AAMI Names 2021 Award Winners

By: Brian Stallard

March 12, 2021

A group of formally dressed people applaud an accomplishment.

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is proud to announce that deserving individuals and teams from the health technology community will be receiving an AAMI award or an AAMI Foundation award in 2021. Winners will receive a monetary prize, a plaque commemorating their achievements, and recognition at the 2021 AAMI Exchange, June 4–7.

Each year, AAMI recognizes health technology’s best and brightest for their leadership, dedication, and contributions to AAMI and their fields.

“This year is particularly special in that these winners have proven their dedication to health technology and patient safety in the face of the numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steve Campbell, acting president & CEO of AAMI and executive director of the AAMI Foundation. “It’s the honor of AAMI and the AAMI Foundation to celebrate these individuals and their achievements.”

The 2021 winners are:

  • The AAMI Foundation & ACCE's Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award: Antonio Hernandez, consultant on healthcare technology, Americas.
  • The AAMI Foundation's Laufman-Greatbatch: Dr. Jitendar Sharma, managing Director and CEO, AMTZ
  • The AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care Clinical Solution Award: Dr. Matthew Di Prima, Senior Materials Scientist, CDRH, FDA
  • The AAMI Foundation & TRIMEDX John D. Hughes Iconoclast Award: Carol Davis-Smith, Carol Davis-Smith & Associates. LLC
  • The Spirit of AAMI Award: Axel Wirth, Chief Security Strategist, MedCrypt Inc.
  • AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s Patient Safety Award: Christopher P. Bonafide, MD, MSCE, Sara B. DeMauro, MD MSCE, Melissa C. McLoone RN, BSN, James C. Won, PhD, Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • AAMI’s Young Professional Award: Elena Buckley, Chief Clinical Engineer, VA Boston Healthcare System and Bedford VAMC
  • AAMI & GE Healthcare’s BMET of the Year Award: Maggie Berkey, BMET Senior, CHI Health Good Samaritan
  • AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award: Mike Busdicker, System Director, Clinical Engineering, Intermountain Healthcare
  • AAMI’s HTM Association of the Year Award: Mexican Society of Biomedical Engineering (SOMIB)
  • AAMI Technical Committee Award: AAMI COVID-19 Response Team
  • Standards Developer Award:
    Ralph Basile, VP of Marketing and Regulatory Affairs, Healthmark Industries Company
    David Osborn, Senior Manager, Global Regulations and Standards, Philips
    Joan Spear, Ambassador for the US & Ca, Instrument Reprocessing Working Group (AKI)

More information about the AAMI Awards Program can be found at www.aami.org/awards.


Meet the 2021 AAMI Foundation Award winners:


The AAMI Foundation & ACCE’s Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award

Antonio Hernandez, consultant, Founding member and Board of Director’s member of the Global Health International Advisors (GHIA), Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas, and former Chair of the International Committee of the ACCE.

Antonio Hernandez sits in front of a whiteboard outlining HTM strategy.

This award—honoring the late Robert Morris, a longtime AAMI member, co-founder of ACCE, and humanitarian—recognizes an individual or organization that has leveraged healthcare technology to improve global human conditions. This year’s winner is Antonio Hernanzez, a former member of the World Health Organization’s Global Harmonization Task Force, who has dedicated his life to helping hospitals and health systems improve their infrastructure and technology management for the good or patients and staff alike.


Frank Painter, who received the 2020 Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award, lauded Hernandez for always putting others before himself. “Had Antonio focused on a worldly career, he would have been a wealthy and powerful man by now,” he said. “Instead, he’s spent his time helping others.”

Hernandez personally worked alongside Robert Morris, including in Mexico and Panema – the sites of Morris’ last international mission.

“I learned a lot from Bob and was inspired by his passion and commitment to facilitating access to health technology to underserved populations around the world, a mission that I followed throughout my professional life,” said Hernandez. “This award comes as a very pleasant surprise and I am grateful to my peers for recognizing the work I have been doing for most of my professional life."



The AAMI Foundation’s Laufman-Greatbatch Award

Dr. Jitendar Sharma, managing Director and CEO, Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ), Executive Director of Kalam Institute of Health Technology (KIHT), adjunct faculty at University of Adelaide, Australia, and program Director for Health Technology Assessment fellowships in India.

A photo portrait of Dr. Sharma.

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 to Dr. Jitendar Sharma, who helped advance health technology manufacturing in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dr. Sharma’s dedication to the ideal “health technology for all” pushed him to establish a new medical equipment manufacturing ecosystem in India dedicated to medical technology.  Through AMTZ, Dr. Sharma’s CoVID Medtech Manufacturing Development strategy has helped support startups and innovators; fast-track the creation of equipment critical for the COVID-19 pandemic, such as thermal scanners and medical textiles; and draft new safety norms and validation protocols for these essential technologies during an emergency.

