In honor of ECRI Institute’s 50th anniversary, we are spotlighting stories that made us who we are today. Here is a story from James Keller, MS, FACCE, Vice President of International Market Development, an employee of ECRI in 1984.
On January 15, 2018, ECRI Institute began a new era as we welcomed just the third CEO in our 50-year history, Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD.
Dr. Schabacker is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist with more than 25 years of health care experience in complex global environments, and more than 18 years of senior leadership responsibilities serving the medical device and pharmaceutical industries across the health care value chain. He replaces Jeffrey Lerner, PhD, who served as CEO since 2001.
Lerner is now President Emeritus for ECRI Institute. Lerner took over ECRI’s leadership from our late founder, Joel Nobel, MD, who was posthumously inducted into the first class of ACCE’s Clinical Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.
After completing clinical and academic practice in Germany and South Africa, Schabacker leveraged deep clinical, regulatory and operational expertise to enhance scientific, technical, medical and regulatory capabilities at companies such as Baxter and Bristol-Myers Squibb. His experience includes designing, transforming and leading organizations of up to 4,000 employees across five continents to provide safe and effective products to patients and health care providers worldwide.
During his clinical years, and his time as an industry thought leader, Schabacker was focused on patient safety and enhancing patient care. Considering ECRI Institute’s long history as a patient safety organization, Schabacker is perfectly suited to take on our leadership role. ACCE’s many international members will appreciate Schabacker’s early career when he served as senior medical officer and head of the intensive care and anesthesia department at the Mafikeng General Hospital, North-West Province, South Africa. His work there was part of a humanitarian aid program to support the African National Congress government under Nelson Mandela in the restructuring and buildup of a rural health care system in post-apartheid South Africa.
After his return from Africa, Schabacker joined the medical industry and held roles of increasing responsibility in medical affairs, preclinical and clinical development, regulatory affairs, quality, research and development, and patient safety. In his last corporate role prior to joining ECRI Institute, Schabacker served as corporate vice president and chief scientific officer at Baxter.
Schabacker takes over the leadership of ECRI at an exciting time as we begin to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We have launched the first stage of our golden anniversary with the tagline “celebrating 50 years of separating fact from fiction in healthcare.” As part of our celebration, we will be proudly spotlighting our many accomplishments. Early examples include Nobel’s integral role in helping to start the clinical engineering profession and his launch of the comparative evaluation program that thousands of hospitals around the world continue to rely on for practical and independent advice on purchasing of medical devices. Our look back will be important but moving forward under our new leadership will be the focal point of our celebrations. From a clinical and biomedical engineering point-of-view, you can look to ECRI Institute for resources and guidance to help navigate the emerging responsibilities of our profession. We will have our finger on the pulse to detect which products work best for HIT integration, identify new cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities, and help establish clinical and biomedical engineering-related best practices for managing community-based telehealth programs.
Keep an eye out for ECRI Institute announcements of anniversary-related activities throughout this year. And, to our clinical and biomedical engineering colleagues, thank you very much for your support of ECRI Institute over the years, especially the few of you who have been around for as long as we have!
James P. Keller Jr., MS, FACCE
Vice President, International Market Development, 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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