At the Frontline: 2009 ASIS President Michael Cummings

Cummings discusses the future of ASIS and his security responsibilities at Aurora Health Care


Staff development and having the right people with the right skills to do the work is a big part of my job. Another big part of the job is to constantly evaluate the department's organizational structure to meet my internal partner needs. The vast array of regulatory and legislative issues, not to mention policies and procedures, within healthcare that are security related present challenges too.

When I look some of the areas that need ongoing and dedicated support, I consider access control issues in an environment that is open to some degree 24/7. I also look at the protection for especially vulnerable patients such as newborns, elderly and those here unexpectedly, such as emergency room patients. The issues of narcotics controls is also a high priority.

Added to this thumbnail sketch of some considerations is the backdrop of what all security directors are dealing with now: the macro economy and a very complex society with many "opportunities" for things to go wrong. Our violence in the workplace prevention program, which we first developed in 1995, is one tool we use in a collaborative manner to be proactive.

How has ASIS helped you in your professional career and how long have you been a member?

I first joined ASIS in 1978. My involvement in the Healthcare Security Committee, later renamed the Council on Healthcare Security, provided access to the best and brightest for me to learn from across the country. I had always networked well on the local level through my ASIS chapter, but this really gave me access to ideas and processes I could implement. Then of course there are all of the educational and other support features available through ASIS. I have found the Resource Center very helpful with project work and the many workshops on healthcare security and of course the sessions in the Seminars outstanding. In recent years, the vast array of information available on the web page has become immense. Whether it is a status on guidelines or standards, information created by the Foundation's work, or specifically focused data, or the [ASIS] CSO Roundtable I can always find an answer or at least the start of obtaining more information.

What are your goals for 2009 as president of ASIS International?

I always speak about stewardship and continuity. Our continuity of purpose model is tied to our strategic plans, and it is the guiding beacon for any president we have and the volunteer leadership team as a whole. This year we are focusing on several areas in addition to all of the things we routinely do. I see four in particular:

- Continued efforts in the area of public policy. We need to be monitoring and staying involved in legislation, regulation and the like or we will be in a purely react mode when laws are passed that might not really be in the best interest of securing our communities and work places.

- Continued leadership in the areas of guidelines and standards. Through the ANSI and ISO process and with the involvement of so many members who can contribute, we are ideally placed to have global impact in the most positive sense. Like public policy, we need to lead, follow or get out of the way. Personally, I think we need to lead and I think we are now leading.

- Migrating toward partnerships and serving communities of interest within the profession as we mature and find our role in the enterprise security risk management world and ultimately enterprise risk management. This will include identifying partners who compliment us in our journey and continuing our efforts with the newly formed CSO Roundtable.

- Continued global outreach in the continuation of the offshore seminars and workshops we produce such as Asia Pacific, European and as planned at this point, the Middle East in December. These are complimented by our work in the above listed areas that are truly global such as standards writing. We are also positioned to have our first non-US-based president in 2012 which speaks to how really global we are.

What are some of the top ASIS programs which you have championed?