The DO | Opinion | Executive Director's Desk

A new year at the AOA Midyear: ‘Game ready’ to achieve greatness

January at the AOA is always about New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a time to take stock of what you’ve accomplished and look forward to what you want to achieve. As a member of the Maricopa Indian tribe in Arizona would say, “Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something.”

John B. Crosby, JD

John B. Crosby, JD

(Photo by John Reilly Photography)

Last month at our Board of Trustees’ Midyear Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., AOA President Karen J. Nichols, DO, reiterated the AOA’s dream several times. President Nichols’ efforts to lead collaborative strategic planning sessions with all of the other osteopathic medical organizations illustrates the bold approach the AOA is taking in 2011 to achieve our goals and objectives. Her leadership has placed the osteopathic medical profession at the doorstep of competitive greatness as we move forward this year.

GREAT pathways to team success

The AOA team that gathered at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale vowed to make 2011 the year we accomplish all of our resolutions instead of forgetting them in future months. For inspiration in this great task, we look to the goals we achieved in 2010 under each of our GREAT strategic pathways.

G. In the pathway of “Governance”, the AOA Finance Committee presented a report at the Midyear Meeting showing the AOA started 2011 in sound economic and fiscal condition. Our reserves are strong, our investments are earning well (and recouping their losses from the Great Recession), and our budget is balanced. We’re sufficiently in the black to fund new activities and programs for AOA members.

R. “Research” utilizing the AOA’s Clinical Assessment Program (AOA-CAP) signifies the next era in osteopathic quality measurement, improvement and care delivery. Marketing AOA-CAP outside the AOA’s professional family, as called for in the AOA’s new Board-approved business plan, will transform our quality tool from a member benefit into a revenue generator for both the AOA and osteopathic physicians, who can now earn federal bonuses through their participation in AOA-CAP.

In addition, thanks to a great idea from Felix J. Rogers, DO, a longtime associate editor of JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the AOA established a task force to examine how to restructure the JAOA to encourage more original clinical research, to better inform DOs, and to create an evidence base for osteopathic medicine.

E. Learning what works and what doesn’t in “Education” guides the profession as it moves forward. The impressive report submitted by AOA Trustee Robert S. Juhasz, DO, and his Education Policy and Procedure Review Committee III (EPPRC III) is a testament to our willingness to be critical of our operations, change our processes, and re-engineer outgrown systems so that the osteopathic medical education continuum becomes unrivaled in quality. By adopting most of the recommendations in the EPPRC III report at the Midyear Meeting, the AOA Board has set new educational goals this year—goals we can and will achieve to ensure that DOs remain the best-trained physicians in the world.

A. Activities under the “Advocacy” pathway are a prime example of our willingness to tackle ambitious goals. Look no further than our “Agenda for the 112th Congress,” which the Board approved at the Midyear Meeting. The Agenda lays out the priorities for further reforms to our health care system—priorities that have been approved and reaffirmed by the AOA House of Delegates during the past 30 years. These reforms will reshape how care is delivered, and they protect your rights as physicians.

Midyear meeting

During the last of three strategic planning sessions at the AOA Board of Trustees’ midyear meeting, the members of the AOA Strategic Planning Committee rated goals based on both their impact and their ease. In that exercise, Joseph M. Yasso Jr., DO (right), led a subgroup consisting of fellow AOA trustees Mark A. Baker, DO (left), William S. Mayo, DO, and Ray E. Stowers, DO, as well as AOA President Karen J. Nichols, DO. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)

Enacting this Agenda sets the bar high for our advocacy efforts in 2011 and beyond. But we should willingly take on this challenge on behalf of our physicians, our practices and our patients—they deserve no less. We will not stop fighting until we have not only reformed but also transformed our health care system.

To give our advocacy efforts a permanent home in our nation’s capital, the Board authorized lease negotiations to secure space for the National Osteopathic Advocacy Center and Osteopathic History Museum. These institutions will serve as a launching pad for initiatives to advance the AOA Greatness Campaign’s top three priorities: public education and advocacy, expanded osteopathic graduate medical training opportunities, and secured funding to support osteopathic medical research.

T. The AOA’s State Recruitment Initiative is a landmark project under “Teamwork.” In the coming months, the AOA will launch a a joint membership initiative with several state osteopathic medical associations. This pilot project will test strategies for increasing AOA and state membership through joint recruitment efforts, thereby growing the AOA’s professional family and strengthening the membership services we provide as a team.

Win one for the family

But we cannot forget about “Family”—our members—the raison d’être of the AOA. No example better shows what we can accomplish together than OMED 2010 Unified, held in San Francisco last fall and keynoted by former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. This was the AOA’s second unified conference in modern history, bringing together all of our specialty colleges under one roof for dozens of Category 1-A continuing medical education programs and a strategic planning conference that identified the profession’s goals and objectives for fiscal years 2011-13.

As a step toward accomplishing these goals, we have hired several new staff members to direct our conferences and meetings, lead postdoctoral affairs, provide practice management assistance to our members, and market AOA services to the osteopathic medical profession and beyond. These new employees and others to come will join the rest of the staff in taking the AOA’s family events and member services to the next level of greatness.

‘Game ready’ to achieve our dreams

It’s one thing to say, “I have a dream.” It’s a totally different challenge to take our strategic plan—the AOA dream—and obtain results. The question is whether the AOA is “game ready” to achieve our goals.

We have great challenges before us. But we also have a great heritage to build on and many great family members who can take the AOA team into the future by following our six strategic pathways. The virtues, strength and resilience of the entire AOA team have brought us this far and will help us achieve even more in the year to come. We can DO it!

One Response

  1. Edward A. Loniewski, D.O. on March 28, 2011, 11:42 a.m.

    Great article with super visions for the profession

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