Biomedical associations and societies provide many benefits to the HTM community. They are a source of knowledge and networking. They offer the camaraderie of spending time with colleagues from different institutions and learning about the newest medical equipment from vendors.
Since 1990, one of the country’s many established and successful groups is the Indiana Biomedical Society (IBS). Started by Jim Sheets and Mike DeJaeger, the society came about as a result of a clinical engineering survey at Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis, which indicated that biomeds felt invisible.
“Sheets and DeJaeger created a survey to see if there was interest in starting a society and mailed it out to all of the hospitals in Indiana: ‘Attention to the Biomedical or Clinical Engineering Department,’ ” says IBS President Benjamin Esslinger, CHTM, CBET.
“They received enough replies that they followed up with a meeting date to ratify bylaws and start the society. The people who attended the July 14, 1990 organizational meeting were: Jim Sheets, Mike DeJaeger, George Gladding, Bruce Mueller, Mike Mullane, Jack Simmons, Bob Cartmel, Mike Bernstein, Steve Sanghvi and William Ritcher. Furthermore, the first official membership meeting was held on September 8, 1990, with 18 people in attendance,” he says.
Esslinger says that the society is celebrating its 28th year in 2019 with its annual conference on January 26.
The other current board members include Vice President Katelyn Childs, Treasurer Matthew Royal and Secretary Joe Tabas.
While training opportunities are a big part of an association’s offerings, the IBS has found a way to bring hiring managers together with potential new employees.
“The Indiana Biomedical Society recently held our third annual career fair. The event is geared toward education, but additionally allows students and members the ability to interview with managers throughout the state,” Esslinger says.
He says that the event includes a free professional headshot, free resume builder/life coach, mock interviews with a presentation and a question-and-answer session.
IBS also holds quarterly in-person meetings. The group also sponsors scholarships to help the next generation of HTM professionals.
“The Indiana Biomedical Society has a great relationship with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Vincennes University. During the annual conference, the society presents multiple scholarships to each program head from IUPUI and Vincennes to honor outstanding students in their respective programs,” Esslinger says.
“The society makes every attempt possible to invest in the growth of these students knowing they will soon be the future of our industry,” he adds.
Annual Conference and the Next Generation
The society has had a tradition of sponsoring a successful annual conference. This year will be no exception.
Esslinger says that the conference normally is complete “with 250-300 in attendance and 65 vendor booths each year.”
“This January 26, 2019, will be the society’s twenty-eighth annual conference with 12 educational breakout sessions and a keynote address. The conference will be located at the Sheraton City Centre located on the Circle of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana,” he says.
“Last year’s conference was wonderful. The Indiana Biomedical Society had great attendance with a record number of vendors present. Between the brilliant keynote presentation by Billy Rios, and the fantastic education offerings by our presenters, the conference was an overall success,” Esslinger says.
He says that this year IBS has partnered with AAMI and CABMET in multiple ways. AAMI will proctor a CBET exam at the annual conference. Also, IBS will offer the CABMET Self-Paced Study Group (starting in December) and CABMET one-day review on January 25, 2019.
One question for any HTM association or society in today’s environment has to be how they are locating new members in light of the many baby boomers who are retiring.
“Typically, the ‘new’ members of our society are students from our partner educational institutes. The students are designated as student members’ and receive a discounted member rate,” Esslinger says.
“Over the last few years, the society has targeted social media platforms to raise awareness and grow interest. The board of directors identified the need to keep events fun and exciting (as much as possible). Events such as Topgolf, where professional networking was the main focus, have been extremely successful and members enjoyed the event,” Esslinger adds.
He is currently serving his fourth year on the board of directors.
“Filling the positions for the board of directors has not been an easy task. I don’t expect that to change, but I do think that we have and will continue to see individuals show interest. Past board members made themselves available to the current board; now our current board must ensure that we are available to future board members,” Esslinger says.
He points to this as being one of the reasons that account for the success of IBS.
“We work together to grow together,” he says.
“One last option we have seen arise with our student members at IUPUI, in the Healthcare Engineering Technology Management (HETM) program, is a ‘student’ biomedical society. The student society is a great idea and is something the Indiana Biomedical Society would like to help grow. This year we are working to have the students assist in the planning of the annual conference,” Esslinger says.
That should get the new biomeds off on the right foot. That is one of many positive benefits IBS offers members and the community. As senior-level biomeds retire, it will be groups like IBS who step up and help transition a new generation into the field, while providing training and networking opportunities.
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