Interview with Andrew Woodward, From Imaging to 3D Printing

3D Imaging Technologist, Advanced Medical Imaging Lab ( 3D Medical Printing/ Surgical Planning)

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Andrew has been working in medical imaging for 38 years and holds ARRT certifications in Radiography, Computed Tomography and Quality Management. After 30 years of teaching medical imaging, Andrew retired to join the Advanced Medical Imaging Lab (AMIL) at The University of North Carolina Medical Center in 2106. His experience in education, radiography, vascular interventional radiology, cardiac catheterization and computed tomography added a new perspective on how to expand the AMIL’s services.  In 2017, Andrew provided proof of concept 3D printed models to his superiors and suggested that they implement a Point of Care 3D printing program that would be an integral part the image post-processing the AMIL was currently performing. The idea was well received and he began the process of procuring software and 3D printers to start production of models for patient education and surgical planning. Currently, the AMIL utilizes Mimics inPrint™ for creating the model files and the following printers: three Ultimaker S5; one Ultimaker 3 Extended and a Form3.  Andrew has created models for complex pediatric spinal deformities; pediatric congenital heart defects, adult congenital heart disease, maxillofacial reconstruction and numerous orthopedic models for complex surgical cases. He is also involved in variety of research projects investigating the use of 3D printing of models for surgical training.   

Andrew will be a speaker for our upcoming virtual event focusing on point of care using 3D printing.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?

Andrew: I first encountered 3D printing while reading a medical journal and then again while my son was working on his chemical engineering degree. We were out computer-shopping on a weekend and he found a printer he wanted to buy and “play around with”. That was 6 years ago and we are both actively involved with 3D printing. My thoughts at that moment were this is cool and going to have a major impact on the delivery of care to patients.

Jenny: What inspired you to start your work in 3D printing?

Andrew: I have always sought out new opportunities as well as learning new skills. After 29 years of teaching medical imaging, I had an opportunity to get back to clinical work that would allow me to apply all of my skills; learn new skills and start a 3D printing program. 

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?

Andrew: Initial inspiration would be my son and my father. 

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work? 

Andrew: The physicians I interact with and the patient.

Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?

Andrew: Convincing others that 3D printing is not a fad but something that is here to stay and something that will continue to have a profound impact on the delivery of patient care. 

Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Andrew: Costs and regulations.

Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?

Andrew: Don’t be afraid to try something new and/or difficult. 

Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?

Andrew: Changing jobs, if you want to call it a risk.

Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3d printing?

Andrew: Motorcycle travel and being a Maker

Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?

Andrew: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry Adams

Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you?  =) 

Andrew: Helping patients!

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