On June 19, members of the New York State chapter of HIMSS met at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I interviewed chapter leader Tony Ferrante about his selection of this venue and his dedication for more than four decades as a HIMSS volunteer. This post is the first in an ongoing series regarding our HIMSS chapter leaders.
Tony Ferrante is a hardworking man, to say the least. He has served concurrently on two HIMSS chapter boards for the better part of a decade, and has worked in the health IT industry for over 42 years.
A Leader in New Jersey and New York State Chapters
As of 2017, Tony Ferrante (pictured right) serves his fifth year on the NY chapter’s events committee and for a fourth year as committee lead. The chapter recently hosted its second Mini-HIMSS Annual Conference at the Legends Suite Club directly behind Yankee Stadium’s home plate.
I had the chance to speak with Tony about his experience hosting this event. When I asked why he chose Yankee Stadium as the venue, our conversation took an unexpected yet endearing turn.
Tony recalled his own experiences at the baseball park, attending many games with his grandsons over the years. While Tony understands the importance of his work, he maintains that family will always be his number one priority. It’s possible that these fond memories with family are part of what inspired him to host the chapter’s largest event at one of baseball’s most iconic homes.
Location, Location, Location
Tony also mentioned that he is always looking to find unique venues to attract a new audience base.
“Everybody goes to a hotel, everybody goes to a big conference room,” Tony explained, noting that attendees will have an opportunity to tour the stadium and even walk out onto the playing field. He admits that hotel venues have their advantages. As I learned during my visit, a quick ride on the NY subway easily transports riders from the hotels of Midtown Manhattan to the Bronx, home of Yankee Stadium.
This year’s conference theme was “Leading Organizations through an Era of Change.” The theme addresses the impact of the 2016 US presidential election, including topics such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on the healthcare industry. The event encouraged ongoing feedback from the attendees (300+ this year) — forgoing traditional lectures and panel discussion for more audience participation and input that engaged and energized audience members.
A Local Angle for Chapter Conference Education
Tony indicated that telehealth will influence the course of health IT in New York, especially in the rural areas of the upstate region. With additional attention on privacy & security, along with population health, these hot topics continue to interest many states and regions across the nation.
Always strategizing on tactics to attract new attendees, Tony and the New York group have identified nurses as an important community for their chapter. As a result, this year the chapter introduced a nurses poster program, where nursing groups can display their initiatives on healthcare-related posters to generate interest and facilitate discussions.
Another major draw for this event was the presence of Judy Murphy, IBM Global Watson Healthcare and former HIMSS board member, who presented on the innovations of artificial intelligence in the healthcare setting. She also led the chapter’s nursing symposium.
Chapter Committee Growth and Scope
Tony and I ended our meeting watching a captivating presentation by Edward Marx, chief information officer at The Advisory Board Company, who provided a heartfelt closing statement addressing the human side of healthcare and how the importance of our work helps save lives.
As we closed our conversation, I asked Tony about the New York Chapter’s impact on the health IT landscape. He replied that over the last several years, the chapter has seen greater overall involvement due to chapter committee scope and growth. This has directly influenced New York’s total chapter membership, jumping from approximately 1,900 to almost 2,300 members over the last three years.
No doubt, the leadership of Tony and his fellow board members correlates with the success of the New York Chapter of HIMSS, and will continue to have a lasting impact.
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Tony Ferrante serves in leadership positions in both the New Jersey and New York State chapters of HIMSS. He is chief technology strategist with AMF Innovation Consulting, LLC in West Hempstead, NY.