Bob Waters was a gentleman of vision, an energetic voice for what he called “the right thing to do”, and a good friend to the members of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
Bob became an advocate for simulation after seeing a demonstration of simulators at the 2006 American Telemedicine Association meeting. When he was told that no one had any experience going into the offices on Capitol Hill, his eyes sparkled. “That’s where I can help – I’m a lobbyist.”
That was the beginning of a society that arose in parallel to the Society for Simulation in Healthcare – AIMS, the Advanced Initiative in Medical Simulation. AIMS was formed by a small group of SSH members in 2006, at the same time as SSH was beginning. It was incorporated separately from SSH, in order to allow it to actively lobby for government support of simulation, from bench top research and development, to team training scenarios to establishment of brick and mortar Centers of Excellence. With Bob’s help, AIMS introduced Bills in the House and Senate to establish a budget line for funding simulation. AIMS held annual meetings where SSH members learned how to advocate for medical simulation to key members of the House and Senate. Our first Bill had over 130 co-sponsors, and Bob led the parade, as he called it, up and down the halls of Congress.
Bob Waters was a committed champion for simulation from the moment that light went off in his head. He taught anyone who wanted to learn how to successfully advocate for a purpose within the Federal system. As a successful lobbyist at Drinker, Biddle and Reath, he could open Member’s doors, from the rank and file to Committee Chairs. Bob was a visionary champion of new technologies in medicine. He was a gifted teacher for all the SSH members who came to Washington and climbed the Hill to push for our cause under the AIMS umbrella. Bob’s life was cut short by a brain tumor that claimed him at the peak of his career at age 55. To honor his memory, the AIMS Board and the SSH have established the Bob Waters Memorial Scholarship Fund to support students in healthcare simulation.