In our search for the most visionary education leaders, we met Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu, Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Healthcare Engineering; Adjunct Professor, School of Medicine, Texas Tech University; and Founding President, Healthcare Engineering Alliance Society (HEALS). Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has been leading the learning curve, fostering innovation, and breaking boundaries by bridging the gap between two very important fields: Engineering and Healthcare.
The unique specialty of engineering involved in all aspects of healthcare, as defined by Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu, is Healthcare Engineering. As one of the most visionary education leaders, Dr. Chyu has created a number of programs/platforms that help engineering students and young engineers succeed in the healthcare industry.
Among the programs/platforms he has created, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu is the founder of one of the world’s first graduate healthcare engineering degree programs. He built an innovative certification program aiming to help prepare engineering students and engineers worldwide for jobs in the healthcare industry. He works with medical doctors and industry leaders on strategies to better train engineering students for jobs in healthcare industry.
He recruited a group of physicians with engineering expertise to help university professors teach engineering students and direct research projects in healthcare. He also pioneered the first platform that assists engineers and engineering students to locate employment and internships in the healthcare industry, as well as a platform that assists healthcare industry firms in recruiting skilled engineers and engineering students.
Based on our research, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu is one of very few educators who have demonstrated a record of taking on the challenge to break the boundaries and make contributions with widespread, profound, and long-lasting impacts on a very important area outside their own specialty.
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu is a (or the) recognized pioneer in Healthcare Engineering, or even the “Father of Healthcare Engineering”. For his achievements in the field of Healthcare Engineering, Dr. Chyu was recognized by various magazines as one of the “Top 100 Innovators & Entrepreneurs” (cover story), “Best Inspiring Leaders of the Year”, “Innovation Excellence Award”, “Transformational Business Leaders of the Year” (cover story), “30 Most Inspiring Leaders to watch 2022”, “Most Visionary Education Leaders”, “Most Influential Leaders in Healthcare 2022” (cover story), “World’s Visionary Leaders Making a Difference – 2022” (cover story), among other honors. The Healthcare Engineering Alliance Society he founded was recognized as one of the “Most Influential Companies & Organizations”
“Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has been a pioneer in the field of healthcare engineering and was one of the early advocates for applying engineering practices to efforts to enhance the delivery of healthcare.”
- James P. Bagian, MD, PE, US National Academy of Medicine, US National Academy of Engineering, former NASA Astronaut
“Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu may have already secured a historical position in the development of healthcare engineering.”
- Fazle Hussain, Ph.D., US National Academy of Engineering, The World Academy of Science
Founding of HEALS
To close the gap between healthcare and Engineering, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu, driven by his passion and a knack to innovate, started his journey to prepare engineering students and engineers for jobs in healthcare and help healthcare professionals apply engineering to solve healthcare problems.
To achieve this vision, Dr.Ming-Chien Chyu founded the Healthcare Engineering Alliance Society (HEALS). He began HEALS as a platform that helped engineering students and budding engineers find successful roles in the healthcare industry, while also helping the healthcare industry recruit qualified engineers for their diverse technological needs.
He understood the healthcare industry’s multitude of needs in quality and quantity for qualified engineers hailing from diverse regions of expertise. However, the major issue was the little to nil presence of healthcare/biomedicine content in the engineering curriculum (especially in the undergraduate programs), except biomedical engineering. The healthcare industry in fact has many more roles for engineers from other specializations like chemical, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineers.
A pressing issue is that most engineering students are not familiar with the plenty of career opportunities in the healthcare industry. To bridge this gap, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu started a program inviting medical doctors with expertise in healthcare engineering and medical technology innovation, particularly those few MDs with engineering degrees, to deliver lectures to engineering students.
