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2020 Advocacy Award Winners

ACCE 2020 Challenge Award

​This award honors individuals who are not presently an ACCE member, but are eligible for membership, for their achievements within the field of clinical engineering (CE) / health technology management (HTM).


Andrew Kusters

Andrew Kusters

​​The Award winner is Andrew Kusters, for the development of the Networked Medical Device Database (NMDD), which is now used by VA HTM Program  centrally to enhance medical device security (e.g. vulnerability management, Access Control list remediation, thus reducing dependency upon cumbersome data calls). It has continuously grown and been enhanced to allow for day-to-day management of networked medical devices and assist VHA to respond to cybersecurity threats such as WannaCry, Meltdown, NSACrypt, etc.

Andy Kusters earned his bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University and began his career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011. He currently serves as a staff Biomedical Engineer at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee and provides expertise on Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) at the local, regional, and national levels, especially in the area of Information Technology (IT). 

Andy serves on several national VHA Office of Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) initiatives and projects. At his local VA facility, Andy works on projects that integrate healthcare with IT to enhance patient care. For example, he implemented a digital  documentation solution to replace hand-written paper documentation of telemetry patients' ECG. He also developed a text-messaging alert system which is used to send text-message updates to a veteran's family as they progress through surgery. 

Andy enjoys seeing how data and analytics can support medical device cybersecurity efforts and how IT projects can modernize and enhance clinical care.

ACCE 2020 Professional Achievement in Management/Managerial Excellence Award

​​The award is given to an individual for his/her contributions to the CE profession of a managerial nature, such as a paper of significance, solving of a problem or issue for the profession, or the application of new techniques to CE with measurable positive results.


Michelle Baquie, CCE

Michelle Baquie, CCE

​The award winner is Michelle Baquie, CCE, for being instrumental to the professional development of VA Clinical Engineers. Michelle has led the development of the VA Clinical Engineering workforce from the entry-level through the VA’s TCF Program which had led to hundreds of entry level Clinical Engineers into effective leaders serving our nation’s Veterans.

Michelle Baquie, CCE is a Biomedical Engineer in the VHA Office of Healthcare Technology Management (HTM).  Michelle holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and an MBA from Auburn University.  She started her career as a Technical Career Field (TCF) Biomedical Engineer at the VA Northern California Healthcare System in 2004 and transitioned into the VHA HTM Program Office in 2009.  In her current position Michelle serves as the VHA TCF Program Manager for the Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Equipment Support Specialist programs and has overseen the training for over 200 trainees.  

Over the past decade Michelle has developed and managed a comprehensive program that supports trainees starting with their recruitment; continuing through their participation in training courses, networking events, industry conferences, and hands-on training; and extending through graduation to placement.  Beyond formal training and networking opportunities, Michelle has fostered a learning community to support recent graduates and ensure they succeed as Clinical Engineers.

ACCE 2020 Professional Achievement in Technology Award

​ The award is given to a single individual for his/her contributions to the CE profession. These contributions must be of a professional or technical nature, such as research or development of a new technique or product, a paper of significance on a technical issue, or "trailblazing" work in a new application of clinical engineering.


Priyanka Upendra, MSE, CHTM

Priyanka Upendra, MSE, CHTM

​The winner is Priyanka Upendra, MSE, CHTM, for being an outstanding thought leader for the healthcare technology management community.

As from her nomination, Priyanka has led Medical Device Security and Quality & Compliance efforts to adopt evidence-based practices that contributed to an overall improvement in life cycle management of medical devices. As part of these efforts, she has written several journal articles, blogs, and presented at national conferences through AAMI, ACCE, MD EXPO, CMIA, and HIMSS. Priyanka was recognized by AAMI in 2016 and 2018 for the Best Article in BI&T and as a 2017 AAMI Young Professional. 

In her role as the Quality & Compliance Program Director of Technology Management/ ENTECH at Banner Health and previously as CE Compliance Manager at Intermountain Healthcare, she used her technical and leadership skills to bring several stakeholders together in efforts to synchronize medical device security and HTM risk management activities across different functional departments (Technology Management/ ENTECH, Information Security, Information Technology, Compliance, Legal, Risk Management, etc.). Priyanka is an internationally recognized leader in the healthcare technology management and medical electronics community. She continues to contribute to organizations outside of her work when not “on the job,” showing an incredible commitment to the profession and the advocacy for the field. 

Priyanka Upendra, MSE, CHTM has been the Quality & Compliance Program Director of Technology Management/ ENTECH at Banner Health since June 2018. Banner Health is a non-profit IDN based out of Phoenix, Arizona. It operates 28 hospitals and several specialized facilities across 6 states. She is in the process of implementing a quality management system in accordance with ISO 13485.  

​She holds a bachelor's and Master's in Biomedical Engineering. Priyanka is the President-Elect of the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE) and a committee member of AAMI's TMC, BI&T Editorial Board, Nominating Committee, Awards Committee, EQ Standards Committee, EQ93 Co-Chair, HTA Steering Committee, and MDSISC Advisory Council at H-ISAC. In 2018, she co-authored a chapter on ‘Risk Management' for connected medical devices in the AAMI Cybersecurity Practice Guide. In 2019, she co-authored a chapter on ‘Clinical Engineering Certification in the United States' in the Clinical Engineering Handbook.

ACCE 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards

​This award is the highest award given by ACCE. It is presented annually to a single individual based on lifelong accomplishments and contributions to the clinical engineering (CE) profession.


Ethan Hertz

Ethan Hertz, MS, MAS, MBA

​The 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Ethan Hertz. The focus of his career has been on education and quality improvement.

In 1982, Ethan served as a co-founder and first president of the Baltimore Medical Engineers and Technicians Society. The organization was created to promote opportunities for low-cost learning and networking. By 1989, when he moved to North Carolina, BMETS had over 200 members in four states.

