This year will mark the launch of a major new initiative at AAMI, one that promises to help professionals in the medical device industry and healthcare technology advance their careers. Four years in the making, AAMI University is set to “open its doors” this June.
The university is designed to serve as the go-to training center for medical device and healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals. Its programs will consist of a mix of face-to-face trainings, webinars, and online offerings, and students will have the opportunity to earn certificates indicating they have specific knowledge and skills for certain areas. A certificate for quality engineers will be the first one offered.
“There are many great education offerings that we want to make easier for our members to find,” says Deborah Reuter, AAMI’s senior vice president of education. “AAMI University will be the ‘go-to’ learning place that makes it easy for busy professionals to keep current with industry issues.”
AAMI long has served as a resource for industry training and is showing its continued commitment by launching seven new courses through AAMI University this year alone. These programs are designed for the busy professional, as students can access sessions on demand, reducing the need for travel.
The idea for AAMI University developed from the 2010 Faculty Meet up, which was convened to develop a long-term strategy for educational offerings. Over the course of 2011, the outline and goals of AAMI University began to take shape, with stakeholders developing five key concepts:
- Having a global view of medical device quality systems and regulatory compliance.
- Creating a blended learning environment by offering both face-to-face courses and e-learning to allow easy access to training.
- Allowing individuals to take one course or a certificate program consisting of a combination of courses and webinars in a specific area of study.
- Offering certification as a professional designation. Professionals may attain this designation by sitting for an exam.
- Serving as a resource for training in the medical device manufacturing community.
“While the initial initiatives were industry-focused, it was clear the same goals applied to the HTM community as well,” says Reuter. “Both industry and HTM professionals will see AAMI University expand offerings and provide high-quality training,” she added.
AAMI University will offer a central location to access curriculum at http://university.aami.org, view online programming, and allow students to manage their records. Students can log in to the learning management system to see what courses they’ve taken, and companies will be able to access records of training received by employees.
The online courses are organized into different modules, allowing students to concentrate on specific areas of training. Sessions will consist of lectures, quizzes, and interactive exercises to engage the user and build community. Instructors for new industry offerings were selected after completing of AAMI’s rigorous “Train-the-Trainer” program that assessed their knowledge and presentation skills.
Ultimately, AAMI University will serve as the repository for webinar recordings, replacing the currently available CD option. Interested parties will have the ability to buy and stream webinars on their computers. In addition, AAMI intends to stream popular sessions from its Annual Conference & Expo so that students can access them after the event.
Tammy Pelnik, president of The St. Vrain Group and an AAMI board member, says AAMI University will have a lot to offer manufacturers and individual students alike. “From the manufacturers’ end, this will be the ultimate source of learning options for quality assurance, engineering, and management professionals, as well as specialists focused on particular aspects of product design and manufacturing, such as software development or process validation,” Pelnik said.
For HTM professionals, the courses will help them learn more about managing and maintaining the medical equipment they handle on a daily basis, she added.
Pelnik, who was a driving force behind the creation of AAMI University, said that the curricula and coursework will be reviewed regularly. “AAMI University will have an ongoing effort to ensure that best practices discussed in each course offering reflect current thinking. Using a broad faculty with direct experience helps to keep materials fresh as well. In addition, because AAMI is on the leading edge of emerging standards, courses will benefit from the breadth of experience that standards development provides,” she adds.
Those interested in learning more will have an opportunity to check out AAMI University at the S3 Challenge in March and the AAMI 2014 Conference & Expo just before its official roll out on June 16.