by Aaron Haig, BHA

With the 2017 IAHCSMM Annual Conference and Expo coming up in early May, the time is right to consider a very important piece of business that will occur there:  naming new leadership.  All IAHCSMM Active and Associate members in good standing are eligible and encouraged to vote through April 24.
For a lot of trade associations, leadership roles are largely titular showpieces—they demonstrate a person’s popularity among their peers, but there isn’t much actual impact they make.  For several reasons, the President role at IAHCSMM (International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management) is different…..it matters!
First of all, Central Sterile (CS) is undergoing much change and challenge.  What was for years the sleepiest part of the healthcare service delivery system has become a very dynamic area.  We often find our profession in the middle of controversies and headlines while years ago this was not the case.  There is a building awareness that CS professionals are critical components to patient safety.  In addition, an increasing number of facilities are realizing that surgical throughput, often the economic engine of the facility, is greatly dependent on CS’s ability to accurately and efficiently prepare instruments and materials.  With these changes underway, an increasing amount of respect is surely building.  At a time where much is changing leadership matters.
Secondly, some trade associations have huge paid staffs that essentially run the organization.  IAHCSMM is different.  While there are many moving parts behind the scenes, there is a relatively small headquarters staff who are responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly.  This means that a lot of work is done by volunteer positions filled by industry experts.  The elected roles can be considered ‘first among equals’ in this way:  setting the agenda and overseeing the strategy of the organization.  With the lean IAHCSMM staff focused on execution, the President-Elect, President and Past-President roles are critical to set priorities and work with regional chapters to advance the profession.
Lastly, voting equals strength.  Not only is a large voter turnout a signal of strength for the organization as a whole, but it’s a signal of individual strength as well.  As a CS practitioner, you are the embodiment of patient safety and operational effectiveness in your facility.  Showing your commitment to the industry and the profession by voting is a way to demonstrate that you take your work and career seriously.  Who knows, perhaps your voting in this election will lead you to be a candidate in the future!
So for the sake of the Association, the healthcare industry, and by extension patient safety, please get informed and vote.  You can find more information about the candidates running for President-Elect as well as a link to cast your vote at https://www.iahcsmm.org/president-elect.html.  Here’s to the future!