ASHRM: Risk managers must take the lead role

The president of the American Society for Risk Management (ASHRM) in Chicago says risk managers must take a lead role in preparing their organizations for a terrorist attack or a community response to terrorism.

Geri Amori, PhD, ARM, FASHRM, risk manager with Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, VT, and president of ASHRM, says health care risk managers must take a lead role and coordinate a multidisciplinary approach.

"We’ve always been involved in emergency preparedness and organizing the hospital’s disaster response, so this is not a new area for us," she says. "But this is definitely something that needs everyone’s attention more than ever, and the risk manager is the person who should be at the forefront. Take a leadership role."

Amori also expressed sympathy for the Sept. 11 victims on behalf of ASHRM and acknowledged that many members have expressed concern.

"Many of you responded with personal and professional views that were touching and reassuring during this time of national healing," Amori wrote in a letter to members on the ASHRM web site. The ASHRM board assessed the members’ concern about traveling to the ASHRM Annual Conference scheduled for Oct. 29 to Nov. 1, but determined that the conference was more important than ever.

The board unanimously voted to move forward with the conference, citing "the need to come together as an organization to support our colleagues and friends in health care risk management; the opportunity to facilitate the dialogue amongst risk managers about health care readiness and disaster preparedness; and canceling the conference would allow terrorism to prevail."

However, ASHRM arranged to step up the security already planned for the conference.

"Furthermore, I believe it behooves us all to recognize that the world, as we believed it, no longer exists. The specter of danger has been seen. It will not go away completely," Amori says. "That being said, we cannot stop living just in case we happen to be where the next event occurs."