Arizona Telemedicine Blog Book - Page 14

Arizona Telemedicine Program and Arizona SciTech Forge Statewide STEM Connections B y D ebb i e G u b e r n i c k o n April 23, 2015 T he Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP), a national leader in providing broadband telemedicine services, recently embraced a partnership with Arizona SciTech that has amplified STEM outreach efforts throughout the Grand Canyon State. In February 2015, ATP collaborated with Arizona SciTech to produce the 2015 Arizona SciTech kickoff event, a virtual press conference. The event, itself a STEM tour de force, connected nine locations across the state, giving communities from Clarkdale to Safford the opportunity to highlight their upcoming STEM events. “Where do people go who don’t have Internet in their home, or a computer? They go to the libraries. So we have to be able to provide access to resources there.” – Janet Major 14 With the participation of seven mayors, the teleconference made a powerful statement about the importance of STEM in Arizona. When the teleconference was first proposed, Arizona SciTech Executive Director Jeremy Babendure wondered if it was feasible. But after discussions with ATP’s Janet Major, Chris Martin, and Pete Yonsetto, he realized that ATP’s expertise would position the event for success. As Major, ATP’s Associate Director of Facilities, explained: “This stuff has to work. We would never schedule an event and not have tested with the site because it can’t be, ‘Gee, this stuff is great—when it works.’ This is what we do for a living, so it has to work every time.” ATP’s experience in overcoming the obstacles and barriers to successful teleconferencing were particularly useful when selecting each of the nine press conference sites. Major explained why finding and scheduling space is a critical challenge: Room scheduling is a big obstacle in the world of videoconferencing. To communicate at a distance requires technology, space, network, and technical support, all of which can be challenges especially in rural locations. But beyond governmental firewalls and trying