For Immediate Release
August 2, 2017
Amber Bauer, 703-253-8262

Students’ Visions of Future Healthcare Technology Grounded in Personal Experiences

From a field of more than 200 entries, AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC) has selected three budding healthcare technology professionals as the winners of AAMI’s second annual high school essay contest. As part of this competition, students were asked to describe a healthcare technology of the future and how it would improve patient care.

“I’d like to congratulate the winners of this year’s high school essay contest,” said TMC Chair Steve Yelton, a healthcare technology management professor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. “As an educator, it’s inspiring to see young people take an interest in improving the future of healthcare technology—especially when they’ve been touched by personal experiences that contributed to their interest in the field.”

When evaluating the ideas submitted by students, members of the TMC were not considering whether they might be products in development at leading manufacturers. Rather, TMC members were assessing the creativity of the students.

Improving Communication for People with Autism

The TMC awarded top honors and a $500 gift card to Elma Kotapuri, who recently graduated from Danville Area Senior High School in Danville, PA. Kotapuri’s winning essay focused on a communication device with customizable software for people with autism.

“I have been actively involved in a cooperative education program working with autistic children at a primary school,” Kotapuri wrote in her essay. “Working with these kids has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the way they interact with their peers and teachers. If I have learned one thing through this experience, it is that each child is affected by autism in a different way.”

Based on this experience, Kotapuri said she wanted to develop a device that would help children with autism better process daily activities. The device also would allow teachers to create lesson plans that would teach the child a concept in a way he or she could most easily understand.

Kotapuri, who has wanted to be a clinical engineer since she was 5 years old, is preparing to start her freshman year at Wright State University in Dayton, OH, where she will be majoring in biomedical engineering. She hopes she will eventually play at least “a small role in making the world a safer, cleaner, more efficient, and happier place for people and future generations to live in.”

This award marks Kotapuri’s second turn in the AAMI spotlight. She made a name for herself when, at the age of 17, she attended the AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo.

Read Kotapuri’s essay.

Reducing the Time Needed to Diagnose Brain Injuries

Second place was awarded to Alliyah Rumbolt-Lemond, a rising senior at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, IL, who received a $300 gift card. Her essay described a handheld device that paramedics and other first responders could use to perform CAT scans and X-rays, cutting down the time required to diagnose strokes and other traumatic brain injuries.

The need for this device hit very close to home for Rumbolt-Lemond. “I can clearly remember when I witnessed a good family friend, Gerran, have a stroke not even 5 feet away from me,” she wrote in her essay. “After talking to my mother who is a registered nurse, I realized he just barely survived. It took the doctor almost 30 minutes to assess Gerran and get him a CAT scan, which is way too long considering you have about an hour to reverse the effects of a stroke.”

Read Rumbolt-Lemond’s essay.

Targeting Infectious Disease

Lilly McCormick, a rising sophomore at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, MD, received third prize and a $200 gift card. McCormick’s essay outlined an approach for killing disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, by targeting their DNA.

“If this could work, with futuristic scanning technology and a combination of other techniques, deadly bacteria and parasites could be a thing of the past,” she wrote.

Read McCormick’s essay.

Interested in Participating?

The next competition will open for entries this fall. Full rules and instructions for how to enter will be available on the AAMI website,

AAMI ( is a nonprofit organization founded in 1967. It is a diverse community of more than 8,000 healthcare technology professionals united by one important mission—supporting the healthcare community in the development, management, and use of safe and effective healthcare technology.