Thursday, April 28, 2011

Personal Recognition and the CSA

The other day I received a letter from the Canadian Standards Association that I am being recognized with a 2011 Award of Merit in recognition for “visionary leadership, renowned expertise and dedication to the development and advancement of medical laboratory standards”.  I will receive the award in June at the CSA Annual Meeting in Victoria BC.  

I am not prone to personal aggrandizement, but I must say that I am really pleased by this award.  In my world, receiving a CSA Award of Merit is equivalent to receiving an Oscar or Genie.  (For those not from Canada, a Genie is a Canadian Cinema Award statue).  In the world of standards development, Canada and the Canadian Standards Association is a world leader within a very small group of leaders; ISO (obviously), CSA (Canada), DIN (Germany), BSI (UK) and maybe NATA (Australia).  So to be a recipient of a CSA award is a big deal.

Similar to other organizations the Canadian Standards Association was developed to solve the problem of incompatible technical resources that manifested during WW1.  By 1918 the organization was recognized by the young Canadian federal government as the Canadian Engineering Standards Association (CESA) with documents on the railway, bridges, and electricity, all the essential issues of the developing era of the 1920’s.  The Canadian Electrical Code was the milestone document in 1927.  
Over the years, CSA (so named in the early 1950’s) has been on the  leading edge of  every modern development, timber, steel, nuclear power, public health and occupational health, and now environmental health.   

It would be impossible to estimate how many children would have been crippled or worse had it not been for CSA focus on sports (hockey, bicycles)  helmets.  But it likely is in the millions. 

Many qualitologists (including me) are aware that one of the two seed documents that lead to ISO9000 was developed by the US military and  later modified for civilian use by BSI.  Far fewer (again, including me) know that the other document was from CSA’s Z299 series for quality assurance for the nuclear industry.

As Canadians we all know about the CSA mark on our toasters, and radios, and helmets, but I suspect  most are unaware of the major mark on international health that CSA has played in the design of health care facilities, delivery of anaesthesia and dental care,  and diabetic care, sterilization and blood transfusion and transplantation.  Hospitals around the world have benefited from CSA published standards of care.  

My personal connection with CSA began in 1996 when it rescued our fledgling Canadian Advisory Committee that was engaged with the formulation of ISO15189.  We had been raising our own resources, traveling at our own expence, and depending upon the good graces of our employers.  Had CSA not come along, we would not have been able to stay engaged in the development of that standard.  I don’t know what the document would have looked like in our absence, but I can say with absolute confidence, that it would not have been as good as it is now.  
More importantly the quality revolution that has now taken hold in medical laboratories now sweeping across Canada never would have developed the traction to get the conversation started.

So I am really pleased to have had a long standing link with CSA, and am grateful beyond grateful for the recognition.   It means a lot to me.
I have a lot of time for the Canadian Standards Association.

And so should you.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! It is great to hear that all your hard work and effort is being recognized.


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