IAHSS Goes Virtual for Its 52nd Annual Conference & Exhibition

The first-ever virtual event included educational sessions, professional development opportunities, live Q&As, and the chance to chat with other attendees.

IAHSS Goes Virtual for Its 52nd Annual Conference & Exhibition

This year, healthcare professionals were able to attend the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety’s (IAHSS) 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibition from the comfort of their own home.

The in-person show originally scheduled for May was pushed back to August due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, for the safety and well being of all participants, the decision to go virtual with the event was made in June with the new date of September 1-3.

While this year’s event looked a little different than years past, using the virtual event platform Whova, the show was still able to feature a wide range of educational sessions, professional development opportunities, and networking events. Attendees had the chance to earn up to seven CHPA CE hours, participate in live Q&As with presenters, create their own profiles and send messages to other attendees through a community board.

Furthermore, participants were able to visit a virtual exhibit hall where exhibitors listed product offerings and coupons, raffled off prizes, and held live chats. There was also an IAHSS Foundation awards recognition ceremony held live on Facebook.

Featured Sessions, Presenters

One of the conference sessions, titled “Workplace Violence in Healthcare,” was extremely timely as IAHSS’ latest hospital crime survey found that in 2019, Type 2 assaults (patient-on-staff and visitor-on-staff incidents) jumped 25% from the previous year and aggravated assaults more than doubled.

In the session, James Blando, an associate professor at Old Dominion University and former research scientist with the New Jersey Department of Public Health, presented a summary of the multiple National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studies he has been involved in with. He discussed how community crime relates to violence in hospitals, innovative strategies employed by various security programs, and challenges with various policy issues.

For many hospitals, retaining top-performing security professionals is a continuous struggle for an abundance of reasons. In the session “How to Make Your Security Training Program Stand Out,” JJ Goulbourne, captain and training coordinator for CoxHealth’s Department of Public Safety, spoke to the importance of implementing a security officer training program that attracts a strong workforce. He discussed how programs require significant planning, budgeting, and careful selection of both instructors and recruits, as well as knowledge of the legal aspects of a successful training plan.

When asked during a Q&A what his top five “must-haves” for healthcare security are, Goulbourne replied, “Senior leadership buy-in, relevant training, reliable equipment, competent personnel, and leadership training and mentoring at all levels.”

Perhaps the most timely session was “Valuable Lessons Learned in Healthcare Security and Safety from the COVID-19 Crisis,” a panel-style discussion led by Paul Sarnese, assistant vice president of safety, security and emergency preparedness at Virtua Health, Bonnie Michelman, executive director of police, security and outside services for Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners Healthcare, Inc., and Jonathan Acorn, director of operations for Lower Mainland Integrated Protection Services at Fraser Health.

During the session, the trio shared what their hospital security and safety departments have been experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic. They discussed lessons learned about personal protective equipment (PPE), working with leadership, staffing, and increased security issues, including behavioral health patients.

To view more sessions and content from IAHSS’ 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibition, visit www.iahss.org/ACE. You can continue to access the content through the month of November.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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