In honor of ECRI Institute’s 50th anniversary, we are spotlighting the employees who made us who we are today. Here is a story from Mark E. Bruley, CCE, Vice President, Accident and Forensic Investigation; an employee of ECRI since 1975.
After more than 42 years, I am honored to have worked for, and had my name associated with ECRI Institute. To have improved patient safety and medical device effectiveness has left me with a worthwhile career.
It was the fall of 1974, my senior year at college, when I first heard about ECRI. My biomedical engineering professor at Temple University, Dr. Victor Schutz, said “There is a wonderful, unique institute in Philadelphia, The Emergency Care Research Institute, that does marvelous work researching and evaluating medical devices. We will visit them next semester.”
Over Christmas break, when I was home in Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun published an article about a biomedical engineer and his research at Johns Hopkins University. I phoned him and asked to visit to discuss careers in the biomedical engineering field. He kindly accepted. After talking about his work, he recommended that for applied research I should consider ECRI. He introduced me to the head of the clinical engineering department at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who spoke very highly about ECRI, as did the other clinical engineers in Baltimore to whom he had referred me.
They all had Health Devices Journal, ECRI’s flagship publication, in their offices.
A few weeks later, I applied for a position at ECRI as a Project Engineer and had two days of interviews in early January 1975. Between the two interviews, I toured ECRI with one of my biomedical engineering classes. On the day after the second interview, I was offered the job. I bicycled to the lab, reviewed and signed the employment contract, and started work in June 1975.
In the early years, we were a small, tight-knit group of dedicated professionals of 28 employees. We produced a single journal while simultaneously developing a shared clinical engineering services business for medical equipment inspection and preventive maintenance, performing equipment planning consulting, investigating accidents, and, oh yes, building our new facility in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. We spent many long days of regular work time at our downtown Philadelphia location, plus working in the new office during weekends constructing the new 40,000 square-foot building. My wife, Sue, contributed hundreds of hours of work during that construction as well.
So here I am, 42 years later, proud to have developed ECRI’s Accident and Forensic Investigation Program. Throughout my career I’m honored to have published evaluations and hazard reports; drafted an FDA standard on cryosurgical devices; lectured worldwide; pioneered research into the causes and prevention of skin injury and burns during surgery; become an expert in the insidious hazards of gas embolism; and led ECRI to be the world expert on surgical fires. All this has been possible because of the collaboration of my long-time ECRI colleagues.
The opportunity to have been a member of the ECRI Executive Committee for more than 20 years is also something I valued. I watched its members and the members of our board of trustees in their evolving pursuit of our institutional mission and goals. We continued and expanded upon the 1969 vision of Dr. Joel Nobel, the dedicated and energetic physician who founded ECRI.
Our unbiased, impartial, and independent medical technology analysis, laboratory testing, expert judgment, consulting, and advice are unique. These are the foundation of our identity, the foundation of our reputation, and the foundation of our revenue generation. In this respect, no other single organization does what we do for the public.
The staff at ECRI are at the core of what the health care community most needs; passion.
And so it has come to this. In this world, I’m one of the lucky people. I found a niche worthy of my wits, memory, and engineering and scientific skills. It’s been quite a ride.
Mark E. Bruley, CCE, EIT
Vice President, Accident and Forensic Investigation, ECRI Institute
For more information about ECRI Institute, visit www.ecri.org, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 610-825-6000, ext. 5889.
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