Allied Health Chair Lynelle Yutani on Camosun College: "There's a Special Heartbeat on Campus"
Lynelle Yutani's first job in Canada after moving to Victoria from Wyoming in 2010 was working with the BC Cancer Agency's mobile mammography screening program.
"It was a wonderful job. I travelled extensively throughout the BC Interior helping people," she says. "And it was a really great antidote for the health care system in the US, because most screenings in Canada are covered under our medial services plan and with that single payer system, every ounce of prevention saves on cure."
Yutani is a graduate of Weber State University in Utah where she earned Bachelor degrees in Nuclear Medicine and Advanced Radiography as well as a Master's of Radiologic Science. Her specialised post-diploma training also includes expertise in emergency medicine, computed tomography (CT), interventional breast ultrasound, and positron-emission tomography (PET).
Her career encompasses nearly 20 years in specialised healthcare in Canada and the U.S. For six years, she practiced as a midlevel physician extender in Wyoming.
In 2012, Yutani joined Camosun to teach in the newly created Medical Radiography Program. "The program here at Camosun was just starting up and it was really quite an exciting opportunity to be part of something that was being built," she says. "I had experience teaching and clinically supervising students in the US as well as running a hospital department, so it worked as a translation of skills into the academic environment."
Since then, Yutani has excelled at Camosun, finding a college that supports student learning excellence and faculty development. "The organization as a whole really fits well with my personal values and beliefs around student learning, providing services and service learning," she says. "That's something that I appreciate about Camosun college is that level of welcomeness, openness and understanding so that everyone benefits."
Recently Yutani served on the design team for the college's new Centre for Health and Wellness. "It's been a fantastic experience," she says. "We travelled across the country and toured highly regard health centres and we tried to imagine what our programs would do with these unique spaces, and then translate that learning into our vision for our new centre for health and wellness."
She explains the philosophy that underpinned the team's approach to design for the new centre. "We wanted a collaborative atmosphere, that honoured the land that we are working and learning on, so that involved careful consideration of how we would incorporate reconciliation into the spaces and overall design," she says. "And we wanted to create a building that can foster deeper relationships between individual disciplines for our students, with simulation and interdisciplinary and inter-professional activities, all towards the goal of creating more patient-centred practitioners of more health disciplines."
Yutani believes that Camosun's new health centre will serve as a regional driver of growth and innovation in the health and human services sector, preparing students to successfully navigate a healthcare field in transition. "The level of growth and development in technology-enhanced services in health care is happening so much faster than education can currently keep up," she says. "The new centre is cutting edge and it positions us as a leader, so that we are ahead of the curve. I'm really excited for the opportunity for the majority of our health and human service programs to be ‘next door neighbours' so that working together in a single space will simulate that real-world hospital or a fast-paced collaborative clinic type environment."
Over her wide-ranging career, Yutani has developed a strong personal philosophy to health care. "When you're a practitioner, every patient or client that you serve, your goal is to positively impact their experience. I see teaching and the work we do at Camosun as an extension of that," she says. "We train students to have a positive impact, so as an educator, our reach is greater and as an organization, our ability to positively impact our community is tremendous."
As Camosun evolves to meet the future needs of students and society, Yutani believes that innovation and successful growth is fuelled by the college's positive core values. "There's a special heartbeat on campus that is different from anywhere or anything that I've ever experienced and that has to do with the deep level of caring and connection Camosun has to students and to supporting their learning," she says. "It's evident from when you first arrive here and it runs through everything that we do as a college community."