AAMI Foundation has announced its list of scholarship and award winners for 2020. The honors, to “recognize health technology’s best and brightest for their leadership, dedication, and contributions to AAMI and their fields,” are scheduled to be awarded during the AAMI Exchange, June 12 to 15, in New Orleans.

“Together, these clinicians, healthcare technicians, engineers, standards volunteers, young professionals, and students are advancing the field of healthcare technology and improving patient outcomes,” says AAMI President and CEO Rob Jensen. “It’s the honor of AAMI and the AAMI Foundation to celebrate these individuals for their achievements and to thank them for inspiring us all to push harder for safe and effective health technology.”

This year’s winners are:

  • The AAMI Foundation’s Laufman-Greatbatch Award: Michael Scholla, DuPont Medical Packaging
  • The AAMI Foundation & ACCE’s Robert L. Morris Humanitarian Award: Frank Painter, University of Connecticut
  • The AAMI Foundation & Institute for Technology in Health Care Clinical Solution Award: Samuel Gurmu, University of Maryland Medical Center
  • The AAMI Foundation & TRIMEDX John D. Hughes Iconoclast Award: George Mills, Jones Lang & LaSalle
  • AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s Patient Safety Award:Michelle Jump, MedSec
  • AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award: Kurt Finke, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • AAMI & GE Healthcare’s BMET of the Year Award:Nicholas Grecco, Baycare Health, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital
  • AAMI’s Young Professional Award: Angela Bennett, TRIMEDX / Ascension Borgess Health
  • The Spirit of AAMI Award: Steven Baker, Oregon Health and Science University
  • AAMI’s HTM Association of the Year Award:New England Society of Clinical Engineering
  • Standards Developer Award: Daniel J. Cooke, Boston Scientific; Theodore Heise, MED Institute, and Dennis Jenke, Triad Solutions; and Changfu Wu, Food and Drug Administration
  • The AAMI–HSEA Health Systems Engineering Scholarship: Rima Viradia, Baystate Medical Center, University of Connecticut
  • AAMI Foundation Michael J. Miller Scholarship: Isha Arora, Cornell University; Mutegki Baguma, South Hills High School; Jacqueline Bertan, University of Connecticut; Taylor Dade, Columbia University; Shelby Johns, University of Connecticut; Jonathan Low, St. Petersburg College; Darian Napolean, Harvard University; Joseph Rowan, Texas State Technical College; Emily Sizemore, University of Connecticut; and Rudolph Wagner, Texas State Technical College

More information about the AAMI Awards Program can be found at www.aami.org/awards.

AAMI Award Winners

The AAMI Foundation’s Laufman-Greatbatch Award

Michael H. Scholla, PhD, retired global director, regulatory standards, at DuPont Medical Packaging in Elkton, Md.

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. This year’s award will be presented to Michael H. Scholla.

Scholla has made important contributions to the global development of state-of-the-art sterile packaging practices and to the protection of patients that rely on sterile medical devices. He served as a convener of ISO TC198/WG 7 and head of the U.S. delegation in international meetings of ISO TC198. He is well-known for his collaborative approach and ability to achieve consensus in standards development. Scholla is also recognized for his work promoting the adoption of ISO 11607, the internationally accepted standard for medical packaging—one of the best-known standards in the medical device industry.

Theirry Wagner, global director, Regulatory & Standards at DuPont, says: “I consider Scholla a true industry giant in his field. The way he led his group during his long tenure at DuPont is outstanding. There is nobody in the medical packaging industry that doesn’t know him for his great expertise, knowledge of the medical packaging industry, and memory for historic developments.”

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

Frank Painter, retired clinical engineering internship program director & adjunct professor, biomedical engineering graduate program, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Connecticut in Storr

This award—honoring the late Robert Morris, a longtime AAMI member, co-founder of ACCE, and humanitarian—recognizes an individual or organization that has leveraged healthcare technology to improve global human conditions. This year’s winner, Frank Painter, has been described by his colleagues as “the finest kind of individual who exemplifies our industry and its people to the highest degree.”

