AAMI News June 2016

AAMI Honors Outstanding Contributions to Healthcare

Each year, AAMI recognizes leaders and innovators whose efforts have moved the healthcare technology industry forward. During a special reception on day two of the conference, the AAMI Awards Committee will honor an impressive lineup of healthcare technology experts, along with patient safety champions and young professionals, for their leadership, commitment, and contributions to the field.

Ary Goldberger
Roger Mark
  George Moody

The AAMI Foundation’s Laufman-Greatbatch Award

Ary L. Goldberger, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School; Roger G. Mark, MD, PhD, and George Moody from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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. Goldberger, Mark, and Moody were selected to receive this award for their work over the last 20 years to collect and provide access to “big data” through PhysioNet. This free collection of recorded physiologic signals and related open-source software is the outreach component of the Research Resource for Complex Physiologic Signals and is intended to stimulate current research and new investigations.

“We are honored and gratified to receive this recognition for PhysioNet,” Mark said. “We have long been committed to open sharing of research data because we know how its creative reuse by countless investigators around the world moves science forward for the ultimate benefit of all.”

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

Roy Morris

Roy G. Morris, CBET, director of biomedical engineering for the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF) in Memphis, TN

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 applied healthcare technology to improving global human conditions. This year the award will be given to Roy Morris (no relation to Robert Morris) for his eight years of service around the world. Morris has helped design and construct healthcare facilities, train technical staff, organize equipment donations, and install and repair equipment in countries such as Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Libya, and Iraq. He also was part of a 2010 earthquake disaster team in Haiti and organized a 2013 typhoon biomed response in the Philippines for Project HOPE, an international healthcare organization.

“ICHF is proud to have Roy as a member of our team, and the work he does is vital,” ICHF said on its website. “There have been many trips that would have been complete failures had it not been for Roy’s ability to keep us up and running in the OR, ICU, and Cath Lab.”

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

James Piepenbrink

James Piepenbrink, director of clinical engineering and the Clinical Alarm Task Force at Boston Medical Center in Boston, MA

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. Piepenbrink will be recognized for his commitment to combatting clinical alarm fatigue. At Boston Medical Center, Piepenbrink succeeded in reducing audible alarms from roughly 88,000 to 10,000 during a six-week pilot project by creating a multidisciplinary team and prioritizing the problem across the organization. More recently, Piepenbrink piloted a program that utilized mobile technology in a new single-room neonatal intensive care unit at Boston Medical Center to improve staff awareness and response to alarms. Initial results have shown a dramatic decrease in the unit’s noise level and exceptional staff satisfaction.

AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award

Stephen Grimes

Stephen L. Grimes, managing partner and principal consultant for Strategic Healthcare Technology Associates, LLC

This award, which honors individual excellence, achievement, and leadership in the field of healthcare technology management (HTM), will be presented to Grimes for his innovative practices in the field of clinical engineering and for the leadership he has provided to three major organizations associated with the HTM field: AAMI, ACCE, and HIMSS. He has been a pioneer in advancing the understanding of safety and risk management in the interface between medical devices and information technology systems. Grimes also has served as a mentor to many young HTM professionals and as a volunteer in developing countries.

“I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in this industry,” Grimes said. “I am passionate about education and making quality healthcare widely available. Working with so many great and dedicated colleagues, I feel I’ve been able to use the first passion to help contribute to achieving the second.”

AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s Patient Safety Award

Maria Cvach

Maria Cvach, DNP, RN, director of policy management and integration for Johns Hopkins Health System and a clinical safety specialist for the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality in Baltimore, MD

This award recognizes outstanding achievements by healthcare professionals who have made a significant advancement toward improving patient safety. This year’s award will be presented to Cvach for her longstanding efforts to improve the management and use of clinical alarms, thereby enhancing safety for patients and reducing the problem of alarm overload for staff. Her work at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in decreasing nonactionable alarms, reducing noise levels, and dealing with alarm fatigue has been used as a model by a number of other hospitals.

“I have had the great privilege to work with a spectacular multidisciplinary team at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and through networking with AAMI, who share my enthusiasm for alarm management and noise reduction projects. Without teamwork, we cannot achieve our goals. This award is for all the ‘patient safety champions’ who have touched my life,” Cvach said.

The Spirit of AAMI Award

Larry Hertzler

Larry Hertzler, MBA, CCE, vice president of technical operations at Aramark Healthcare Technologies in Charlotte, NC

Hertzler was selected to receive the Spirit of AAMI award in recognition of his outstanding volunteer contributions to the association for nearly 20 years. In nomination letters, Hertzler’s fellow committee members praised his dedication and leadership. According to them, Hertzler is the definition of an “active participant,” pouring his entire being into everything he does. They wrote that he is always willing to challenge the status quo and speak his mind with the intention of moving the group toward a resolution.

“Being an active AAMI volunteer throughout my entire career has provided me with invaluable opportunities to challenge ideas, be challenged on my ideas, learn through other leaders, and contribute to the industry as a whole. I am grateful that my work with this organization has allowed me to do and accomplish things I could not have imagined were possible,” Hertzler said.

AAMI & GE Healthcare’s BMET of the Year Award

Carlos Villafane

Carlos Villafañe, CBET, CET, biomedical equipment technician III at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, FL

This award is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) in recognition of his or her individual dedication, achievement, and excellence in the HTM field. According to his peers, Villafañe has shown exemplary technical aptitude for general and surgical biomedical equipment. He also contributes to the growth and development of the field by mentoring students, publishing student-oriented biomedical books, and giving presentations at local colleges and schools in Puerto Rico.

“As much as I appreciate this award and as grateful as I am for it, the greatest reward I’ve ever been given is the satisfaction of doing what I love and helping others learn and love this exciting field,” Villafañe said.

AAMI’s Young Professional Award

Jennifer DeFrancesco

Jennifer DeFrancesco, CCE, CHTM, chief biomedical engineer for the Indianapolis VA Medical Center and VISN 10

This award is presented to a professional, under the age of 35, with a history of exemplary accomplishments and a commitment to healthcare technology. DeFrancesco has only been in the field for six years but has already made a mark. At age 24, she became the youngest chief biomedical engineer in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system at one of its largest and most complex hospitals. At age 26, DeFrancesco became the youngest VISN biomedical engineering lead, with dual responsibilities at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center and VISN 11 (now VISN 10), which covered seven hospitals in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois.

“Jenn, who goes by ‘JD,’ has boundless energy and enthusiasm that spreads to everyone she meets,” said Barbara Christe, PhD, director of the healthcare engineering technology management program at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. “Her sincerity and dedication to detail is impressive. No matter what else is happening, you always get the feeling she is focused on you—your email, your needs, your conversation—and she will give you what you need—accurate information, unwavering support, and a truly caring connection.”