We had another great year at EXCHANGE 2012, our recent annual conference and exhibition in Phoenix. There were many opportunities to learn, network and meet with industry leaders and partners. I enjoyed talking to all the AHE members in attendance this year.

The first-time attendee's reception was a huge success thanks to fresh, new ideas from the EXCHANGE planning committee. The Heart of Healthcare Award, offered annually to an outstanding front-line environmental services (ES) professional who has made a significant difference for patients and residents, was presented to Elsa Enriquez, our first recipient. Other AHE member awards also were presented. The AHE chapter meeting was well-attended and confirmed that there is interest in additional chapter development. And, for the first time, the annual member meeting was held as a town hall event with an open microphone for questions and comments.

Learning labs at EXCHANGE were first-rate. Many of our peers served as expert speakers. In addition, nationally known speakers delivered engaging sessions. This year's outstanding sessions focused on the patient experience, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems and value-based purchasing.

Other popular topics included health care-associated infections and outbreaks, motivating and engaging staff, financial metrics and emergency management. These learning labs, along with many others, demonstrated that AHE is the educational leader for ES professionals.

AHE's online courses and webinars continue to be in high demand. The quality improvement course for directors and managers focuses on departmental development and improvements, service-level agreements and quality. The Certified Healthcare En­vironmental Services Professional (CHESP) online study group is a great way to network with peers and prepare for the CHESP exam. And the Foundations for Success in ES Management course is an outstanding resource for staff development. The course focuses on infection prevention, staffing, budgeting and quality assurance. Learn more about these programs at www.ahe.org or call the office at 312-422-3860.

And coming soon is AHE's first live virtual trade show. Through this exciting new online portal, you can converse with industry partners about products and services and network with sponsors, exhibitors and peers. Session recordings from EXCHANGE will be available as well.

Take advantage of these opportunities to exchange ideas, learn and network with peers. And I'll see you at EXCHANGE 2013 on Sept. 15-18 in Indianapolis.

By Kent L. Miller, MHL, CHESP, president of AHE and director of environmental services, Jackson Hospital and Clinic, Montgomery, Ala.


Valuable resources available

AHE offers a comprehensive educational and professional development program that engages all levels of health care experience.

- Webinar — Staffing Analysis: The Key to Achieving Efficiencies. This event, which is $99 for AHE members and $139 for nonmembers, will be on Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. CST.

- Webinar — 21st Century Room Decontamination: Technology Solutions. This event, which is free for AHE members and $139 for nonmembers, will be on Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. CST.

- Online course — Essentials of Infection Prevention. This six-week course lasts from Nov. 12 to Dec. 28 and is designed for nonclinical health care employees. It is $197 for AHE members and $247 for nonmembers.

For more, log on to www.ahe.org/ahe/learn/education/calendar.shtml.

- Virtual Conference — EXCHANGE 2012. To learn about this unique event, contact Carrie Witt, AHE's marketing and communications coordinator, at cwitt@aha.org.

Check out CareerLink

AHE CareerLink is the premier industry recruitment resource. Employers and recruiters can access the most qualified talent pool with relevant work experience to fulfill their needs. For more, go to http://careerlink.ahe.org/jobs.