AAMI’s board of directors has named Robert D. Jensen, a longtime executive in the healthcare industry, as the association’s third president and CEO.
“I am honored to be asked to serve as AAMI’s next president and CEO. Most of my professional life has been dedicated to the service of others, and this will be a capstone in my career,” said Jensen. “Throughout the process of working with the recruiter and the search committee, it was clear to me that AAMI is a high-quality organization with a culture of teamwork and collaboration, and a community of members that cares a lot about the organization and its mission.”
Jensen, a former U.S. Marine, has been with the MITRE Corporation since 2003. He currently serves as vice president and director of the CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare (CAMH), which is the nation's first federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) broadly focused on healthcare. He conceived of and established the MITRE Center for Transforming Health, dedicated to improving healthcare nationwide through systems thinking, advancing technology, and providing transformative services for government health-related organizations.
AAMI board chair Phil Cogdill, who also led the executive search committee, was enthusiastic about the search process and the final selection.
“We interviewed a number of truly extraordinary candidates, and I think that fact speaks to the respect and recognition that AAMI has earned in the healthcare technology world and in healthcare in general,” he said. “I’m confident that we’ve chosen the right person to build on our recent success and take us to new heights.”
The selection of Jensen, 57, comes 10 months after outgoing President and CEO Mary Logan, 62, announced her planned retirement and just ahead of AAMI’s 50th anniversary in 2017. Jensen is expected to officially start on Nov. 14. Logan will end her tenure with AAMI at the end of this year, meaning there will be a roughly one-month overlap during the transition. Logan will serve in a supporting role during that time to help with the onboarding responsibilities.
“Last fall, when I announced my intention to retire, it was important to me and the Board of Directors that we establish a process that would allow for the selection of a worthy and capable leader, and a smooth transition so that AAMI could continue its important work without missing a beat,” said Logan, who took the reins at AAMI eight years ago. “I think we have succeeded in that goal. I love AAMI’s mission and its members, and I feel confident that I will be leaving this incredible organization in good hands.”
In an email sent to AAMI staff on Friday, Logan and Cogdill noted Jensen's extensive experience and leadership, pointing out that he had been personally decorated five times during his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as an officer in data systems and logistics. "He is a fellow with HIMSS (Health Information Management and Systems Society) and an expert on health IT. He is also certified in healthcare information and management systems," they wrote.
On a more personal note, Logan and Cogdill noted that Jensen, his partner, Ellen Garrett, and their two shelter-rescue dogs, Derby and River, would relocate from their home in Ellicott City, MD to Virginia to have a more manageable commute."From our own personal experiences with Rob, we know you will find him to be personable and humble (in addition to being a talented leader), and he is very clearly dedicated to serving others and working in a team-oriented environment," Logan and Cogdill wrote.
The transition to a new leader comes at a pivotal moment in AAMI’s history. Healthcare technology is changing fast, placing new training and education demands on those who work within that realm, and challenging standards development organizations to keep up. There are more general trends that all nonprofit and professional associations face. Industry mergers impact membership, while new modes of communication and the growth of the Internet—which has opened up a raft of networking and resource-gathering opportunities—have forced all associations to redefine and demonstrate their value to members in new ways.
Amid these challenges, AAMI enjoys robust financial health and has succeeded in launching new initiatives, such as a series of high-profile summits with the Food and Drug Administration and the launch of AAMI University, and in setting new records, such as the attendance for its annual conference.
The upcoming 50th milestone year will mark a remarkable journey for AAMI. It has long been the preeminent standards development organization for healthcare technology, as well as a key resource for those professionals who work in that arena. In more recent times, AAMI’s portfolio and influence have grown. Under Logan’s leadership, AAMI has emerged as a respected convener in bringing together diverse stakeholders to tackle tough challenges at the intersection of technology and patient safety, such as clinical alarm management. Additionally, the AAMI Foundation has assumed a leading role in supporting research and initiatives to make the adoption of healthcare technology safer and more efficient. At the same time, the association has greatly expanded its education, training, and certification for industry professionals as well as those who work for healthcare delivery organizations. Its publications have won multiple national awards for their coverage of healthcare technology trends, challenges, and solutions.
“AAMI is a unique and unrivaled organization in that we bring a number of different voices to everything we do, including manufacturers, regulators, healthcare technology management professionals, academics, and clinicians,” said Cogdill, who is director of quality sterilization and microbiology at Medtronic. “It is that rich diversity that allows us to develop solutions that will last and advance the cause of safe and effective healthcare technology.”
Logan has vowed to remain engaged at AAMI until her last day and to work closely with her successor to ensure a smooth transition.
“I want my exit to reflect what I feel about AAMI—incredible respect for its work, love and affection for members and staff, and gratitude for the opportunities it has provided me,” Logan said.
Jensen said he is ready for the new challenge. “I look forward to getting started and having the chance to work alongside Mary while I learn the ropes of the organization,” he said.
A native Nebraskan, Jensen holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Doane College in Crete, Neb., and a master's degree in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.