AAMI News January 2020

Recruiting the Next Generation with ‘HTM in a Box’

Oakmont Elementary School
Douglas Redwine teaches fifth graders at Oakmont Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX, about the benefits of a career in Healthcare Technology Management. The students are part of the Clayton Youth Enrichment afterschool program for the Crowley Independent School District.

With fewer qualified candidates in the hiring pool and an aging workforce, recruiting new healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals is more important than ever. To make promoting HTM easier, AAMI created “HTM in a Box,” a free online presentation to inform students and the public about career opportunities in HTM.

HTM in a Box contains three presentation modules that are tailored to specific age groups: middle school, high school, and adults. “It’s important to get the word out because we need to increase the HTM personnel pipeline. HTM in a Box helps users do that by giving them a resource with a standard and strong message about the field,” said Danielle McGeary, vice president of HTM at AAMI, who spearheaded the project with the Technology Management Council and demonstrated the resource at HTM events around the country.

AAMI News talked with a few members about their experiences using HTM in a Box.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

Joe Deater, adjunct instructor at Northwestern Michigan College and BMET III at Munson Healthcare in Traverse City, MI, recently used the middle school module of HTM in a Box during a career day for eighth graders organized by a local middle school.

“I wanted to use HTM in a Box for a more engaging presentation, not just me talking about my job,” Deater said. “Visuals always have a bigger impact than words—especially with younger students.”

Deater gave five 25-minute presentations to groups of 15 to 20 students during the event, during which students asked an impressive number of questions.

“Even though they were only in eighth grade, the students were really interested in the practical aspects of the job. They asked questions about pay, benefits, training requirements, and work options,” he said. “This is a great starting point for an HTM outreach presentation. The content helps students understand what HTM is and inspires them to come up with great questions about working in the field.”

Who Has Time for PowerPoint?

Douglas Redwine is the central region HTM manager for Dallas and Fort Worth at Texas Health Resources. In addition to his full-time job, he teaches after-school STEM classes, where he talks about careers in HTM several times a week at different schools in the area.

Redwine focuses his extracurricular classes on practical and fun applications of STEM to make science and engineering more approachable and exciting for students, including creating smartphone apps, making drones, and discussing the physics behind building and flying kites. When Redwine found out about HTM in a Box, he immediately put it to use.

“Using HTM in a Box as an outreach tool is much easier than creating my own PowerPoint presentations for each talk. It saves me so much time,” he said.

Redwine drew from the HTM in a Box college module to speak with his high school students about STEM and careers in HTM because it contained more information about employment opportunities, which is what they were asking for. He presented the high school module to sixth and eighth graders in his Young Men’s Leadership Academy.

“I knew they’d be receptive to the content, and the format helped me to share information about my profession and encourage dialog during and after the presentation,” Redwine said.

For others who want to reach out to similar groups of students, Redwine recommends starting with the presentation talking points because they help direct the discussion. He also urges his colleagues to share real experiences from the field in order to help students get a good understanding of what an HTM
professional does.

Trisa Workman and John Bowser of OhioHealth in Marion, OH, used HTM in a Box to engage with students at a local job fair.

The Value of Interactivity

Trisa Workman, HTM supervisor of clinical engineering at OhioHealth in Marion, OH, and board member of the Healthcare Technology Management Association of Ohio, used HTM in a Box like an interactive brochure during a college job fair. Rather than presenting, she used HTM in a Box as a visual tool to
guide her conversations with Marion Technical College students interested in learning more about HTM. Her goal at the career fair was to educate students about the kinds of employment opportunities they could have in HTM after college.

“Being able to pick up the tablet with the presentation already loaded on it allowed me to quickly access helpful visuals, videos, and statistics for students with specific or very general questions,” Workman said. “I’ve found that most students really don’t think about the healthcare field beyond patient care. HTM in a Box gives a lot of information in a quick and precise way, which was perfect for delivering my message.”

For those also interested in promoting HTM at job fairs, Workman recommends bringing a colleague, as having an extra person ensured that no one approaching the booth would be ignored. She also added that the extra person can provide information about a different HTM specialty or perspective.

Get Your Students Involved in Outreach

James Linton, professor of biomedical engineering at St. Clair College in Windsor, Canada, has been using HTM in a Box at outreach events since last September. Linton even got his biomed students involved by offering extra credit to go back to their high schools and talk about careers in HTM.

“That’s important because information coming from a member of the high school students’ community—as well as from someone around the students’ age—can feel more ‘real’ and engaging,” he said. For others who wish to use HTM in a Box for outreach, Linton advises them to contact marketing groups as well as guidance counselors and science teachers at high schools in their communities.

Linton said that while guidance counselors and science teachers are very interested in promoting higher education and careers in science and technology to their students, many do not know or understand what an HTM professional really does. “Some people think it’s a 9-to-5 bench job, and that’s just not true,” said Linton. “In fact, I was one of those students that signed up for a biomedical engineering program and had no idea what I was getting into.”

“It’s clear the old practice of building a biomed program and assuming students will come isn’t working,” Linton said. “HTM professionals wear multiple hats and there is a great deal of potential growth in the field. I hope that working with high schools and encouraging my students to do outreach will lead to more young students excited to pursue careers in HTM.”

Need More HTM Resources?

In addition to the presentation modules, the HTM in a Box webpage has links to other free resources that make it easier to promote HTM careers.  These include:

  • A list of HTM academic programs in the U.S. by state
  • A printable HTM career brochure
  • A document with tips and sample text for contacting schools
  • An orientation video for using HTM in a Box

To access HTM in a Box, visit www.aami.org/HTMinaBox