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Who Cares about Biomed Associations?

I am sure if you are an active member of a biomed association or even an officer, you have probably asked yourself the following question: “Who cares about belonging to an association?” The ratio of active members to people in the field indicate that not too many do. However, to a few, there is reward in doing the work needed to keep association alive and viable. Given the pace of today’s modern life, why would someone investment their valuable time in an association? Is there some benefit most do not understand? I think so.

We are fortunate that our industry has pioneers out there that know the value of an association. These industry leaders seem to always step up, even when they are maxed out. They know that to be able to elevate your industry and career, you need other people. You need people with different experience and perspectives helping each other with the problems and issues we all face. What is interesting about these pioneers is that they seemingly have full plates, yet they find time to do what is needed for their industry. The people I know who are active in our field have a desire to help our industry develop, grow and be recognized.

Other than these seemingly altruistic people advancing the associations in our field, why is it that an association is important? I can say it in one word: lawmakers. You do not get government’s attention by shouting your message singularly. You must have numbers. You must have a collective voice that asks for change and tells them how to do it. The only thing government understands is voters, and one voter doesn’t matter. It takes many. Our industry is full of regulations that are passed down by people who know little about what we do. Although their intentions may be good, there is always room for improvement.

But it isn’t just about government. It is also about collaboration and camaraderie. What an association does best is links people who may not ever normally meet and allows them to share solutions and problems. It continues to amaze me when I am out talking to colleges how we share similar problems, but the ways these problems are solved are sometimes very different. These situations allow for a fresh new way to solve the problem and provide better customer service. When we help each other and share our best practices, we advance our industry and our careers, and everyone wins.

At the MD Expo last spring in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I saw three solid organizations: the Florida Biomedical Society (FBS), the South Florida Association for Medi-
cal Instrumentation (SFAMI), and the American College of Clinical Engineers (ACCE) sponsoring a great opportunity for education and activity with their membership. It certainly cemented for me how important belonging to an association is to a biomed’s career.

What should you do now? I would recommend that every biomed find an association and join. It is as easy as Googling “biomedical association.” From there, take your pick.