They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that was certainly on display at the 2023 AIRA National Meeting. I often refer to this conference as coming back to summer camp as we meet up with people we haven’t seen in a while and pick up right where we left off. But this year felt a bit different. For many of us, there was a three-year gap in seeing colleagues in person, and as one team member noted, the atmosphere seemed to be more like a platoon returning after an incredibly difficult battle. COVID response was an arduous and fatiguing campaign, and we celebrated making it through together as a community.
This year’s AIRA National Meeting did not disappoint. While I personally was anxious about mingling with 500+ people from our IIS community within an enclosed space, I was excited to see people and have some in-depth discussions that are hard to do over Zoom. From the opening welcome to the last session, chatting with old friends and making new ones was as motivating, engaging and inspiring as I remembered. A first-time attendee, Gita Prabhakar, an HLN senior business analyst, thought it was great to be in the same space with people talking the same language and working to solve similar problems.
The tone of the conference was informative and casual! Interspersing serious content with fun and engaging gamification is pure AIRA. Our HLN contingent included 18 colleagues, including project managers, business analysts and developers. For many of our team, this was their first IIS conference, and Tammy Seithel, an HLN senior business analyst, spoke for many of our first timers about her excitement in putting faces to the names of people she interacts with on a daily basis. Our whole team appreciated the depth and breadth of the information presented that catered to both technical and non-technical audiences, as well as the informal atmosphere of the conference. One vendor remarked that he had never attended such a congenial conference…that is our immunization community!
Kicking off the conference with a timely topic of managing personal and professional burnout, the speaker engaged with the audience and facilitated small group participant discussions to share their own self-care/de-stressors. This started us off on the right foot in terms of recognizing the stresses of the past three years and having us meet some new people within our IIS community. However, this was just the beginning of timely topics covered in the meeting. The CDC spoke to organizational changes underway, as well as immunization program workforce competencies and development with their PHII partner, data exchange via the IZ Gateway and a national policy session with AIM, AIRA and AVAC… so many acronyms in PH (I couldn’t resist). And no AIRA National Meeting would be complete without hearing from the AIRA Board of Directors and updates to AIRA’s Measurement and Improvement Initiative.
Our HLN team thought there was a good balance of technical and non-technical topics, as well as tactical and strategic sessions offered. Zach Betz, an HLN senior developer, thought this mix provided him with a foundational understanding of the IIS landscape. Stan Markov, another HLN senior developer, appreciated hearing what other jurisdictions, vendors and organizations were doing in areas of Bulk FHIR queries.
HLN and our clients were well represented in conference presentations. The list is provided below with hyperlinks to the HLN presentation slides. Our sessions highlighted technical innovations such as leveraging FHIR for bulk queries of the IIS, soft skills with guidance for getting published, staffing considerations pre, during and post pandemic, analytics for IIS assessment, and tactical uses of the IIS Requirements Traceability Matrix. The sessions were well attended, received positive feedback in terms of their content and relevance, and spurred collaborative discussions among meeting participants. Gita found the overall sense of common purpose palpable in the Meeting and the sharing of knowledge and ideas refreshing.
HLN AIRA National Meeting Presentations:
- Data Modernization Initiative: Impact on IIS
- From Presentation to Publication: Advice from the AIRA Publication Workgroup
- Use of an Analytics Database for Reporting COVID-19 Vaccination Data in NYC
- Joint Development of an IIS Shared Service Layer for Immunization Gateway
- A Workforce Development & Management Approach During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Utilizing the IIS Baseline Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)
The AIRA 2023 National Meeting agenda and materials can be referenced on the AIRA website
Send us feedback about this blog