It seems like yesterday that I began the journey of being SHM’s president. And now I find myself in the “remains of the day,” reflecting upon what was accomplished, and what remains to be done. Here, then, in the twilight of my day as president, are a few reflections from the most recent chapter in HM before I say goodbye.
The Organizational Chassis
This was the year that the contracts for both the CEO and our journal editor came due. I am pleased to have re-signed our CEO to a three-year contract, ensuring continued leadership of our initiatives during a time in which we cannot pause. I am also pleased that the search committee, with great diligence, has arrived upon a candidate who I am sure will continue the imprimatur of excellence that has defined the Journal of Hospital Medicine during Mark Williams’ tenure. In concert with this appointment is a new contract with JHM’s publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, the terms of which will ensure the continued and expanding impact that the journal has upon HM practice.
I am also pleased with SHM’s huge step forward with respect to the policies and procedures regarding transparency and its external relationships with industry. My column in the December 2010 issue (see “The Story of Us,” p. 43) outlines the progress; the accompanying letter to the editor outlines what remains to be done. The policy revisions are a remarkable step forward in ensuring the integrity of the organization, but I do agree we can do more.
SHM’s membership now exceeds 12,000, an impressive accomplishment eclipsed only by 88% membership retention. SHM, like no other organization, has built an infrastructure of empowerment, particularly with respect to advancing the goals of quality and patient safety, and people are voting with their feet by joining and sustaining membership with the organization.
Equally impressive is the organization’s ability to maintain the “big tent” as a part of this membership growth. I am pleased with the board’s decision to pass by-laws reforms to ensure that any unique constituency, with sufficient size, would have a provision for placing a representative on the Board of Directors. But even so, the seams of the “big tent” will be increasingly stressed as we continue to grow. Making the adaptations necessary to maintain this “big tent” must remain a priority for the organization.
To address this challenge, three new committees were established within the “membership cluster” this year. The Young Physicians Task Force was divided into two new committees: one committee (Pipeline) was moved to the academic cluster to focus upon our relationships with the educational infrastructure (medical schools and residency training programs) and ensure that hospitalists of the future are better prepared to assume the role, particularly with respect to advancing quality and patient safety.
The second committee from this division, Early Career Hospitalists, remained within membership to ensure that the unique needs of the hospitalist in their first five years of practice were being addressed. My vision from the outset was that there would come a day that a “virtual mentor system” would be in place for the young SHM member, and based upon the work of this committee, I believe the foundation has been laid to realize this dream sooner than you might think.