Painter reflects the spirit of Robert L. Morris’s vision and the necessary elements of making that vision a reality. His dedication to the healthcare technology management (HTM) profession is evident through his educational and humanitarian work spanning decades for various organizations including ACCE, the World Health Organization, International Aid, and more. He established the only master’s degree in clinical engineering in the United States at the University of Connecticut and revived clinical engineering credentialing programs that have been duplicated in Canada, Mexico, and China. Throughout his career, Painter has promoted and facilitated continuing education through personal example of developing, teaching, and mentoring locally and globally.

“I am honored to be given this award. I was a friend and colleague of Bob Morris and spent many weeks working alongside him in international volunteer work,” said Painter. “I learned Bob’s enthusiasm and dedication to teaching others and have done my best to be as giving as possible in both my professional and personal life. For many years I organized and managed international workshops with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization. Teaching and mentoring those in the HTM field has been the most enjoyable part of my life as an engineer.”

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

Samuel Gurmu, clinical engineer system architect, University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore

This award honors a healthcare technology professional or group that has applied innovative practices or principles to solve a significant patient care problem or challenge facing a patient population or community.

This year’s winner, Samuel Gurmu, engineered a clinical morbidity platform for the University of Maryland Medical Center to ensure rapid and reliable communication between two interrelated hospital units: the neonatal intensive care unit and the labor and delivery unit. This led to demonstratable improvements in healthcare delivery and is now being adopted across the hospital. Gurmu published his solution in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

“I am incredibly honored to be chosen for this award and am glad to see an institution such as AAMI encouraging the healthcare workforce to improve quality of care,” says Gurmu. “Ultimately, this award recognizes our team for striving to serve patients to the best of our ability.”

The AAMI Foundation & TRIMEDX John D. Hughes Iconoclast Award

George Millsdirector of operations at Jones Lang & LaSalle in Plainfield, Ill.

Throughout his career, Mills has tirelessly championed clinical engineering and HTM professionals everywhere. During his 14 years with The Joint Commission (TJC), Mills helped to revise and enhance accreditation standards that resulted in improvement of technology management in healthcare organizations.

While working at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Mills demonstrated to other healthcare professionals the value of clinical engineering and HTM services and the field’s commitment to patient safety. According to his colleagues, the work Mills did to encourage CMS to accept alternative maintenance programs has likely saved 12 million work hours and $413 million in service expenses nationwide. His leadership in improving clinical alarms management has probably saved dozens if not hundreds of patient lives.

“This award is personal to me and means a great deal,” says Mills. “John Hughes, who the award was named for, had a passion for making medical technology safer and had that great wit that was so evident at the Technical Iconoclast sessions at the AAMI annual meetings. To be awarded this and all it represents is very humbling to me and I truly appreciate this honor.”

AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s Patient Safety Award

Michelle Jump, global regulatory advisor, medical device cybersecurity, at MedSec in Miami Beach, Fla.

This award recognizes outstanding achievements by a healthcare technology professional who has made a significant advancement toward improving patient safety. AAMI & Becton Dickinson’s 2020 Patient Safety Award will be presented to Michelle Jump for her dedication to improving patient safety by tackling the ever-challenging risk of cybersecurity of medical devices.

Jump is an industry-recognized expert on cybersecurity for medical devices. She has a track record of success for changing the culture around cybersecurity risk to improve patient safety. Jump played an invaluable role at Stryker and CareFusion by incorporating cybersecurity into their product development lifecycles. Her roles included leading the creation of cybersecurity policies, procedures, work instructions, as well as providing workforce education, spreading awareness, and building engagement among teams to make medical device cybersecurity a passion for the entire team.

“It is such an honor for me to be recognized for this prestigious award. I’m inspired every day by the energy and commitment of the people in this industry who are dedicated to bring safety and security to the healthcare,” says Jump. “It takes a village to solve these problems and I love being part of it. I am thrilled and thank AAMI and those involved in my nomination for recognizing me.”

