Back last fall, the new brand launched with great success and phenomenal positive response, but that was just the beginning of the many changes about to come your way if you are an AHE member.

At the first-quarter board of directors meeting, the board moved into Phase II of redefining member value based on member feedback in focus groups, phone calls and surveys.

Phase II has been about doing the deep dive into the heart of the AHE brand promise, and our steps will start from scratch and be unprecedented in our rich history. By the time you read this column, you will have received an email with a link to an important survey to complete.

We want to know specifically what tools and resources you really need to be able to continue to do your work in a very uncertain and cost-sensitive environment.

We know budgets are under increased scrutiny and all non-essentials are being sliced, diced and otherwise eliminated. What does that mean for professionals hungry for career development, timely information and cutting-edge networking and education? Let's just say that membership as you know it is about to be turned on its ear.

Here are the benefit areas the board of directors discussed, that staff is now investigating and now will be coming to you for input:

  • How to best bundle services such as publications and one or two webcasts into one flat member price so you can one-stop shop.
  • How to best provide the "need-it-now" answers to questions without cumbersome access points, making it hard for you to get what you need when you need it.
  • How to provide real-time knowledge exchange that will work for you in your work environment. We provide a lot in this area, but it's often difficult or impossible for a lot of members to access them.
  • Content-rich social media activities, including the bulletin board, to expand member engagement
  • Redesign of the website to provide information where you want it when you want it.

When you receive the survey e-mail, please respond. Your voice cannot be heard if you don't respond. Also, remember that responses are in the aggregate and we respond to the majority. So just because your idea wasn't implemented, doesn't mean we didn't listen. Have comments? E-mail AHE's staff at

This month's column was written by Gary L. Dolan, CHESP, director, environmental services, The Village at Penn State, College State, Pa., and 2011 AHE board president.

AHE insight

Valuable resources

AHE offers a variety of educational materials. They include the following:

  • Recommended Practice Series: Integrated Pest Management. In this first of a series of AHE Recommended Practice documents, certified entomologists from Orkin and Western Pest Services teamed with AHE to offer a complete how-to guide for implementing and maintaining an effective integrated pest-management program in a hospital or other type of health care facility.
  • Contracting: Myths & Realities. This publication covers everything from outsourcing to management pitfalls. It includes sample surveys, budgets and task lists that will assist in making the best contracting decisions for a health care facility's environmental services department. AHE re-released this manual to keep environmental services professionals at the top of their game.
  • Glossary of Healthcare Terms for Environmental Services. This convenient reference tool features hundreds of terms and definitions organized alphabetically, both general and specific to environmental services, housekeeping and textile care.

For information on purchasing these and other valuable industry references, select "AHA Store," then "Environmental Services" after clicking here.