Since the mid-1980s, Ethan has worked on AAMI’s CBET study guide. Since 1990, he has led the development of six editions of this study guide, including adding explanations for the questions and developing the software that runs the study guide. The 2019 edition now includes over 850 questions in its database. The CBET study guide has been used by thousands of BMETs to help them prepare for the CBET exam.

In the late 1980s, after the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (now The Joint Commission) moved from prescriptive department-based requirements to outcome-oriented standards, Ethan formed AAMI’s Quality Assurance and Risk Management Subcommittee. The committee produced the document “Design of Clinical Engineering Quality Assurance and Risk Management Programs.” This monograph provided basic information about quality indicators to a generation of BMETs and CEs.

In the mid-1990s, Ethan proposed the creation of the AAMI Medical Equipment Management Committee, and then led that committee in the development of the standard ANSI/AAMI EQ56:1999 “Recommended Practice for a Medical Equipment Management Program.” This document identifies the minimum requirements for assuring that that a healthcare organization properly maintains its medical equipment. A revised version was issued in 2013, and a new version is expected to be released in 2020. EQ56 is now cited as a source document by CMS, TJC and DNV as part of their own hospital accreditation standards.

Currently, Mr. Hertz works as a clinical engineer for the Duke University Health System. He has also worked for the New Jersey Hospital Association, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Union Memorial Hospital, Quality Healthcare Resources (now known as Joint Commission Resources), Duke University Hospital, and the Duke Clinical Research Unit.

Over the years, he has served as a board member of BMETS, AAMI and ACCE. He has been a member of several AAMI committees, including the Clinical Engineering Management Committee, Clinical Engineering Cost Effectiveness and Productivity Subcommittee, and Medical Equipment Management Committee. He was also a member of the Joint Commission’s Committee on Healthcare Safety. In the community, he served on the Durham Civilian Police Review Board, leading that board for five years, along with service as a board member and officer of local non-profits.

​Ethan holds a BE (Electrical Engineering) from Cooper Union, an MS (Electrical Engineering-Bioengineering) from Carnegie Mellon University, an MAS from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (Maryland) and a certified clinical engineer. For over 50 years, he has been a licensed amateur radio operator.

2020 Antonio Hernandez International Clinical Engineering Award

​This award is conferred to one CE Professional or a group of CE professionals from a country in which CE is an emerging field in recognition of that person's or group of persons' extraordinary contributions to the advancement of CE in his/her/their own country or, to an individual or a group of professionals from another country/countries for his/her/their extraordinary efforts in supporting this advance.


Executive Board of Mexican Society of Biomedical Engineering (SOMIB)

Executive Board of Mexican Society of Biomedical Engineering (SOMIB)

​The award winner this year is the Executive Board of Mexican Society of Biomedical Engineering (SOMIB) for its leadership and consistently organizing high-quality events that showcased clinical engineering in Mexico for over 5 years.


​Each of these events had about 2,000 attendees.  Although most of them are undergraduate and graduate students in various specialties of biomedical engineering, there is a regular presence of clinical engineering professionals from not only Mexico but also several Central American countries, as well as some South American ones.  In addition, in 2019 SOMIB hosted the VII Latin American Conference on Biomedical Engineering (CLAIB19) in Cancún, Mexico, again with strong emphasis on clinical engineering.  This highly successful event was also attended by leaders from Asia and Europe.  Among the SOMIB leaders to be recognized are: Herberth Bravo H, Eduardo Méndez P, Jaime Arturo Quirarte T, and Janetthe Mariana Tarin L.

2020 ACCE/HTF International Organization Award

​This Award is conferred to a professional organization outside of the United States and Canada that has enabled significant improvements in clinical engineering/healthcare technology management (CE/HTM) in its respective country after starting to collaborate with ACCE with the support from WHO, IFMBE, PAHO, and others. This award is sponsored by the Healthcare Technology Foundation.


Japan Association for Clinical Engineers (JACE)

Japan Association for Clinical Engineers (JACE)

​The award winner this year is the Japan Association for Clinical Engineers (JACE).


The JACE was established as a voluntary, non-profit incorporated association in 1990, and as of 2020, has about 20,000 members.  The profession of clinical engineer was recognized by the Japanese government in 1988 through the Clinical Engineer Act.  Only licensed clinical engineers can operate, maintain and inspect life supportive or assistive devices.  The 1st National Examination of Clinical Engineers was conducted in 1989 and 33 national examinations have been conducted since then.  Today, there are about 40,000 clinical engineers licensed in Japan.

In addition to medical device management tasks, Japanese clinical engineers are proficient in operating a variety of medical equipment, such as those used in respiratory therapy, perfusion, hemodialysis, operating room, intensive care unit, cardiovascular catheterization, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, pacemaking/ICD, arrhythmia ablation therapy, endoscopy, and home care.

To promote this clinical engineering model globally, JACE has partnered with WHO, IFMBE, and ACCE.  JACE signed a mutual collaboration and assistance agreement with ACCE last June.  Afterwards, JACE co-sponsored a session with ACCE at the 2019 AAMI Exchange. This session was entitled “Medical Device Incident reporting and investigations in the US and Japan” and was co-chaired by Jun Yoshioka from Gunma Paz University, Tomokazu Nagasawa from the University of Colorado Health and Binseng Wang, BSI. The speakers were Dr. Larry Fennigkoh from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Dr. Fumika Aoki from the Japan Association for the Advancement of Medical Equipment. This session was well attended and received rave reviews from attendees afterwards.

​In Asia, JACE is cooperating with several countries (e.g., China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Philippines) by providing technical and educational support for hemodialysis programs and qualification of clinical engineering professionals. 

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