ASHE President Antonio Suarez, MBA, CHFM, FASHE
The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) relies on a group of fifteen dedicated, passionate, experienced individuals to help guide the critical work of the organization. The ASHE Advisory Board plays a central role in setting ASHE’s strategic direction. This article discusses the history and role of the Advisory Board and provides information for those interested in serving as part of this prestigious group.
To appreciate the importance of the ASHE Advisory Board, it’s helpful to understand a little bit of history. In the 1950s, the American Hospital Association (AHA) created various departments to serve the needs of department heads working in hospitals, including hospital engineers. In the 1960s, the AHA restructured these departments to become societies serving professional members in hospitals — and ASHE was one of those groups. From that time, dedicated volunteer leaders contributed their time and expertise to lead ASHE and, over time, ASHE grew from a small organization to one that represents more than 12,000 members and is the largest professional membership group within the AHA.
The AHA continues to rely on ASHE to meet the needs of facility managers and others involved in optimizing the health care physical environment. To do this, ASHE relies on the Advisory Board, which creates a strategic vision and plan to steer ASHE in the right direction.
The ASHE Advisory Board is made up of representatives elected by ASHE members. ASHE has 10 regions, with each region representing several states. Members in these regions vote in elections to select their regional representative on the Advisory Board. In addition to these 10 members, the Advisory Board also includes two associate member representatives, who are elected in nationwide elections. In addition, the ASHE president, immediate past president, and president-elect serve on the Advisory Board.
ASHE also has an Executive Committee of the Advisory Board, which works to further prioritize and help align ASHE’s work with AHA priorities. Beginning earlier this year, the AHA added a member of its executive management group to ASHE’s Executive Committee. This collaboration with AHA leadership presents opportunities to gain greater C-Suite support of ASHE members and programs, which is something for which ASHE’s elected leaders have advocated. While the Advisory Board sets the strategic direction of ASHE, the Executive Committee confirms that ASHE’s work is in harmony with the mission and interests of the AHA as a whole.
What does the Advisory Board do, and how can I get involved?
Because ASHE is part of the AHA and is not a separate legal entity, the work of the Advisory Board is typically focused on high-level strategy, not operational issues. For example, responsibilities of the ASHE Advisory Board include: strategic planning, representing the priorities of members, overseeing committee work, engaging with members, serving as an advocate for professional members’ roles, and evaluating performance of the executive director. The ASHE Advisory Board does not make operational decisions such as choosing locations of ASHE conferences or setting budget targets, as that work is handled by staff. This structure allows the ASHE Advisory Board to focus on the most important issues affecting members.
Serving on the ASHE Advisory Board is a way to “give back” to the facility management community. The experience can also help you and your organization by being in tune with the latest developments in the field. If you are interested in running for election to the ASHE Advisory Board, it can be helpful to get involved with ASHE and its affiliated chapters. Become an active member of your local affiliated chapter, and consider serving in your chapter’s leadership structure. It can also be helpful to build a solid network of other ASHE members within your state or region, and to attend conferences and events where you can get to know others in the facility management profession. Serving as a volunteer on an ASHE task force or committee can also be an advantage; you can find a full list of ASHE volunteer opportunities online through the My ASHE online member community. Serving on the ASHE Advisory Board is a time commitment, so be sure to discuss with your employer to gain support for your candidacy.
ASHE Advisory Board terms are two years, so watch for the next time elections are occurring in your region. For example, this year elections will be held for representatives in Regions 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10, and one of the two associate member positions will be up for election. Next year, ASHE will hold elections for Regions 1, 2, 4, 5, and 9, and for the other associate member position. For more information on serving on the advisory board, contact Charmaine Osborne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Of course, ASHE has many other ways to become engaged and volunteer your time, even if you only have a small amount of time to give. Checking the volunteer section of My ASHE is a great place to start.
As ASHE and the AHA continue to work hard and support professionals working to optimize health care facilities and keep patients safe, members can be confident in their Advisory Board. With some of the best and brightest leaders in the profession guiding the way, the future for ASHE and its members is strong.