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Blog Feature

By: Kevin Asp on June 18th, 2015

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2015 AAST Literary Award Winner Chad Whittlef

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Chad Whittlef shares his thoughts on the changing landscape of educating sleep technologists

Each year we've recognized individual members for their professional excellence, service and commitment to the association and to the sleep technology profession. They have inspired us with their commitment and passion to educate and innovate our members. Congratulations to this year's winners, and a big thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for them!

As he received the AAST Literary award, Chad said his first thoughts went to those who motivated him endlessly: he wanted to thank his students.

"I have written for my students so am I grateful for the graduates, many of them here [at the 37th annual AAST meeting in Seattle], who now hold higher positions in the field of sleep technology," Chad said.

One example he gives of a former student who has become a shining star within the field, is AAST's new president Laura Linley, RPSGT, RST, CRTT.

Today Chad is the lead instructor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College's Polysomnographic Technology Program where he continues to train aspiring sleep technologists.

Throughout his career in sleep technology, Chad has been a prolific contributor in developing educational resources on sleep technology. He has helped write The Fundamentals of Sleep Technology, has written articles on sleepiness and has taught postgraduate courses at many annual meetings, just to name a few.

Chad's interest in researching circadian rhythms during his time at Harvard Medical School led him to pursue a career in sleep technology. 

"At that time in the lab, I was studying astronauts in space and fine tuning their circadian rhythms and so the field of sleep and circadian rhythms caught my eye 21 years ago and I have been doing this job for 24 years since," he said.

Of course, the sleep technology field has changed tremendously in the past 24 years. According to him, the quality and comprehensiveness of educational materials within the field has improved drastically.

"What's interesting right now is that the demand for sleep technologists in the Midwest has been incredible," Chad adds. "I have been getting more phone calls than ever and I think the challenge within AAST is to ensure that students and educators are aware of the amazing educational resources AAST offers today."

Chad said he looks forward to working with more students through the recently launched online course program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and he wants to continue to innovate the educational materials for sleep technologists.

How else can AAST improve its educational resources? Have you met an instructor who has changed your life as a sleep technologist?