by Nancy Koziol
A large part of MedShare's success is the commitment of its people – staff and volunteers – to bridging the gap between surplus and need to improve healthcare for those with the greatest needs throughout the world. MedShare is proud to announce that our own dedicated engineer Eben Amstrong was named 2008 Biomedical Engineer of the Year for the State of Georgia.
Eben accepting his award at the GBIS Awards Banquet
Selected from a competitive and impressive group of finalists, MedShare's Eben Amstrong received the honor at the Georgia Biomedical Instrumentation Society banquet in Macon, Georgia.
Eben has worked at MedShare for more than two and a half years – first as a volunteer and then filling the role as the organization's sole biomedical engineer. His role involves inspection and maintenance of all medical systems and equipment, as well as, training the employees at hospitals and clinics that receive MedShare equipment.
It will come as no surprise to those familiar with MedShare that Eben's work involves extremely long days – often from 8 am until after 10 pm – and a considerable amount of international travel. His work has taken him to Sierra Leone, Ghana, Honduras, Liberia, Nigeria, and other locations in Africa and South America. He is often the only person who accompanies the shipments, and the training he provides means the difference between life and death for those in need of medical attention.
His stories are both daunting and optimistic. Eben tells about a time when he was in Nigeria to train staff at a pediatric hospital, and while he was there, the machine which measures oxygen saturation failed during a procedure. He was able to fix the equipment during surgery and saved the life of that child.
Another time, while in Colombia, he realized that an ultrasound machine had sat unused in a hospital for three years because a transistor was on the wrong setting. Even though this situation is not as dramatic as the one in Nigeria, it demonstrates how education and training can make all the difference.
When in Atlanta, Eben holds training classes two times a month, with students from GA Tech, DeVry Institute and Chatahootchee Tech. After hearing of Eben's award, his students brought him a signed banner saying "Congratulations".
Eben describes his philosophy one of sustainability – "I want to teach them to fish" so that the people on the other side of the shipments can care for the equipment. This is the feeling he tries to impart to his students.
A.B. was the keynote speaker at the GBIS conference and proudly supporting Eben's achievement
"Eben's passion and dedication to the people we serve around the world is what makes him an excellent biomedical engineer. MedShare is very fortunate to have someone of his caliber apart of the team," said A.B. Short.
When Eben learned that he won this prestigious award, he said "I deserve it."
MedShare is thrilled to have Eben on staff and incredibly proud of him. Congratulations Eben!