AAMI Foundation: Kilmer Scholarship & Grant Program Launched

March 1, 2020

Categories: AAMI News, Early Career, Health Technology Management, Individual Contributor, Sterilization, Sterilization Professionals

The AAMI Foundation has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to create the Kilmer Fund, which will award scholarships and research grants to students and professionals in the microbiological quality and sterility assurance community.

The new fund has already generated nearly $120,000 in contributions—about 60% of the $200,000 goal—paving the way for the program to award scholarships or grants for the first time later this year.

“The Kilmer Fund is part of the AAMI Foundation’s new mission to expand its focus on awarding scholarships, grants, and awards to deserving healthcare technology professionals,” said Steve Campbell, executive director of the AAMI Foundation and chief operating officer at AAMI. “Thanks to the support of so many generous contributors, we’re off to a good start. But we still have a fair amount to raise in order to launch the program,” he added.

Through the Kilmer Fund, up to three scholarship awards or research grants will be given annually through a selection process and committee.

The Kilmer Scholarship Award will provide academic assistance to individuals entering or continuing in the field of microbiological quality or sterility assurance. The scholarships can be applied to field-related undergraduate or graduate programs, including industrial microbiology, engineering (chemical, electrical, mechanical, or biomedical), physics, and pharmacy.

The Kilmer Research Grant (KRG) will provide funds to individuals or groups seeking to advance the science of microbiological quality or sterility assurance through collaborative research. KRG funds typically will be used to offset costs associated with securing materials, products, or services that are critical to the research.

The Kilmer Committee is being formed to develop the scholarship and grant criteria, which is expected to be finalized this spring. If all goes according to plan, the criteria will be publicized later this spring and the committee will select this year’s winners by the fall.

Origins of the Kilmer Fund

The Kilmer Fund is an offshoot of the Kilmer Conference series, which is a memorial honoring Fred Kilmer, director of Johnson & Johnson’s scientific laboratory from 1889 to 1934. The event is a premier global forum focused on sterility assurance and sterilization for invited professionals from industry, academia, government agencies, and healthcare delivery organizations. Johnson & Johnson held eight Kilmer Conferences from 1976 to 2003 before reviving the event in 2016.

AAMI also played a direct role in shaping the vision and content of the last Kilmer Conference program in 2019. AAMI President and CEO Rob Jensen serves on the Industrial Advisory Board, which helped develop the Kilmer Fund.

In 2016, Johnson & Johnson also donated to AAMI the Kilmer Conference proceedings, which has provided bedrock knowledge for many sterility assurance professionals. The proceedings are featured on the AAMI website.

A Creative Way to Contribute

AAMI member Byron J. Lambert, founder of Abbott’s Assurance of Sterility Task Force in Temecula, CA, is donating royalty payments from his book Assurance of Sterility for Sensitive Combination Products and Materials to the Kilmer Fund.

“The creation of the Kilmer Fund dovetailed perfectly with the publication of this book, which has the exact same objectives: to develop up-and-coming sterility assurance professionals with a broad view of the fields and the expertise required to develop next-generation products. As a leader in this space, I wanted the most effective way to promote both objectives,” Lambert said.

“I am very thankful for all the support we’ve received,” Campbell said. “Every dollar will help deserving students and researchers achieve their professional goals and advance the fields of microbiology and sterilization.”