Janet Major, associate director for innovation and digital health at the Arizona Telemedicine Program in the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was honored as an American Telemedicine Association Fellow on March 5 during the American Telemedicine Association annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Election to the ATA College of Fellows recognizes significant achievements in telemedicine, service to the general telemedicine community and service to the ATA. Major, who joined the Arizona Telemedicine Program when it started in 1996, established several key special interest groups that elevated national and regional conversation, access and learning around telemedicine.
“I am honored to join my peers and fellow champions in telemedicine as an ATA Fellow,” Major said. “This celebrates my lifelong career in telemedicine with the network of experts in ATA that I have had the privilege and honor of working with for over 25 years.”
“The Arizona Telemedicine Program has been a member of the American Telemedicine Association from the start. Dr. Ronald Weinstein was a founding leader in the association, and he encouraged ATP’s executive team to get involved,” said Arizona Telemedicine Program Interim Director Kristine Erps Stewart, who nominated Major for the honor. “Janet took that encouragement and started working behind the scenes with the ATA and throughout Arizona.”
Major implemented technology and training for low-bandwidth video conferencing technology utilizing a wired phone line for connectivity to Navajo Area Chapter Houses beginning in the late 1990s. In 2004, with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, she helped establish the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium bringing together leaders from universities in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah to identify and eliminate barriers unique to the Southwest. The consortium progressed to a discussion group within the ATA and evolved into the Interstate Special Interest Group.
Major developed telegenetics curriculum for the National Genetics Collaborative and authored one of few articles on facility design in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. With the Arizona Telemedicine Program team, she installed the program’s telemedicine suite template in Arizona prisons, community health centers and rural clinics, as well as in a Panama hospital, enabling telemedicine connections to rural tribal areas. She provided advice for room design and the clinical integration of technology for health care in Mexico, Canada and Alaska.
“Janet is a dedicated educator and advocate of telemedicine, broadband and the use of technologies to improve patient care via telehealth. She regularly meets with providers and health care organizations around Arizona to spread the word about telemedicine benefits and help them build and grow their programs,” said Elizabeth A. Krupinski, PhD, director of the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and a past ATA Fellow.
A significant topic of discussion regarding telemedicine and national broadband expansion revolves around digital health navigation, which has been an important part of Major’s work since she began partnering with the Indian Health Service and community health representatives in 2000.
“Telemedicine has supported our state’s economy since we began over 25 years ago. We now support applications and solutions which we have demonstrated are very critical for our communities so we can provide connectivity and technology to folks who may not ever own a cellphone,” Major said. “Public places for private conversations about our health is an important part of our future and our health, and it’s a topic I have always been passionate about as a technology and videoconferencing expert.”