After nearly a decade of inactivity, the Philadelphia Area Medical Instrumentation Association (PAMIA) is reconvening in 2019. The association, which initially formed in 1976 to provide a forum for medical equipment technology professionals to connect, will meet again on Monday, February 18.
Louis Schonder, Jr., CBET, 2019 PAMIA secretary and treasurer, tells 24×7 Magazine exclusively that demand in the HTM sector prompted the rebirth of the association. “There’s very strong interest and dedication in this team,” he says. “It’s going to be exciting to see the Philadelphia area once again with a major biomed society.”
Before its hiatus, Schooners ays PAMIA provided a way for members to communicate about new equipment techniques, standards, and government regulations; promote continuing education in the biomed field; encourage and sponsor medical equipment training in the Philadelphia area; and inspire people to pursue careers in healthcare technology management.
Much has changed since the launch of PAMIA, however, association officials acknowledge. In a statement posted to PAMIA’s website, association organizers reminisced about the early days. “Without the Internet and its many capabilities for collaboration, phone calls to colleagues and vendors, physically gathering with colleagues, etc., were the main methods of obtaining help, to further the field’s body of knowledge and to network among peers,” they said. “E-mail, online forums, social media, and medical device information simply a ‘click away’ via the Internet were non-existent.”
Without such technologies, roundtable discussions, as well as face-to-face meetings between association members, were the norm at PAMIA. Changes in the industry, along with numerous hospital mergers and acquisitions, ultimately affected the association, however. “Larger biomed departments greatly increased inter-departmental knowledge and camaraderie, lessening the demand for networking outside of the workplace,” PAMIA organizers say. “And with the advent of the Internet and the changing nature of our field, some of the early benefits of professional societies have changed.”
Changed, yes, but the benefits of association membership are still very real, according to PAMIA personnel. To determine what local HTM professionals need in 2019, PAMIA organizers are currently soliciting advice from other successful HTM societies. “Other than the reinstatement of previous PAMIA society benefits, we foresee an active future offering such things as live networking, career enhancement, opportunity for direct PAMIA board participation, and a vibrant social media presence,” association organizers say.
Schonder tells 24×7 Magazinehe’s working alongside Scott Leshner, regional director of operations at Wayne, Pa.-based Crothall Healthcare, to revive the association. “Scott and I were on the last elected PAMIA board from several years ago,” Schonder says, and both men served multiple terms as PAMIA President. “We’re thrilled to be helping those that will be the future of PAMIA get accustomed to the workings of a biomed society while maintaining an unwavering focus on the needs of today’s HTM professionals.”
Schonder and Leshner have also enlisted the help of Martine Kersaint, Karen Topping, and Randy Cremer, who serve at Penn Medicine, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, respectively—all of which are major facilities in the Philadelphia area, Schonder says.
Visit www.pamia.org for more information about the association and its upcoming events.