The major topics under the spotlight are healthcare issues and problems that engineering solutions can offer to improve patient care and outcomes, and to help transform the healthcare industry. What’s more is frequent, invigorating, and insightful guest lectures from engineering leaders in the healthcare industry, especially those working in and around the medical technology domain. Medical school professors who possess engineering degrees, and experts who can understand and equip these budding engineers in the most effective and qualified way possible, all became a part of HEALS.
While enabling and helping engineering students to prepare for career opportunities in the healthcare industry, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu developed an innovative certification program that covered healthcare engineering featuring “Cutting-Edge Courses Customized” (CeCoCu).
This program allows individuals the freedom to pick a topic, objective, and scope of learning based on their educational backgrounds, interest, career goals, and job opportunities in the market. This certification program not only helps engineering students to prepare for jobs in healthcare, but also enables engineers to transition from different industries to healthcare, and at the same time helps medical professionals like physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, etc. to learn and apply engineering knowledge to their medical practice, to solve complex problems and leverage advanced engineering solutions.
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyuworks with healthcare engineering professionals and industry leaders on strategies to better train and equip engineering students for healthcare jobs, and help university professors and administrators improve their curricula.
Innovating the Learning Curve
The Healthcare Engineering Mentoring Program established by Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu is a platform where healthcare engineering professionals and leaders volunteer to share their knowledge, skills, and experience to help engineering students prepare for occupations in the healthcare/medical technology industry and to help young healthcare engineers thrive.
As a powerful tool for the invention and development of new medical devices for student and healthcare engineering professionals, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has built a comprehensive, user-friendly medical device platform (Medical Device Net) that provides systematic state-of-the-technology information for all medical devices (currently over 270,000), including the most recent, cleared/approved by FDA.
The Platform that Makes It All Happen
For years, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has helped medical doctors and other healthcare professionals who, based on their clinical experience and expertise, have developed inventions to the extent that need help from engineers, researchers, consultants, or companies to elevate to a level closer to FDA approval, manufacturing, and commercialization.
On the other hand, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has helped engineers, engineering professors/researchers and companies connect with clinicians to make sure their inventions/products can benefit patient outcomes. Based on such experience, he established a platform that allows healthcare professionals, engineers, researchers, inventors, consultants, entrepreneurs, and companies to collaborate on projects leading to the commercialization of new medical devices and technologies.
The core function of the platform is to compile a number of technical projects that address unmet needs in patient care, mostly originating from clinicians, engineers, and medical device/technology companies looking out for collaborations on the ideation, research, design, prototyping, testing, clinical trial, regulation compliance, FDA clearance/approval, manufacture, capital funding, etc.
The platform also provides excellent learning opportunities for engineering students with hands-on experience working on real-world healthcare projects alongside clinicians, engineers, and companies.
Bridging the Gap between Engineering and Healthcare
It is always a daunting task to find the right platform to publish results, especially for engineering researchers, aspirants, and students conducting research in the healthcare field. As in traditional engineering journals, their papers may face rejection owing to too much healthcare contents and a lack of qualified engineering review panels. The same goes when they wish to publish their papers in healthcare/biomedical journals. And the same issues are faced by healthcare professionals trying to publish their engineering research.
To deal with such a trivial yet integral issue, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has founded and served as the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Healthcare Engineering. This journal is one of the first to publish scientific articles covering the unique intersection of healthcare and engineering. The journal also promotes collaborative research involving healthcare and engineering researchers, strongly focusing on the direct impact on patient outcomes.
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu has also introduced the Healthcare Engineering Online Communities, a platform uniting healthcare and engineering communities, to provide updated and latest information on more than 500 topics from artificial intelligence to 3D printing for surgery, engineering for cancer diagnosis, nanomedicine, and many more.
The Initial Journey
During the initial years when Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu talked and expressed his thoughts and ideas towards bridging the gap between healthcare and engineering, almost everyone showed interest and belief in it, but very few took action and committed to working together to make a difference.