“COVID-19’s call to action was to ‘fast track’ and ‘mass produce,’ and both were achieved under the Leadership of Dr JK Sharma, the Medtech Man of India,” said Rama Venugopal, the executive director of Value Added Corporate Services, Ltd. “Organizations like ours have watched from close quarter the round-the-clock efforts put in by AMTZ team in ensuring continuous supplies of affordable, quality, and safe PPEs to market.”



The AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care’s Clinical Solution Award

Dr. Matthew Di Prima, Senior Materials Scientist, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA

Photo portrait of Dr. Di Prima.

This award honors a healthcare technology professional or group that has applied innovative practices or principles to solve a significant patient care problem or challenge facing a patient population or community.


This year’s winner, Dr. Matthew Di Prima, was instrumental in the establishment of the NIH/VA/FDA 3D print exchange, which has enabled over 500,000 high-quality essential items, such as personal protective equipment, to be manufactured by anyone with 3D printer during the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This public health emergency has been incredibly challenging, and I think that entire public health community has really stepped up to meet the demands of this difficult time,” said Di Prima. “It's great to have the work that I, and by extension my team and others in the public health community, have performed be recognized in this way, and I would like to thank AAMI for honoring me with this award.”



The AAMI Foundation & TRIMEDX John D. Hughes Iconoclast Award

Carol Davis-Smith, Carol Davis-Smith & Associates. LLC

Photo portrait of Carol Davis-Smith.

This award was named in honor of former AAMI Board Member John D. Hughes, Jr., a healthcare technology management (HTM) leader known for his willingness to challenge the status quo. This year, the AAMI Foundation is recognizing Carol Davis-Smith, a thought leader who regularly pushes the boundaries of the HTM profession.


An “iconoclast” is often described as someone who tears down beliefs and institutions. However, Davis-Smith is not known by her colleagues as a destroyer, but rather a “rebuilder.”

“Carol has always been someone who questions established beliefs as she works to enhance their value by rebuilding their underpinnings,” said HTM thought leader Mathew Beretich, PhD.

Most recently, Davis-Smith teamed up with Beretich to revamp how CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) failure codes are done. Through AAMI, they convinced industry rivals and engineers to come together to standardize how hospital HTM departments utilize the failure code field. Davis-Smith is also well known for her work as a former VP for clinical technology for Kaiser Permanente, restructuring systems to encourage company-wide collaboration and information sharing.

“I am honored and humbled to have even been considered for an award created in honor of my friend and colleague, John Hughes. I imagine John saying something like, ‘Good job, now go do something useful!’” she joked. “I have a spot all picked out on my home office wall for the commemorative plaque so everyone can see it during our Zoom calls!”



Meet the 2021 AAMI Award Winners:


The Spirit of AAMI Award

Axel Wirth, Chief Security Strategist, MedCrypt Inc.

Photo portrait of Axel Wirth.

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an AAMI member in volunteer efforts within the association. Axel Wirth has been selected to receive the Spirit of AAMI Award for his history of unsolicited volunteering and support of AAMI endeavors over the last decade.


Wirth is best known as a generous font of knowledge and advice. He is the author of AAMI’s CyberInsights column, remains a regular contributor to AAMI publications AAMI News and BI&T, and has been a member of the BI&T Editorial Board since 2016. In 2019, he was honored in the inaugural class of AAMI Fellows and was recognized as a Fellow by the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) that same year. As a prominent expert on medical device cybersecurity, Wirth has helped further AAMI’s mission of advancing the safety and effectiveness of health technology through sharing information openly and effectively.

"I am humbled and honored to receive the Spirit of AAMI award and for being recognized among so many outstanding individuals. Being part of the AAMI has been an enriching experience that has enabled me to grow professionally and personally through the many professional connections I developed and new friends I made. I am thankful for being part of this great community," Wirth said.


AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s Patient Safety Award

Christopher Bonafide, MD, MSCE, Research Director for Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Director; Sara B. DeMauro, MD MSCE; Melissa C. McLoone RN, BSN; James C. Won, PhD; Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The team from PSLL huddles around a computer outside a server room.
This award recognizes outstanding achievements by healthcare technology professionals who have made a significant advancement toward improving patient safety. AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s 2021 Patient Safety Award will be presented to Christopher Bonafide, MD, MSCE, Director of the Patient Safety Learning Laboratory (PSLL), and his team of dedicated professionals.


PSLL leaders James Won, PhD, SaraDeMauro, MD, MSCE, and Melissa McLoone, RN, BSN, joined Bonafide in researching alarm fatigue within hospital settings. The PSLL team played a vital role in advancing the quality of patient monitoring, leading a groundbreaking redesign of alert systems for children in acute care wards at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These lessons are now being reapplied in the pediatric home-care setting, with a focus on re-engineering monitoring systems for parents and their children.

