Using Innovative Technology to Thrive Globally During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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My name is Trei King. I was born and raised in Pell City, Alabama, where I still live on our family’s land. I am currently the Director of Neurophysiology at Children’s of Alabama (COA) in Birmingham, Alabama. I manage our labs (EEG, EMU, IOM, NCV, and EP) within the department and fill in wherever needed to provide quality patient care. COA has been one of the most rewarding places I have worked since I started working in this profession 24 years ago.

I worked on my undergraduate degree in software engineering, while spending a lot of time learning as many languages as I could. When the first Neurodiagnostic school, taught by Sandra Olson, opened in Alabama, I had a new game plan. My father, who works in radiology, discovered the program and thought it was a great opportunity for me to pay for my education. Surely enough, Neurodiagnostics opened my life up to a whole new world that would eventually become my career. It didn’t take me very long to fall in love with the field of Neurophysiology and find it a fulfilling career.

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As the Director of Neurophysiology at COA, I am proud of our robust global outreach initiatives. COA sponsors us to travel to Vietnam and help develop Neurophysiology programs in its communities. We have been able to help start IOM and Epilepsy Surgery programs in multiple hospitals in Vietnam. When COVID-19 hit, it directly impacted how we executed our international outreach. We have not been able to travel and work with our colleagues in person. However, obstacles have a way of causing us to think creatively to solve problems.

trei king awarded boss of the year in 2020
Trei King

To overcome the challenges of COVID-19, we used immersive technologies to work with our colleagues in Vietnam virtually. These online tools made us feel as though we are in the operating room with them. It’s not quite a full-dive virtual reality, but we were able to provide the support that otherwise would not have been possible. There is about a 12-hour difference in time with Vietnam, so we worked at night to help our colleagues with their cases. Most of the hospitals are already near the point of being independent and only needed us to help with new surgeries and more advanced modalities. While COVID-19 presented us with unprecedented challenges, it also gifted us a more robust way of working with our partners in Vietnam.

COVID-19 has taught us many lessons, and in many ways, brought out what is so great about Neurodiagnostics. When we have obstacles, we find meaningful ways to continue to help and advance our field. I have been very impressed with my colleagues at COA and in ASET. We have put the needs of our patients ahead of our own and worked together to figure out ways to provide the patient care they need. This is why I find our field and those in our field so amazing.

Author: Trei King BA, R EEG T, CNIM, Director of Neurophysiology, Children’s of Alabama

This guest blog is written as part of ASET’s Neurodiagnostic Week story series that highlights the experience of Neurodiagnostic technologists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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