By Jonathan Perreira, Arts & Entertainment Editor
North of Boston stands the city of Beverly, and inside a hospital functional and flourishing. This is where the story of one of New England’s first Healthcare chapters started, right at UMass Dartmouth.
Michael Kilbride, an intern at Beverly Hospital, works as a multi-trade technician, which essentially meant he was engineering his way through most problems at the hospital. If a light was out, the generator was faulty, or if a desk had to meet doom by the blunt head of a sledgehammer, Kilbride was the guy to do it.
The head technician became friends with Kilbride, and eventually offered him a unique opportunity: to start the first ever student chapter of an international Healthcare organization on his campus. With the sponsorship of the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) behind him, Kilbride got to work all of Fall 2017.
Now, the club has finally been approved and is getting its feet off the ground. Simultaneously, The University of Connecticut started its own chapter this very semester as well, and together these two organizations form the only student chapters of the New England Healthcare Engineer Society (NEHES). This may peak your interest as a Nursing, Mechanical Engineering, or Operations Management major, but if you don’t fall under any of those – don’t turn the page just yet.
I went to my first NEHES meeting expecting lots of engineering and healthcare jargon I could barely keep up with. Instead, I met a passionate and charismatic executive board and had one of the most engaging experiences at a club I’ve ever had. The E-Board consists of President Michael Kilbride, Vice President Trevor Robertson, Treasurer Trevor Faria, and Secretary Sawyer Pollitt. Between the four, they cover the majors Operations Management, Physics, and History. They held their meeting at a quirky and fun pace, keeping the entire hour almost at an open forum.
Early in the meeting, the E –Board described a fact that instantly zigged my perspective on NEHES: being one of the first student chapters allows its parent organization and ASHE to give the club an absurd amount of opportunities.
ASHE offered three scholarships of $2000 to UMass Dartmouth students (NEHES members) that could make it to an ASHE conference in March. Unfortunately, the conference is in Nashville, but that is only one example.
In April in the city of Leominster, MA, there will be a NEHES conference, and the parent society would pay for about 10 member’s transportation and hotel rooms between the two chapters. You see, because these student chapters are the only ones, the budget that NEHES and ASHE can allocate to them is incredible and unique. So as far as internship and scholarship opportunities, this may be the most fruitful club on campus.
As exciting as this news was to hear, the resident graphic design major (myself), too quickly lost interest. What exactly did any of this mean for me? Little did I know that, as the meeting went on, I would eventually have my own spotlight in the room of members, explaining how graphic design, interior design, and exemplary signage would be able to optimize and engineer a better hospital experience. I almost had no idea what I was talking about! But it was exhilarating and fun, all due to the environment Kilbride, his team, and its member have fostered.
UMass Dartmouth’s NEHES and all of its members will be able to organize guest speakers and on-campus events as one big team. There is no cost to be a part of this student team, but to receive the opportunity for internships and scholarships in New England, a member must pay $10 to become a member of the NEHES parent (not just the student chapter). To receive those same opportunities but internationally, an alternative $25 would be paid to join ASHE.
I will be continuing to attend NEHES meetings, as I am excited to learn what other people and majors plan to bring to the table. Kilbride explained it best, “Why should students come? Everyone is affected by hospitals in some way, so we should learn how they operate behind the scenes because there is a lot more going on that just doctors. And we can learn by having fun!”
NEHES meets in LARTS Room 109 every other Friday, and will be meeting this Friday March 2. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m sure you’ll be met with the same friendliness and passion I was.