March 7, 2018
Amber Logan, email@example.com 703-253-8262
‘True Role Model’ Honored by AAMI for Humanitarian Efforts
Robert Dickinson training technicians in Nairobi, Kenya
Robert Dickinson, an independent consultant and globe-trotting healthcare technology management (HTM) leader, has been selected to receive this year’s AAMI Foundation & ACCE’s Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award. This award—honoring the late Robert Morris, a longtime AAMI member, co-founder of the American College of Clinical Engineering, and humanitarian—recognizes an individual or organization that has applied healthcare technology to improving global human conditions.
“Rob has made over 60 humanitarian journeys to the developing world in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, supporting, training, advising, and motivating individuals to contribute to healthcare technology management in their environment. He is very deserving of the 2018 Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award,” said Tobey Clark, director of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Health Technology Management at The University of Vermont.
“This award literally means the world to him,” said Dickinson’s wife Cindy. “Receiving it is a validation of his life’s work. It has also been a gift to us as a family, as we’ve been spending many hours with him trawling through his photographs and talking about the incredible experiences he’s had throughout the world during more than 30 years in his career as a biomedical engineer.”
Dickinson, who was born in Zimbabwe but now lives in South Africa, has provided training on HTM, anesthesia, and critical care systems in more than two dozen countries, working with organizations such as the WHO, International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering, Engineering World Health, Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, Operation Smile, and Gradian Health System.
“What a privilege to have served those suffering from physical birth defects. Many feel so alone, lost, and hopeless, rejected and outcast by society and, in some places, even by those way closer to their family units,” Dickinson posted on Facebook alongside an Operation Smile video. “What a privilege to have, on three continents, worked with the finest of the finest teams of healthcare and allied professionals imaginable. Each and every team different, yet every mission team always becomes bonded family in an incredibly short time.”
Dickinson also has worked with local and international universities to teach and support their biomedical engineering and HTM students, international medical equipment companies to provide training and technical support for their products, and multilateral organizations and NGOs to undertake healthcare technology–related assignments within low-resource countries.
According to a colleague, Dickinson is a “pillar of professionalism and commitment … a true role model.”
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Rob Dickinson for almost nine years, and he has been a great source of inspiration to me,” said Ismael Cordero, a senior project officer for health devices at ECRI Institute. “What stands out the most about Rob is his unpretentious attitude and disposition to assist health practitioners in resource-scarce settings do more and better with what little they may have. Whether Rob is working with hospital administrators, physicians, nurses, engineers, biomedical equipment technicians, or any other hospital staff, he always treats them with the same level of professionalism and respect, and he lets them understand that they are a critical and indispensable member of the healthcare team. To Rob, doing what needs to be done comes naturally, and he is not willing to ever compromise quality and commitment. Bad roads, extreme weather, disease outbreaks, war zones―none of these things have ever stopped Rob from realizing his work objectives."
Another colleague was just as effusive in his praise.
“He always saw his primary mission as assisting those CE/HTM practitioners in resource-scarce settings to do more and better with what they had, and played a major role in building local capacity,” wrote Mladen Poluta, director of health technology for the Western Cape Department of Health in Cape Town, South Africa. “I have met and known many great/leading CE/HTM practitioners―including Bob Morris on a number of occasions and a number of the other award recipients―and I can truly say that Robert Dickinson has earned his place amongst these greats.”
In summing up his career, Dickinson said: “Everything I did was for those people who desperately needed help. I always gave my best, and the people I worked with were the nicest people I ever met in my life.”
The rest of the AAMI awards will be presented during a special ceremony at the AAMI 2018 Conference & Expo, which will take place June 1–4 in Long Beach, CA.
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.