Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council Receives National Award from Health Industry Leaders

The Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council (ATIC) has had an important and impactful vision for over 35 years -that all Arizona citizens, businesses, schools, organizations, and communities have access to high-capacity Internet and the tools, technologies, and skills to participate effectively in the networked world. Telecommunications and telehealth go hand-in-hand, so over the past 25 years I have been a member of and currently serve as an active board member of ATIC.

The Arizona Telemedicine Program’s relationship with ATIC has been very important and critical to the vision of both organizations: to foster the growth of telecommunications connectivity for telehealth. This has been much more than a “friendship” or professional interest for me personally. The simple idea that if someone has technology plus bandwidth it would directly translate to access to healthcare is not so simple. My BS Degree in Telecommunications from Northern Arizona University did not really cover today’s digital world, however, through networking with leaders and experts in the telecom industry I can make sense of the complicated and necessary infrastructure needed to connect people in the world we live in. I remember a college professor saying, “Someday we will all do our banking from home” and it sounded so laughable. Not so funny these days considering I can see a doctor using my cellphone without leaving my sickbed. We now live the Jetsons’ lives of Saturday morning cartoons, but it has been a long road of infrastructure to get us here.

Throughout the years ATIC, ATP and our subsidiary, the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC), have produced an in-person Telecommunications for Telehealth event as a service to the general public to promote the idea that access to broadband means access to healthcare. This work continues to pay off as our state continues to develop the necessary telecommunications infrastructure.

On June 1, 2022, our program was honored to host an award ceremony honoring ATIC from the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC). The Redefining American Healthcare Award was presented to ATIC Chair Mark Goldstein, and it was another excellent opportunity for ATIC and ATP to celebrate telehealth from a broadband connectivity and educational perspective. “As ATIC Chair, it was an honor for our group to receive the Healthcare Leadership Council’s Redefining American Healthcare Award for the role we have played in bringing the tele to telehealth here in Arizona through our telehealth public policy advocacy, digital equity efforts with the Arizona Broadband Stakeholders Network (AZBSN), and long-time partnership with the Arizona Telemedicine Council who has been a world-class telehealth leader for over a quarter century, as well as Arizona State Libraries who have been driving delivery of telehealth capabilities and services through innovative initiatives.” HLC honored ATIC for facilitating collaboration, coordination, information sharing and communication among key public, private and nonprofit stakeholders. ATIC developed a statewide COVID-19 digital access strategy to support, schools, universities, community colleges, students, homes, libraries, health care facilities, businesses, and communities.

ATIC Lobbyist and Arizona Telemedicine Council Member Michael Keeling commented that:
“It was a privilege to reminisce ATIC’s decade’s long efforts during the Healthcare Leadership Council’s Redefining American Healthcare Award ceremony yesterday. As with all things important—many folks within ATIC collaborated over the years to bring about the changes we celebrated. We thank them all.”

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar shared a video for the celebration and said “ATIC’s innovative and unique programs are exceptional and timely for Arizonans. This award is a reflection on the hard work that ATIC has done to improve the quality of life for patients.”

This event and award recognized that broadband telecommunications is a critical infrastructure essential to the educational, economic, health, welfare, safety, and community development of Arizona’s communities. We look forward to continuing this great partnership and sharing the expertise of our telecommunications colleagues as we support the leadership of State Broadband Director Jeff Sobotka; and we continue to move towards a future where of Arizona's citizens, businesses, schools, organizations and communities have access to high-capacity Internet and the tools, technologies and skills to participate effectively in the networked world.

About the Author

Janet Major's picture

JJanet Major is the Associate Director for Innovation & Digital Health for the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC). Her role includes the planning, development and installation of the teleconferencing and telemedicine technology used for providing telemedicine services in a wide variety of locations. She provides training for all levels of healthcare professionals in the effective use of videoconferencing for clinical and educational applications used for LIVE interactive and store-and-forward applications. She has served as a leader for several statewide and national organizations with an emphasis on those that promote and support recruiting, training and preparing the healthcare workforce of the future.

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