, they’re using this as an inflection point to strengthen the role of the foundation and to establish hallmark programs and be better known for what it has been doing for 50+ years. It wants to be better known around the world.

In that sense, I feel I’m bringing my understanding of what’s going on in the world and satisfying that little thing that was needling around inside of me saying, “I need to get into this somehow. There has got to be some way to change this ‘that’s just the way life is’ sort of attitude toward aging and wellness.

HCB News: AAMI as an organization is dedicated to promoting the rights and education of health technology managers for effective production, assessment and uses of medical devices. How do you see yourself contributing to the support of HTMs?
CE: The foundation conducts some of the research that forms the work AAMI does. It’s also focused on disseminating the information and working with stakeholders that you could visualize in a concentric circle from the patient all the way to the outer sphere beyond government that includes the entire healthcare community environment.

The foundation crosses those different layers of stakeholders and engages all of them. With HTMs in particular, we’re looking for how to inform more people outside of the HTM community of the value of what an HTM does and engage those that are HTMs. Specifically, I know that one of my big tasks that I look forward to working on is being able to provide more scholarships for those that want to enter the field and awards for those that have done well in the field and to provide grants for those who want to conduct research in that field. We already do some, but I want to do more of that. There is a dwindling number of people in field and an increasing number of positions and needs for people in the field.

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