From the Society

Special interest groups drive SHM engagement

New governance model encourages volunteer group interaction


As a professional society supporting an increasingly diverse membership base, SHM is perpetually challenged to create an environment that offers relevance and community to all. While the broad hospital medicine population and SHM are focused on the same goals – optimizing patient care and the system that delivers it – there are nuances within membership that require specific networks and platforms to build this environment of community.

SHM relies on both staff and volunteers to be an engine for leadership, innovation, and labor. Its volunteer corps is essential to delivering value to members and setting the strategic agenda for hospital medicine’s future. Over the last year, SHM has attempted to expand the infrastructure and opportunity for volunteer leadership by examining new approaches to allow pockets of membership to have their own voice. During the year to come, members will continue to help staff forge a new landscape for constituency engagement.

If you are a current volunteer leader, were interested in pursuing volunteer opportunities this past fall, or have simply been navigating SHM’s new website, you may be aware that the Committee structure has changed. There is also new publicity for things called “Special Interest Groups.” Many of our constituency-based Committees are in the process of transforming into Special Interest Groups, which will be officially launched during SHM’s Annual Conference in Orlando in April. They are adopting a more visible charge to create the most accessible and influence-able environment for the entire SHM community.

Committee-to-Special Interest Group transition is about both philosophy and mechanics. It aims to ensure that each constituency group can be readily shaped by the entire population it represents, and will work to create the infrastructure to facilitate that. SHM envisions Special Interest Groups being primary influencers over future content-development and policy objectives; their online communities serving as the principal means for socialization and dialogue around proposed ideas and initiatives. To that end, SHM invested in an entirely new platform for Hospital Medicine Exchange (HMX). If you have yet to explore the new HMX and opportunities for niche networking, visit

We have also developed a new governance model to encourage interactions between volunteer groups. While there is overlap within Committee and Special Interest Group constructs and likely many volunteers serving in both spheres, it is important to create parallel environments with discreet charges around function and membership engagement. As we continue to roll out the changes, we will rely on volunteers and members at large to help us best realize our intent.

During this transformation, existing volunteers are working with staff to determine the future. There will be some differences in the way Committees and Special Interest Groups function. The differences will be deliberate and designed to provide for fluid and thoughtful administration of business and membership engagement. There will also be consistent communication between Special Interest Groups and strategic and functional Committees with ongoing charges and oversight of existing SHM programs.

Special Interest Groups will have dedicated staff liaisons and volunteer leadership councils. Transforming Committees’ current volunteers will serve as inaugural council leaders with the process for future election being developed in concert by staff and volunteers over the next several months. Special Interest Group membership is open and free to all active SHM members. All current Special Interest Groups will facilitate live Special Interest Forums during SHM’s Annual Conference. If you attend Hospital Medicine 2018 in April, stop by these Special Interest Group Forums on the following topics to learn more:

• Advocacy and Public Policy

• Care for Vulnerable Populations

• Critical Care Medicine

• Health care Information Technology

• Hospitalists Trained in Family Medicine

• Med-Peds Hospitalists

• Multi-Site Hospital Leaders

• Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

• Palliative Care

• Pediatric Hospitalists

• Perioperative Medicine

• Point of Care Ultrasound

• Practice Administrators/Practice Management

• Quality Improvement

• Medical Students and Residents

• Rural Hospitalists

Summaries of the live forums will be posted on corresponding HMX communities after the conference, complete with open comment periods for discussion. There will be an open application period during summer 2018 for new Special Interest Groups not defined above. The SHM Board will review applications in September 2018, and newly established groups will be convened in October to begin building HMX communities, confirming volunteer leader councils, and charting their course with a dedicated staff liaison.

The intent is simple – to provide an open-access mechanism for membership at large to collaborate amongst themselves, offer perspective, and validate or challenge SHM’s proposed initiatives and direction. Special Interest Groups and Committees alike are – and will be – an essential part of SHM’s future – as developers of content, voices of the populations we serve, and an apparatus for the implementation of our shared mission and vision.

SHM exists to serve its members and help them deliver exceptional patient care. We are always interested in your perspective and feedback. To offer your thoughts and ideas about Special Interest Groups or anything else related to membership, please email [email protected].


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