AAMI News July 2018

One on One Steve Yelton

Steve Yelton
is a professor emeritus of healthcare technology management at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Ohio. In addition, he is chair-elect of the AAMI Board of Directors, chair of AAMI’s Healthcare Technology Accreditation Committee and the AAMI Foundation Board of Directors, past chair of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, and a member of AAMI’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew I wanted to do something creative. I had a neighbor who was an electronics professor, and I was always designing circuits and working on projects with him. That fueled my creative fire and allowed me to do something I thought was fun. I enjoyed art but didn’t think I could support myself doing that, so I ended up going to college to study electronics. I earned an associate degree, and then I went on to complete my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Q: What do you do in your current position?

I recently retired from my full-time position at Cincinnati State and was awarded “professor emeritus” status. I agreed to continue teaching the healthcare technology management (HTM) classes at the college and was able to accept a position as a senior HTM engineer at The Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati. I realized that this gave me the time to get more involved with AAMI. I still love being involved in the HTM program at the college and am also able to actually work in the field that I enjoy so much. I work directly with the hospital’s HTM director and concentrate on strategic planning, succession and equipment planning, the future of HTM within the organization, and staff development. With this arrangement, I’m able to bring real-world experiences back to my students in the classroom.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is having the best of both worlds. I have a great time with the students and in the college environment, and I also work with a great group of people at the hospital. Many of my HTM colleagues at the hospital are my former graduates—they can’t seem to get away from me!

Q: What is the biggest challenge facing HTM education programs?

I feel the biggest challenge is the lack of students. Since the economy is so good, I feel it has been tougher to attract students. Also, the students we do attract generally don’t want to leave their home areas. College administrators are closely looking at expenses and want all programs to grow or at least be large enough to cover expenses. The difficult problem, at least in our case, is that even if we could attract a larger number of new students, we couldn’t place them all in Cincinnati, and they don’t want to relocate upon graduation. This is true even though they could nearly be guaranteed a job if they did relocate to an area without a local HTM college program.

Q: What can be done to meet this challenge?

I feel we need more programs around the country. These programs would likely be small and therefore not too desirable to the college administration. I would like to have biomedical instrumentation course offerings online through AAMI University. These could be add-ons to local electronics or biomedical programs that could help defray some of the costs for local colleges. If the courses could be held mostly online and provide cooperative laboratory experiences through local hospitals, the costs to educational institutions could be manageable.

Q: As chair-elect of the AAMI Board, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m most looking forward to continuing to work with such an impressive and motivating group of volunteers and staff members. AAMI is continually involved with exciting projects that promote the safe and effective use of health technology and make a difference in people’s lives every day. AAMI is in the midst of some exciting changes and embarking on new initiatives that I think will significantly contribute to the improvement of health in the future.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy playing golf and traveling. My wife and I also enjoy attending sporting events, such as Ohio State football and FC Cincinnati soccer games, as well as movies and theater performances.

Q: What is something people might not know about you?

I qualified to play on the U.S. four-man team in the World Seniors Golf Federation championships at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA, the past two years and again this year.