For Immediate Release
April 26, 2017
Contact
Amber Bauer, abauer@aami.org 703-253-8262

AAMI Names 2017 Award and Scholarship Winners



Eighteen individuals and five groups will be honored for their exceptional leadership and commitment to healthcare technology and patient safety during the AAMI 2017 Conference & Expo.

AAMI, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is made up of a diverse community of approximately 7,000 clinical and biomedical engineers and technicians, physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, educators, scientists, manufacturers, distributors, government regulators, and others with an interest in medical devices and technology.

Each year, the association recognizes leaders and innovators whose efforts have moved the industry forward, standards developers who have devoted themselves to the creation and revision of national and international standards, healthcare technology students who have demonstrated academic excellence, and experts who have submitted outstanding articles and papers to AAMI’s peer-reviewed journal, BI&T.

AAMI President Robert Jensen offered his congratulations to all of the award winners, adding that meeting them would be a personal highlight at the conference, which will take place June 9–12.

“It will be my honor to shake hands with these individuals at my first AAMI Annual Conference,” said Jensen, who joined the association this past November. “They represent the best and the brightest in healthcare technology, helping to make it safer and more effective. In doing so, they serve as professional role models. It’s our pleasure to recognize them and offer our thanks for all of the incredible work they have done.”

The winners will be formally recognized during a ceremony in Austin, TX, on Saturday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

AAMI Award Winners

The AAMI Foundation's Laufman-Greatbatch Award
The late Victoria Hitchins, research microbiologist for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Devices and Radiological Health

AAMI’s most prestigious award is named after two pioneers in the field—Harold Laufman, MD, and Wilson Greatbatch, PhD. It honors an individual or group that has made a unique and significant contribution to the advancement of healthcare technology and systems, service, patient care, or patient safety. This year’s award will be presented posthumously to Victoria Hitchins, who was killed in a car crash last summer. During her more than 35 years at the FDA, Hitchins helped to improve the regulation of medical devices—specifically in the areas of sterilization, reprocessing, and reuse—through her research. And as a longtime participant in AAMI's standards program, co-chair of the AAMI Sterilization Standards Committee, and leader of the U.S. delegation to ISO/TC 198, which focuses on the sterilization of healthcare products, Hitchins was a trailblazer for medical device standardization and harmonization worldwide.

The AAMI Foundation & ACCE's Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award
Adriana Velazquez Berumen, senior advisor on medical devices for the Innovation, Access, and Use Unit of the Essential Medicines and Health Products Department at the World Health Organization (WHO)

This award—honoring the late Robert Morris, a longtime AAMI member, co-founder of the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), and humanitarian—recognizes an individual or organization that has leveraged healthcare technology to improve global human conditions. This year’s winner, Adriana Velazquez Berumen, has spent her 30-year career developing and leading projects to promote clinical engineering education and professional development throughout the world so more people have access to safe, high-quality healthcare. She focuses on regions where resources and opportunities are limited. During her tenure at the WHO, Berumen created a global model for clinical engineering practice and established the first and second WHO Global Forums on Medical Devices.

The AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care's Clinical Solution Award
Regenstrief National Center for Medical Device Informatics (REMEDI) Infusion Pump Collaborative Project Team

This award honors a healthcare technology professional or group that has applied innovative clinical engineering practices or principles to solve a significant patient care problem or challenge facing a patient population, community, or group. The award this year goes to a group that has leveraged the power of data and collaboration to drive up compliance rates with infusion pump drug libraries. The REMEDI infusion pump collaboration is the only patient safety improvement program in the country that reaches across manufacturers’ smart pump technologies to create a network of hospitals willing to share data from their drug libraries and the lessons they’ve learned to improve clinician compliance with these libraries. Hospitals in the program have reported various rates in driving up compliance with one hospital noting a 25% increase within a span of three months. REMEDI is a division of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

The REMEDI team is led by Richard Zink and includes Daniel D. Degnan III from the Center for Medication Safety Advancement; Poching DeLaurentis and Kang-Yu Hsu from the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering; and James B. Graves, Damion A. Junk, Alissa J. Nedossekina, and Michael G. Zentner from the information technology department at Purdue University.