“Despite the myriad of challenges posed during the pandemic, our team continued working tirelessly to improve the safety of physiologic monitor systems for children and reduce alarm fatigue in the nurses and families caring for them,” said the four PSLL leaders. “Our successes would not have been possible without the incredible collaboration with the nurses and physicians on the front lines, the guidance from administrators who recognized the importance of our work within the organization, and the financial support of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.”



AAMI’s Young Professional Award

Elena Buckley, Chief Clinical Engineer, VA Boston Healthcare System and Bedford VAMC

Photo portrait of Elena Buckley.

This award is presented annually to a professional, under the age of 35, who exhibits exemplary professional accomplishments and a commitment to the healthcare profession. This year’s winner is Elana Buckley, a leader in her field who guides a team of over 30 healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals at the Veteran Affairs Boston Healthcare System.


Despite being young in years, Buckley is an experienced mentor, known for sharing advice with peers and entry-level HTM professionals alike. For the VA, she has served as a mentor for new chief clinical engineers and recently started a co-op program with a local community college to provide entry-level biomedical engineering technicians with crucial hands-on training. Buckley remains focused on improving training and continuous education for HTM professionals, offering her free time to speak at AAMI conferences, forums, and learning series.

“For the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to serve Veterans each day, ensuring they have access to safe and effective medical equipment at the VA Boston Healthcare System. This award gives validation that the daily challenges and changes the VA HTM team have worked so hard towards have not gone unnoticed,” said Buckley. “I owe a huge thank you to VA Boston Leadership and HTM staff locally, and VISN nationally, who have supported me, allowed me the opportunity to grow within the organization, and helped make this field so great to work for each day.”



AAMI & GE Healthcare's BMET of the Year Award

Maggie Berkey, BMET Senior, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Health network, Good Samaritan hospital

Photo portrait of Maggie Berkey.
This award is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) in recognition of their dedication, achievement, and excellence in the field of healthcare technology management (HTM). This year, AMMI and GE Healthcare are celebrating the accomplishments of Maggie Berkey, a senior BMET who has been called a spirited “change-maker” by colleagues and peers.


As a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, Berkey’s focus has been on improving career paths for HTM professionals, ensuring the right people get the right training at the right time. Berkey is known as an educator, both as an instructor at a local community college and as a mentor helping prospective HTM professionals realize their potential. Just this year, she worked with AAMI to design and implement a nationally recognized BMET Apprenticeship program. The program is designed to ensure entry-level BMETs get the hands-on training they need not only to start a new career, but to adapt with the rapidly changing healthcare technology field.

“Never, in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined being chosen as BMET of the Year when I entered the biomed workforce 11 years ago,” said Berkey. “Fresh out of BMET school, I had a rough resume, no ‘valuable’ experience, and struggled for months to find employment. I am forever grateful to Vickie Snyder for taking a risk and hiring me. She has always encouraged me to use my energy and passion to affect a positive change in our industry. I feel blessed beyond measure!”



AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award

Mike Busdicker, System Director, Clinical Engineering, Shared Services, Intermountain Healthcare

Photo portrait of Mike Busdicker.
This award recognizes individual excellence, achievement, and leadership in the healthcare technology management (HTM) profession. Mike Busdicker is receiving the 2021 HTM Leadership Award in celebration of his long and impressive career in HTM, both within the US military and then as a leader within the healthcare industry.


During his 27 years of military service, Busdicker worked as a Biomedical Technician, First Sergeant, and Human Resource Advisor, completed an operational deployment to Iraq, and achieved the highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant. During his time working in the health technology industry, Busdicker has volunteered his time as an active member of multiple industry organizations and teams, including the AAMI Technology Management Executive Committee and the AAMI Board of Directors. In addition to contributing to numerous HTM committees and task forces, Busdicker has recently begun working on two crucial projects with AAMI: developing modern best practices for HTM emergency management, and attracting new, passionate professionals to the field.

“It is humbling to be considered in the same category as current and past HTM leaders,” Busdicker said. “This prestigious award is a highlight of my career and provides some confidence that I might leave a positive impression in the HTM industry and make a difference in healthcare. There have been tremendous mentors in my 38 years as an HTM professional (you know who you are) and without them this would not have been possible. During this time, I have learned from mistakes, achieved success, and have had a desire to move the field forward. None of that would have been possible without the people who believed in me, great examples, and dedicated teams with a passion for the work being performed.”



