Building on diversity


Tell us more about the Maryland chapter.

We are a large chapter and we’re very, very active. Around 7 or 8 years ago, the Maryland chapter reached a significant turning point because the officers that were in place at that time had a vision for building the chapter. That was a major inflexion point in how active the chapter became, leading to the kinds of activities that we do now, and the variety of memberships.

One thing that I’m super proud of our chapter for is that we’ve really tried to continue building on the diversity that is represented in our membership. We have members stretching geographically all through the Baltimore and the Washington corridor, as well as out to western Maryland and the Eastern shore. The Maryland chapter has been able to attract members from different organizations throughout the state and from a diversity of practice settings. We have active members who are not just physicians, but also a nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical pharmacists. We have members from throughout the health care delivery process, which really enriches the discussion and the value of the chapter as a whole.

What kind of initiatives and programs is the chapter working on?

Every year we have an abstracts competition at our fall meeting. Whoever wins that competition is allowed to present at the national SHM conference, which is a great opportunity. We’re really pushing that competition to make it an even more robust experience.

One thing that we had heard from some of our members, and that we recognized as a need as well, was to make our career guidance a little bit more robust. To that end, we’re creating a separate job fair that is almost like an employment workshop – to help people to buff up their CVs, to talk about interviewing skills, contracts, salary negotiations, as well as exposing job candidates to various hospital groups from throughout the area. That’s something that we’re really excited about. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think it could be a really high-yield event for our members.

We’re also encouraging our nonphysician members to take more active leadership roles in the chapter; several of our nonphysician members on our chapter advisory board, including pharmacists and physician assistants, and we are trying to make sure that we’re also liaising with some of the professional organizations that represent our nonphysician members. So, for example, the clinical pharmacist who’s on our advisory board also is president of the Maryland chapter of the Society for Hospital Pharmacists. She brings a lot of really great ideas and interesting perspectives, and she’s brought a lot of exposure of our SHM chapter to the clinical pharmacy community as well.

What about more long-term goals for your chapter? What’s on the horizon?

We’re targeting early-career hospitalists and helping them to develop their career goals in whatever fashion they see as appropriate.

So, as someone who’s in academics, obviously research and publications are very important for me, but they’re not necessarily as important for other hospitalists. I think our early-career hospitalists are increasingly looking to incorporate things into their practice aside from direct patient care. Our members have interests in various elements of hospital medicine, including patient safety and quality improvement initiatives, clinical informatics, advocacy (especially related to the myriad aspects of health care reform), and strategies surrounding billing and denials. I think having our chapter help our members to realize some of those opportunities and develop their skills in a way that’s personally meaningful to them, as well as good for their marketability as they build their careers, would be a really positive step.

The ultimate goal of the chapter is to service members, so whatever long-term goals we have right now could definitely be fluid as time goes on.

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