AAMI Announces 2016 Award Recipients

An impressive lineup of healthcare technology experts and innovators, along with patient safety champions, standards volunteers, young professionals, and students is set to receive an Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) award or scholarship this year at the association’s popular annual conference. These honors recognize each recipient’s leadership, commitment, and contributions to the association and to the healthcare technology community as a whole.

The winners will be formally recognized during a ceremony at the AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo in Tampa, Fla. on June 4, 2016. The conference will run June 3–6.

“We are delighted to be able to recognize the outstanding achievements of each of these individuals,” said AAMI president Mary Logan. “We had some phenomenal nominees this year, and the winners reflect the depth of knowledge, commitment, and passion that exists within the healthcare technology community. Because of their contributions to the development, management, and use of healthcare technology, they have helped improve the lives of patients throughout the world.”

The 2016 AAMI Award winners are:

The AAMI Foundation's Laufman-Greatbatch Award
Ary L. Goldberger, MD; Roger G. Mark, MD, PhD; and George Moody, founders of PhysioNet

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 the creation of PhysioNet. PhysioNet is a free collection of recorded physiologic signals and related open-source software intended to stimulate current research and new investigations.

The AAMI Foundation & ACCE's Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award
 Roy G. Morris, CBET, director of biomedical engineering for the International Children’s Heart Foundation 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 Ukraine, Honduras, Ecuador, 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.

The AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care's Clinical Solution Award
James Piepenbrink, director of clinical engineering and 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 by creating a multidisciplinary team and prioritizing the problem across the organization.

AAMI & Becton Dickinson's Patient Safety Award
Maria Cvach, DNP, RN, FAAN, 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 long-standing efforts to improve the use and management of clinical alarms, thereby enhancing safety for patients and reducing the problem of alarm overload for staff. Her work at Johns Hopkins in decreasing nonactionable alarms, reducing noise level, and dealing with alarm fatigue has been used as a model by other hospitals. Cvach serves as chair for the AAMI Foundation’s National Coalition for Alarm Management Safety and is an internationally recognized leader in advancing the quality of healthcare and patient safety.

AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award
Stephen L. Grimes, FACCE, FHIMSS, FAIMBE, 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 IT systems. Grimes has also served as a mentor to many young HTM professionals and as a volunteer in developing countries.

AAMI & GE Healthcare's BMET of the Year Award
Carlos Villafañe, CBET, CET, a biomedical equipment technician III at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, FL

This award is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) to recognize his or her individual dedication, achievement, and excellence in the HTM field. This year’s recipient has shown exemplary technical aptitude for general and surgical biomedical equipment, according to his peers. Villafañe, who is the immediate past-president of the Florida Biomedical Society (FBS) and president of the Bay Area Association of Medical Instrumentation, the local FBS Chapter in Tampa, FL, contributes to the growth and development of the field by mentoring students, publishing student-oriented biomedical books, and giving presentations at local colleges.

AAMI's Young Professional Award
Jennifer DeFrancesco, 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 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. DeFrancesco is a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, co-chair of the ACCE Education Committee, and a contributor to BI&T and TechNation.

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

Larry Hertzler has been selected to receive the Spirit of AAMI award in recognition of his outstanding volunteer contributions. Hertzler has been an active member and leader for numerous AAMI committees and boards for nearly 20 years. He currently chairs the AAMI Credentials Institute Board and is a member of the AAMI Strategic Planning Committee and the BI&T Editorial Board. Previously he chaired the AAMI Awards Committee, was a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council, and was vice chair of clinical engineering for the AAMI Board of Directors.

Standards Awards

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:
•Charles (Phil) Cogdill, senior director of sterilization and microbiology at Medtronic, for his work on AAMI’s sterilization committees
•John Hedley-Whyte, MD, David S. Sheridan Professor of anesthesia and respiratory therapy at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, for his contributions to anesthesia and respiratory standards
•Byron Lambert, PhD, MAR, senior associate fellow, sterilization science at Abbott Vascular in Temecula, CA, for his work on AAMI’s sterilization committees
•Harold (Hal) Yeager, MS, RAC, global device safety officer at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis, IN, for his contributions as chair of ISO TC 84
•Michael Schmidt (posthumous), principal consultant and owner of Strategic Device Compliance Services in Cincinnati, OH, for his long-standing commitment to the IEC TC62D program

AAMI Technical Committee Award
 This award recognizes outstanding committee efforts to advance standards and will be presented to the Combination Products Committee. This committee exemplifies the capacity of AAMI to guide, and thereby advance, efficient and effective industry practice in an area that previously did not have established regulatory procedures.

AAMI Foundation Scholarship Winners

Each year, the AAMI Foundation awards scholarships to students aspiring to become HTM professionals who demonstrate a record of academic excellence, technical aptitude, and a commitment to the field. This year’s winners are:
•Sarah Brockway who is working toward a master’s of science in biomedical engineering at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT
•Victor Makwinja who is studying for a postgraduate diploma in healthcare technology management at the University of Cape Town in South Africa
•Jay McKinney who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in healthcare engineering technology management at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis in Indiana
•Conrad Robinson who is working toward an associate of applied science degree in biomedical equipment technology and medical imaging certificate at Texas State Technical College in Waco, TX
Source: AAMI