Get to Know the AAMI Standards Team: Hae Choe, director

Tell us a bit about yourself—where are you from, what did you go to school, etc?

I’ve lived in Northern Virginia area pretty much all my life. My family immigrated to this area in U.S. when I was in 5th grade so since that time, I have lived here. I also attended Virginia Tech and upon graduation, worked for a newspaper as a journalist. That led to a job in public relations in a medical association and a promotion to managing the organization’s foundation. Working in standards at AAMI was only supposed to be a temporary job since I had no idea or background in standards, but the mission and the work has kept me interested and invested in AAMI and in our standards program. It’s amazing to me that I still enjoy what I do.


When did you join AAMI?

I started working at AAMI in 1992, a couple of years after graduating from college.


What got you interested in standards work?

As stated before, I took this job mainly because it was in the medical field. I was young and thought that this would be a temporary step in trying to find my “real” career. However, working in standards has been thoroughly interesting for me. I love the collaborative nature of the job and working with people with many different perspectives, experiences, and knowledge. Some aspects are highly technical but over the years, I have at least learned some of the lingo. The best thing about working in medical/health standards is the mission of providing patient safety.


What kind of work are you doing in the department?

I work on both national and international standards development—mostly in the horizontal or general medical electrical equipment and devices, including software, as well as work on biological evaluation area. Interesting thing is that the two subject matters that are under my purview are the two areas that the FDA ASCA programs are first being tested on.


What’s something strange or interesting about working in standards?

That we can spend hours debating about if a statement should have “shall” or “should” in it or whether there should be a “the” or an “a.”


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to do anything! I like being active so usually I am not sitting around, but doing something with friends, exercising, or traveling… although COVID has restricted some activities.


What do you miss most about in-person standards meetings?

Standards work is at times, both political and social. Often, we would work on something during the meeting and during a conversation at coffee break, find solutions. Also, you build relationships which helps in meetings where there are a multitude of interests, expertise, experience, and points of view. Mostly I miss the international meetings where we can get work done in an allotted time, say three to five days, because with virtual meetings, we can only meet for a couple of hours at a time to accommodate everyone. This means that we are meeting for several weeks for a couple of hours two or three times a week to get the same amount of work done.


What’s your favorite quote?

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Least favorite?

Don’t have one.


If you were stuck on an island with only a compass, a volleyball, and one standards document of your choosing—which one is it?

Of course it would be the bible, the one I work with the most: IEC 60601-1, which has been adopted as ANSI/AAMI ES60601-1!