AAMI’s HTM Association of the Year Award

Herberth Bravo Hernández, President, La Sociedad Mexicana de Ingeniería Biomédica (SOMIB)


This award recognizes an HTM Association that distinguishes itself during the course of the year through outstanding society operations and meetings as well as a commitment to elevating the healthcare technology management (HTM) profession at the local level.


This year’s winner, the Mexican Society of Biomedical Engineering (SOMIB) has served HTM students, BMETs, managers, and administrators for more than 43 years, promoting the field throughout Mexico and Latin America. It is touted as a “bridge” between prospective HTM professionals and healthcare organizations, a prolific educator through workshops and forums, and a reliable supporter of research initiatives.

“It is a great honor to receive this distinction from AAMI, an internationally recognized association committed to promoting and growing the healthcare technology management profession,” said SOMIB president Herberth Bravo Hernández. “This award is the result of the effort and dedication of a great team at SOMIB. I want to extend this recognition to each of them; as well as for all the HTMs and Biomedical Engineers in Mexico who have given their best effort, commitment, and dedication in this pandemic, as well as for those colleagues who have unfortunately lost their lives. It is a great pride for me to receive this recognition as president of the largest and oldest Society of Biomedical Engineers in Mexico; without a doubt, this entrusted responsibility will be a milestone in my professional life.”



AAMI Technical Committee Award

Julian M Goldman, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co-chair, AAMI Covid-19 Response Team
Sandy Weininger, Ph.D., CDRH, FDA, co-chair, AAMI Covid-19 Response Team

Photo portraits of Drs. Weininger and Goldman.

This is awarded to an AAMI technical committee to recognize outstanding committee efforts. This year’s recipient, the AAMI COVID-19 Response Team, is a particularly poignant example of how these committees serve as a guiding light for the greater healthcare technology community.


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published numerous emergency use authorizations for new medical device designs intended for emergency use. This created an opportunity to innovate for passionate engineers looking to help hospitals and their patients, but it also created something of a ‘wild west’ for medical device design.

That is why AAMI began recruiting experts from existing committees to create a multi-stakeholder task force, which AAMI called the COVID-19 Response Team. Engineers, regulators, industry representatives, researchers, and clinicians volunteered long hours to create a new suite of rapid response AAMI standards documents, called consensus reports (CRs). Seventeen CRs and related support documents have been written since the Response Team began their work. They serve as clearly written and freely available guidelines for innovators, providing best practices for the design, testing, and basic safety of ventilatory devices, hospital room remote controls, emergency resuscitator systems, and much more.

“We are not dictating medical practice,” said Response Team member Bob Kopotic, senior manager of clinical affairs for critical care at Edwards Lifesciences. “We’re working to make sure that a good clinician is not going to hurt somebody with a device that has been inappropriately designed.”

“In this extraordinary time, we saw an urgent need for a group of experts representing many facets of the healthcare sector to come together to provide much-sought technical guidance, advice, and problem-solving,” added co-chair Julian Goldman. “This group of problem-solvers had a far-reaching charge, ‘just do whatever it takes.’ And that’s what we have done.”



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:

Ralph Basile, Vice President of Marketing and Regulatory Affairs, Healthmark Industries Company, Inc.

Recognized for work resulting in TIR12:2020, Designing, testing, and labeling medical devices intended for processing by health care facilities: A guide for device manufacturers. This revamped document serves as an easy-to-understand reference document for manufacturers, ensuring instructions for use (IFUs) are clear for end-users, ensuring patient safety. This effort to standardize better IFUs directly resulted from the efforts of Basile and his colleagues to bring device manufacturers and frustrated health technology managers together, bridging a divide in information and understanding.

David Osborn, Senior Manager, Global Regulations and Standards, Philips

Recognized for work with the ISO TC121 /SC3 working group. David’s practical understanding of software, alarms, human factors, risk management, and much more have proved invaluable to the group and they work towards creating internationally recognized standards for medical devices. The scope of Osborn’s work tends to apply to “all medical devices.” Most recently, David’s efforts have turned towards COVID-19, helping the AAMI COVID-19 Response Team author several crucial consensus reports guiding the design and labeling of emergency use ventilators, resuscitators, and CPAP/BiPAP equipment.

Joan Spear, consultant, Ambassador for the United States and Canada, Instrument Reprocessing Working Group (AKI)

Recognized for work with several AAMI sterilization and device processing working groups. Having worked in both manufacturing and as a nurse, Spear is recognized as someone who can approach a problem clinically and scientifically. She has participated in many discussions regarding medical device sterilization standardization and proved a key contributor during the design of AAMI TIR12:2020. Spear is currently helping to author AAMI ST98, Cleaning validation of health care products -- Requirements for development and validation of a cleaning process for medical devices

AAMI Foundation's 2021 scholarship winners have also been named!
Find out who they are through AAMI News.