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DCE Magazine

Instructor Q&A: Albert Rego, Ph.D.

Medical Product Development Instructor

Summer 2018

Q. Why did you decide to become an instructor?

A. I have been with the program since its inception several years ago. I was impressed with the number of medical product companies located in Southern California and I noted that there were professionals in the field who had little opportunity to learn about the industry unless they attended very expensive, commercial seminars or had a mentor available to help them along in their professional development.

I consider myself to be very fortunate in having at least two different mentors in my career, and I wanted to pay it forward by becoming a mentor to as many people as I could. There is no greater reward than receiving a “thank you” from someone who has gained expertise through my teachings.

Q. What's unique about your teaching style?

A. It is not easy to teach regulations, quality systems, and related subjects simply because by their nature, they tend to be very dry subjects in and of themselves. There are two different techniques that I employ in my teaching style:

I try to provide students with the big picture on the course that I am presenting, so that the complex subject is simplified and easier to understand. I am much more interested in clarifying the overall flow and relationship of dry regulatory items that are not well connected or flow very well as a whole. This approach allows students to get the “big picture” and understand regulatory interactions and the process flow at a high level, with the confidence of knowing where to go for details on a particular subject item (regulation, requirements, etc.).

I generally do not ask yes or no questions. My questions are open-ended questions in the “grey area” with no real right or wrong answer. This requires the student to think about the pros and cons of a discussion point. By virtue of this process, I believe they learn more because they had to think about the question.

Q. What's your favorite lesson to teach and why?

A. My favorite course to teach is “Medical Product Quality Systems.” The course starts out from a chronological perspective with the development and introduction of quality systems both internationally and domestically over several decades. Once this is presented, there is a need to show how all of these systems are interrelated and how they have finally evolved to the current “state-of-the-art” quality systems both domestically and internationally. The “aha moment” is when the one lesson ties all of the pieces together as one coherent picture of all of the known quality systems as they exist today. When this happens, I can see the light bulbs starting to flash on for the students as the picture coalesces, and they realize that the whole subject is not as complex as it seemed a few lessons ago.

Q. What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

A. I think that the most rewarding thing is when I meet a student in a corporate or business setting several quarters or years after having them in one of my courses. When I see them, they are so happy to see me, and I am so happy to see them as an old friend from the past. The fact that they are applying the skills that I taught them in their new or advanced position from when I remembered them in the past, tells me that I have a positive impact on these students, and these students have a positive impact on the rest of the world. This is the reward that I cherish most.

The chance meeting of these students happens so often that the reward keeps coming back to me over and over again. This continues to reinforce the reward of positive impact on students and the world, and is so self-replenishing and never ending.