ASHE's roots stretch back to the 1950s, but the American Society for Hospital Engineers of the American Hospital Association was officially created in 1962. (The name was later changed to the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.) In 1963, ASHE held its first annual meeting in conjunction with a five-day institute on hospital engineering.

The health care industry has seen dramatic shifts since 1963, and those involved with health care engineering have seen their jobs change significantly over that time. But many of the same concerns from that era are still issues today.

"With the cost of the physical plant of the modern hospital soaring in a seemingly unending upward spiral, the role of the hospital engineer is increasingly important in the cost-control phase of hospital operation," wrote ASHE President Herbert M. Gaskill in a 1963 newsletter. Gaskill went on to write that ASHE can help engineers with this and other problems by providing a network of colleagues who can share similar problems and swap solutions. "This is casting your bread upon the waters," he wrote. "But remember, it may come back to you as sandwiches some day when you read a similar tip from someone else."

Fifty years later, ASHE is still an organization that helps members find solutions. Through the ASHE Listserv, the ASHE blog and other communication channels, ASHE members can share their thoughts on various topics and act as sounding boards for other members. Through educational programs and certifications, ASHE members can stay current with the latest regulations and learn helpful techniques to advance their careers and the profession as a whole.

ASHE also has continued the tradition of helping members to find ways to thrive in a shifting environment through its annual conference. Even at the early annual conferences in the 1960s, focusing on the future was an important part of the schedule. One speaker gave a speech called "A Look at Patient Care Facilities of the Future," which easily could be a session in a modern conference.

At this year's annual conference, ASHE will celebrate its history and the history of the industry, but also will remain focused on the future.
Keynote speaker Jim Lussier, founder and president of the Lussier Center/TLC, will speak on the evolution of the facility manager from the boiler room to the board room. Health care futurist Joe Flower will present a session on technology and health care beyond reform, and David Fox, president of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, will speak on moving from good to great.

These sessions, and many others slated for the conference, will help to prepare ASHE members for the next 50 years of changes and challenges in the health care industry. As Gaskill wrote in 1963: "Come one, come all — let's make this an over-the-top success."

By Deanna Martin, senior communications specialist for ASHE.

ASHE insight

ASHE releases monographs on important facility issues

ASHE recently published three monographs on topics important to health care facilities professionals: managing hospital electrical shutdowns, the physical environment provisions of pharmaceutical compounding, and medical gas cylinder and bulk tank storage. The monographs can be downloaded for free by ASHE members and can be purchased by nonmembers by logging on to

View ASHE programs on YouTube

ASHE has launched a YouTube channel featuring videos on code compliance issues, ASHE initiatives and educational programs. Accessible at, the channel includes videos of experts in the field answering questions on regulations and speaking on topics such as smoke and fire barrier penetration and the differences between various editions.

Energy University classes open

ASHE, in partnership with Schneider Electric, recently rolled out Schneider's Energy University to ASHE members. To help guide members to the information that is most useful, ASHE has identified specific courses beneficial for health care facilities managers, energy managers and technicians. For more information, visit