AAMI’s HTM Leadership Award

Kurt Finke, director, Office of HTM with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Eagan, Minn.

This award, which honors individual excellence, achievement, and leadership in the HTM field, will be presented to Kurt Finke for his commitment to ensuring that HTM professionals not only add value to their organizations but are recognized for that value.

Finke has been in the HTM field for 35 years, leading the Department of Veterans’ Affairs clinical engineering program through many changes. He has oversight and management of $6.5 billion worth of medical technology across 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks. He was chosen as the Veterans’ Affairs Biomedical Engineer of the Year in 2011 and received the American College of Clinical Engineering Professional Achievement in Management Award in 2012.

“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized with this award. My achievements reflect a supremely talented and dedicated group of 1,500 HTM professionals in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” says Finke. “This collective team contributes daily to the provision of high-quality healthcare to our Veterans. In additional to the privilege of working alongside other VA HTM professionals, I’ve had opportunity to collaborate with many outstanding persons who are committed to advancing the profession.” 

AAMI & GE Healthcare’s BMET of the Year Award

Nicholas Grecco, CBET, team lead at Baycare Health, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in Trinity, Fla.

This award is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) to recognize their dedication, achievement, and excellence in the HTM field. Nicholas Grecco will receive the award this year for his dedication to the profession and for his performance as an outstanding team member with an impressive work ethic.

Grecco spearheaded an impressive hospital-wide electrocardiogram (ECG) pad conversion. Through his troubleshooting and analysis, he determined that the pads were causing artifacts and noise in patients’ recorded heart rhythms. He identified an alternative ECG pad already in the hospital’s inventory to remedy the situation and helped roll out a conversion of all ECG pads across the entire hospital.

“It is a great honor to receive this prestigious award especially in light of the caliber of the other nominees,” says Grecco. “One of the most critical responsibilities of our profession is our role as a patient safety advocate. To me, receiving this award means that the troubleshooting and meticulous labors of our work are celebrated as significant successes for patient safety.”

AAMI’s Young Professional Award

Angela Bennett, HTM leader and clinical engineering director at TRIMEDX / Ascension Borgess Health in Kalamazoo, Minn.

This award is presented to an HTM professional under the age of 35 who has a history of exemplary accomplishments and a strong commitment to the field. This year’s winner, Angela Bennett, is an emerging leader in the field, serving as an advocate for military HTM professionals and inspiring other leaders to find their passion in their career.

Bennett founded a local BMET society in western Michigan because she wanted to learn more about her profession and provide networking opportunities for colleagues in the area. She met with representatives from the nearest BMET society (a four-hour drive away), the Michigan Society for Clinical Engineering, and formed the West Michigan Biomed Society. Bennett serves as president of the society, which recently voted in new officers and board members.

“Receiving this award is a blessing and a validation to myself that I have chosen a career that will empower me and allow my HTM fire to burn bright,” says Bennett. “I am very fortunate to work for a company that sees my potential and gives me the opportunity to rise and thrive and to have such an amazing team that motivates me every day and supports me as their leader and partner. I started out as a BMET in the United States Military six short years ago. Today, I am a clinical engineering director for a hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., and accepting this amazing award.”

The Spirit of AAMI Award

Steven D. Baker, PhD, clinical assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an AAMI member in volunteer efforts within the association. Steven D. Baker has been selected to receive the Spirit of AAMI Award for the active role he has played in the association over the last several decades. Most recently, Baker was instrumental in developing The Medical Connectivity FAQs, an update of the 2014 FAQs for the Wireless Challenge in Healthcare, which he also helped develop.

Baker is known for his tireless work ethic and outstanding ability to motivate others, especially within the AAMI’s former Wireless Strategy Task Force, where he served for seven years and was among its most active members. Baker’s colleagues say he exemplifies what it is to be a standards-motivated individual, with his enthusiasm, dependability, solid judgment, good humor, and willingness to fight for what is right.