AAMI & Becton Dickinson's Patient Safety Award
Michael R. Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices

This award recognizes outstanding achievements by a healthcare professional who has made a significant advancement toward improving patient safety. This year’s award will be presented to Michael Cohen, a pharmacist who founded the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, based in Horsham, PA. Cohen was an early champion for protecting patients from accidental over-infusion of intravenous medications by promoting free-flow protection in the tubing lines. This has become an international standard for infusion systems. Cohen also was an early advocate for smart infusion pumps, barcode medication administration, automated dispensing cabinets, use of electronic monitoring for patients receiving opioids, and many other technologies that help improve medication safety.

AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award
Matthew F. Baretich, president of Baretich Engineering

This award, which honors individual excellence, achievement, and leadership in the healthcare technology management (HTM) field, will be presented to Matt Baretich for his leadership in developing practical approaches to meeting HTM challenges, including regulatory compliance and benchmarking. Baretich, who helped develop AAMI’s HTM Levels Guide and ACCE’s certification in clinical engineering (CCE) prep course, regularly contributes to AAMI and other industry publications to disseminate his expert advice. He also serves as a member of AAMI’s Reliability-Centered Maintenance Committee and the BI&T Editorial Board. He is the founder of his own consulting company based in Fort Collins, CO.

AAMI & GE Healthcare's BMET of the Year Award
Scott Hall, supervisory biomedical equipment support specialist for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Lexington VA Medical Center in Kentucky

This award is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) to recognize his or her dedication, achievement, and excellence in the HTM field. Scott Hall, who has been a certified BMET for more than 25 years, has led the biomedical engineering department at the Lexington VA for the past decade. During this time, he has supported front-line technicians, managed the medical equipment management plan and medical device protection program, and interfaced with stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Throughout his career, Hall has mentored young HTM professionals, encouraging their growth, and has prioritized his own continuing education.

AAMI's Young Professional Award
Priyanka Upendra, clinical engineering compliance manager for Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, UT

This award is presented to a healthcare technology professional under the age of 35 who has a history of exemplary accomplishments and a strong commitment to the field. This year’s winner, Priyanka Upendra, has assumed a major leadership role within the HTM community with regard to medical device cybersecurity. In the last year, she has led two cybersecurity workshops and presented at multiple events, including the AAMI 2017 Conference & Expo. Upendra also is a member of AAMI’s medical equipment management standards committee, a contributor to BI&T, and an incoming member of its Editorial Board. Colleagues hold up Upendra’s professionalism, intelligence, and hard-working nature as an example for other young professionals.

The Spirit of AAMI Award
Vickie Snyder, a consultant for the Veterans Health Administration SOARD project

Vickie Snyder has been selected to receive the Spirit of AAMI award in recognition of her outstanding volunteer contributions and her tireless encouragement of young HTM professionals. Snyder was one of the founding members of AAMI’s Technology Management Council. Additionally, she served on the AAMI Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014 and the AAMI Foundation’s Board of Directors from 2001 to 2015. Snyder is a vocal advocate for the benefits of connecting with colleagues through local HTM associations and through participation in AAMI, inspiring those she works with to get involved and further their careers.

AAMI HTM Association of the Year Award
Indiana Biomedical Society

This new award recognizes an HTM association that distinguishes itself through outstanding society operations and meetings, as well as a commitment to elevating the HTM profession at a local level. The first recipient of this honor, the Indiana Biomedical Society, promotes the education and development of its more than 300 members through bimonthly training sessions, quarterly meetings, and workshops, as well as its long-running annual conference. The society also is dedicated to the development of the field’s future leaders, offering scholarships and hosting career fairs for local students.

