by Caleb Graves, Advocacy Committee Chair and Director of Business Development at Staffing As A Mission (saam)
On February 19, TN HIMSS partnered with the Nashville Technology Council for the 2nd Annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Nashville. It was a day packed with action and activity. The 111th General Assembly convened for the first time in January and the theme this legislative session has been CHANGE due to all the new faces around the Capitol. Tennessee has a newly elected Governor, Lt. Governor, House and Senate Leaders, plus 32 newly elected legislators. This new group of elected officials is the largest turnover at the Capitol in over 20 years! Thus, it was the perfect time for our Chapter to spread the word about TN HIMSS and the role we are playing to advocate for the advancement of the Healthcare Information Technology community.
Throughout the day our message to legislators was how the technology community with the assistance of organizations like TN HIMSS can help bridge the IT talent gap across the state and in Middle Tennessee. At any given time, there are 7,000 unfilled IT positions in Nashville alone. Many of these are Health IT positions and as a community we need to be working together to make sure our employers and workforce are prepared and ready to meet market demands. As a technology community, it is imperative we are working together with all levels of government, community groups, businesses, non-profits, colleges and universities, and others to address this issue.
In total our group met with 10+ legislators including the following:
- Lt. Governor Randy McNally
- Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson
- Senate Deputy Speaker Janice Bowling
- Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro
- House Speaker Glen Casada
- House Leader William Lamberth
Following our day of meetings, TN HIMSS was part of a Legislators Reception at the Musicians Hall of Fame that was attended by approximately 200 people including TN HIMSS members, state legislators, healthcare executives, entrepreneurs, technology advocates, community leaders, and several other thought leaders and influencers.