“I was elated and surprised to learn I had received this award after having been nominated by my peers,” says Baker. “It is a great honor to be considered along with the luminaries who have previously received The Spirit of AAMI award.”

AAMI HTM Association of the Year Award

New England Society of Clinical Engineering (NESCE)

This year’s HTM Association of the Year, NESCE, exemplifies all the qualities this award seeks to promote, including outstanding society operations and meetings, as well as a commitment to elevating the HTM field on a local level.

NESCE has been a well-established HTM association for decades, with over 450 members in the New England area and surrounding regions. NESCE is led by four board members: Vinnie Defrancesco, president; Ashley O’Mara, vice president; Samantha Herold, secretary; and Frank Painter, treasurer. This past year the NESCE symposium planning committee worked diligently to plan a two-day event for its membership. The symposium featured a 45+ vendor expo hall, two distinguished keynote speakers, three HTM education tracks, three technical training tracks, and a certified BMET review class.

“Having AAMI recognize NESCE as HTM Association of the Year is an achievement that puts us in a very select group,” says Defrancesco. “For over 43 years NESCE has supported medical technology in healthcare organizations across New England. All the while its members have remained true to NESCE’s mission of providing HTM professionals with educational and networking resources while increasing awareness for the safe and beneficial use of medical instrumentation.”

AAMI Standards Award Winners

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:

  • Daniel J. Cookeresearch and development senior fellow with Boston Scientific, for the significant energy and resources he dedicated to his work as co-chair of PC/WG 1 in developing a new comprehensive standard for implantable cardioverter defibrillators and transvenous leads for cardiac pacemakers.
  • Theodore Heise, PhDvice president of regulatory and clinical services at the MED Institute, and Dennis Jenke, PhDchief executive scientist at Triad Scientific Solutions, co-chairs of BE 194/WG 14, for their tireless work over the past five years on a complete revision of ISO 10993-18:2020, Biological evaluation of medical devices – Part 18: Chemical characterization of medical device materials within a risk management process.
  • Changfu Wu, PhDscientific reviewer for the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA, for his leadership and outstanding contributions to ISO/TC 150/SC 2/WG 1 in the revision and development of ANSI/AAMI/ISO 5840-1, 5840-2, 5840-3, and ISO 5910.

The AAMI–HSEA Health Systems Engineering Scholarship

Rima Viradia, clinical engineering intern at Baystate Medical Center, University of Connecticut in Storrs

The AAMI-Health Systems Engineering Alliance (HSEA) Engineering Scholarship aims to encourage upper-level undergraduate and graduate students to enter the profession of health systems engineering and to foster excellence in the field. Viradia has a master’s degree in biomedical engineering with a focus on clinical engineering from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., and is currently interning at Baystate Health in the clinical engineering department. She will use the scholarship to pursue certification in clinical engineering.

AAMI Foundation Scholarship Winners

Since 2009, the AAMI Foundation has awarded scholarships to outstanding students aspiring to become HTM professionals. This year’s winners are:

  • Isha Arora, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Cornell University in New York
  • Mutegki Baguma, who is a graduate of South Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas, and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology and biophysics
  • Jacqueline Bertan, who is pursuing a master’s degree in clinical engineering at the University of Connecticut in Storrs
  • Taylor Dade, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Columbia University in New York
  • Shelby Johns, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering with a concentration in clinical engineering at the University of Connecticut in Storrs
  • Jonathan Low, who is pursuing an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology at St. Petersburg College in Fla.
  • Darian Napolean, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
  • Joseph Rowan, who is pursuing an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology and medical imaging technology at Texas State Technical College in Waco
  • Emily Sizemore, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering with a focus on clinical engineering from the University of Connecticut in Storrs
  • Rudolph Wagner, who is pursuing an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology at Texas State Technical College in Waco