AAMI Standards Award Winners

Standards Developer Award

This award recognizes major contributions to the development or revision of a specific AAMI or international standard. This year’s recipients are:

  • Denny Treu, vice president and senior member, technical staff for NxStage Medical, Inc., for his dedicated service to the development of hemodialysis product standards and for his respected technical expertise, outstanding leadership, and exemplary professionalism.  
  • Charles O. Hancock, director of regulatory affairs for H&W Technology, for his more than 25 years of dedication to the development of standards related to instrument processing.
  • Anita Sawyer, manager of biological science and standards at BD (Becton Dickinson), for her more than 25 years of dedication, active participation, and leadership in the development and international communication of medical device biological safety standards.
  • Damien Berg, sterile processing manager at St Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, CO, and Richard Schule, director of clinical education at Steris Corporation, for their passion, dedication, and leadership in developing a quality systems standard for the processing of healthcare products.

AAMI Technical Committee Award

This award, which recognizes outstanding committee efforts to advance standards, will be presented to the Device Security Working Group. This committee was instrumental in the development of AAMI TIR57, Principles for medical device security—Risk management, which provides easily relatable and useable guidance for incorporating risk management into processes meant to improve the security of connected medical devices.

AAMI Foundation Scholarship Winners

The AAMI Foundation awards scholarships to students aspiring to become HTM professionals who demonstrate a record of academic excellence, technical aptitude, and a commitment to the field. This year’s winners are:

  • David Dunham, who is studying technology and management at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, OR.
  • Nehal Kapadia, who is earning a master’s degree in clinical engineering from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.
  • Rostislav Tesler, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in biomedical engineering technology at Penn State New Kensington.
  • Brendan Welch, who is studying medical device quality systems at St. Petersburg College in Florida.

This year, the AAMI Foundation established a new annual scholarship in partnership with the Health Systems Engineering Alliance to help support the adoption of a systems approach to healthcare technology. The first-ever recipient of this award is:

  • Andrea McAuliffe, who is enrolled in a dual degree program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor that combines a master’s of health services administration and a master’s of industrial and operations engineering.

BI&T Award Winners

The BI&T Editorial Board selects three “best of” articles published in AAMI’s peer-reviewed journal or its twice-yearly supplement Horizons each year. This year’s winning submissions are a microcosm of the big issues that are currently shaping healthcare technology.

Best Article

This honor was awarded to Shawn Jackman, the co-chair of AAMI’s Wireless Strategy Task Force and the founder and CEO of Clinical Mobility, Inc., for his article published in the fall 2016 issue of Horizons: “Dispelling Wireless Technology Myths and Developing a Roadmap for Success.” The article explores many of the unseen factors that “make wireless tick” and provides detailed guidance to help improve the state of wireless in healthcare.

Best Commentary

An essay that called for a practical and evidence-based approach to healthcare technology service and support caught the attention of the Editorial Board. "Reliability-Centered Maintenance: A Tool for Optimizing Medical Device Maintenance” was written by longtime HTM leader Malcolm Ridgway in collaboration with two other members of AAMI’s Reliability-Centered Maintenance Committee: Matthew Clark and Cheryl Bettinardi, both clinical engineers at Advocate Health in Downers Grove, IL. Their commentary was published in the November/December 2016 issue of BI&T.

Best Research Paper

This award was given to a group of nurses involved with the AAMI Foundation’s National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety for a paper published in the November/December 2016 issue of BI&T. In their paper, “Use of Monitor Watchers in Hospitals: Characteristics, Training, and Practices,” Marjorie Funk, a professor at the Yale University School of Nursing; Halley Ruppel, a PhD student at the Yale University School of Nursing; Nancy Blake, director of critical care services at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; and JoAnne Phillips, manager of quality and patient safety for Penn Homecare and Hospice Services, surveyed the use and potential impact of monitor watchers in hospitals. This is one of the few pieces of published research on the use of monitor watchers and their practices.


AAMI (www.aami.org) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1967. It is a diverse community of approximately 7,000 healthcare technology professionals united by one important mission—supporting the healthcare community in the development, management, and use of safe and effective healthcare technology.