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu can easily be amongst the first to take charge of bridging the gap between the two seemingly distant fields and also approach hundreds of experts individually that belong in the intersection of healthcare and engineering, to ideate, create, and execute solutions. “It was a difficult journey from ‘not sure about what I am doing’ to creating wonderful and unexplored connections with more and more people, sharing the same passion, and helping students and people with various needs while creating synergy between healthcare and engineering”, Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu adds.
We now live in a world where engineering plays an increasingly crucial role in equipping the healthcare industry with modern, intelligent, and revolutionary solutions. There have been many advancements in the healthcare field through innovative breakthroughs in the engineering field.
But when Dr. Chyu started his journey, he faced challenges to define healthcare engineering and what it holds for students, colleagues, university administrators, and in real-world applications. Dr. Chyu, leading 40 expert co-authors and supported by more than 280 reviewers worldwide, first defined Healthcare Engineering in a milestone whitepaper and on the current Wikipedia profile. His definition and contributions continue to serve as the cornerstone for developing this unique and ground-breaking sector.
Building the Team and Network
With the vision and mission that he set out with, Dr. Chyu had to face challenges during the initial phase of building his network and team of expert personnel working alongside the shores of healthcare and engineering.
He made efforts to look for extremely skilled and scarcely available interdisciplinary professionals like medical doctors with expertise in Healthcare Engineering, Medical Technology innovation, particularly those MDs with engineering degrees, owning patents, or working for/in the healthcare industry. Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu also searched for engineering leaders in the healthcare industry and medical school professors with degrees in engineering.
With a clear vision, open mind, and innovative ideas, Dr.Ming-Chien Chyu approached and communicated with these experts, understanding the difference in opinions, and a plethora of viewpoints, and respecting each individual’s ideologies, learnings, and views. As his society grows, today, he not only communicates with members/followers of his society but also reaches out to unacquainted people to generate more ideas on how he can better innovate Healthcare Engineering.
“A great idea is usually generated after talking with multiple individuals, particularly those professionals on the frontline of patient care and medical technology development.”, Dr. v adds.
Growing Leadership and Expertise
Dr. Chyu feels that many factors have helped him reach where he is today, and some of the most important ones are constant communication and learning from different experts who can provide invaluable advice and thought-provoking ideas. “As an engineer, I enjoy every dialog with a medical doctor or any other healthcare professionals”, he says.
He believes that the students, engineers, and healthcare professionals seeking help have pushed him to always keep up with the latest in trends and technology, and thus continue to grow and evolve, considering that the field of Healthcare Engineering progresses so rapidly.
Message to the Education Leaders
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu is a university professor, dedicated to teaching and research. But despite his packed schedule, Dr. Chyu puts extra effort into creating opportunities to enable and help people, not only confined to the university campus but also at a national and even global level.
He encourages university professors, particularly senior professors with tenure, to be keen in identifying the needs of the society or community, be judicious in defining the niche and the scope, and be bold and passionate about taking action to provide leadership that makes a difference, while helping others achieve their goals.
He believes there are always some issues in the society and academic communities that need to be addressed by organized expertise, and senior professors with tenure are often most qualified, appropriate and socially responsible for undertaking such tasks, but his advice is to be prepared for a lonesome, demanding, treacherous and unpredictable journey that may take more than a passion to move forward.
“Aim high and dream big; one day you may be recognized for your historical achievements” – Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu, Professor and Founding President, Healthcare Engineering Alliance Society
Motivation to Keep Advancing
Dr. Ming-Chien Chyu feels that the key to his motivation resides in coming up with new ideas to bridge the complex yet intriguing gap between healthcare and engineering. He feels that preparing engineering students and engineers for jobs in the healthcare industry and at the same time helping healthcare professionals apply engineering to solve healthcare problems not only inspires him to learn more but also creates more opportunities for himself and others.
And when he finds a new or unmet need or gap while helping professionals, his motivation towards his vision goes a notch higher, pushing him to strive harder and to help more people develop innovative approaches and platforms to address those issues.