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Yamashiro named Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year

ASU College of Health Solutions faculty member's innovative teaching approach gives diagnostics students real-world experience

Carl Yamashiro, an associate clinical professor at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, has been named the Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year by the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZ Bio) for his innovation and creativity in preparing the next generation of biomedical diagnostics professionals. 

Carl Yamashiro

In 2014, Yamashiro joined the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics, a partnership created by ASU President Michael Crow and College of Health Solutions Professor of Practice Mara Aspinall with Dublin City University in Ireland to offer the first Master of Science in biomedical diagnostics degree. This degree is designed to provide a more holistic understanding of biomedical diagnostics by joining the technology and science of diagnostics with a business and application approach.

Yamashiro’s extensive experience in the diagnostics industry — combined with his academic expertise — has been instrumental in developing an innovative degree program where students apply their diagnostics knowledge to real-world health challenges. Part of that industry-academia connection is the Applied Projects course, the degree’s culminating experience Yamashiro created that has partnered with 40 companies, organizations and institutions from Arizona, the U.S. and around the world to offer teams of students hands-on experience and the opportunity to build relationships with industry leaders. The students work to solve issues within these companies and organizations, putting into practice all the skills and knowledge they have gained from their biomedical diagnostics courses.

“Carl is the ultimate leader and innovator,” said Aspinall. “He was able to see the importance of diagnostics as an independent discipline and structure our program to train future industry leaders in an interesting and engaging way.”

Chris Yoo, CEO of Systems Imagination and adjunct faculty at the College of Health Solutions, has co-instructed the course with him and has witnessed Yamashiro’s commitment to his students.

“He consistently demonstrates outstanding leadership and genuine interest in teaching students about health care and life sciences, their potential careers in the industry, and how to learn key skills for embarking on and advancing their careers. Even in this COVID-19 era, he hasn’t missed a beat,” Yoo said. 

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the crucial role diagnostics plays in managing disease.

“Past, current and future developments in diagnostics are helping shape how we correctly identify the risk or presence of disease, and Carl’s ongoing work is preparing scientists, health care teams and industry executives to leverage the power of diagnostics to deliver better health solutions and help them understand the need for actionable health information,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of AZBio.

Yamashiro serves as the program director for the Master of Science in Biomedical Diagnostics program, a one-year online program that in the past six years has graduated almost 200 students, many of whom have advanced to leadership positions in the diagnostics industry. In addition, he has developed other programs using a novel approach that combines a competitive, accelerated learning format with academic and industry interests, including Early Detection of Cancer Summer School sessions at the University of Cambridge in 2019 and the Oregon Health and Science University in July 2020. 

“We are so pleased that Dr. Yamashiro has been recognized for his significant contributions to the field of bioscience,” said Deborah Helitzer, dean of the College of Health Solutions. “He is making a real and lasting difference with students who are solving real-world health challenges that advance our mission to improve the health of our communities and optimize population health.”

Learn more about the biomedical diagnostics degree program and Yamashiro’s work in AZBio’s AZBusiness magazine and in a video interview (beginning at 22:09) conducted as part of AZBio’s September 2020 AZBio Awards virtual ceremony.

Top photo: A prepandemic convocation gathering of Associate Clinical Professor Carl Yamashiro and a few of his students who graduated in 2019 with master’s degrees in biomedical diagnostics. Photo courtesy of the College of Health Solutions

Kelly Krause
krkrause@asu.edu