What have you done for me lately? A look at the College's services
Editor's note: Rowen K. Zetterman, FACP, Chair of the Board of Regents, writes this month for CollegeWatch. The President's Column will return next month.
"What have you done for me lately?" How many times have you heard that question? Does it make you stop and wonder whether you really have done anything recently for the person who is asking?
Large membership organizations like ACP-ASIM don't wait for someone to ask what we are doing for them. Instead, that question must be an integral part of our strategic planning process so we can meet the needs of our members, including medical students and residents.
"Only by continuing to add new products and services will we meet members' ever-changing needs."—Rowen K. Zetterman, FACP
That question is constantly on the minds of the Board of Regents and the College's various committees. At Regents meetings, we spend most of our time working on issues that directly affect member needs. As we discuss the search for the Annals of Internal Medicine's new editor, review a report from the Medical Services Committee about a recent meeting with HCFA's Office of Inspector General regarding compliance or debate increasing the role of medical student members on the Board of Regents, we have members' interests at heart.
At a recent meeting, the Board of Regents discussed what kinds of new benefits we can offer members. The goal is to become the one-stop supplier of all the goods and services that internists need to run their practices. While we haven't finished deliberating on this last issue, we are making progress.
During that meeting, an interesting thing happened. College Regent Joseph Silva Jr., FACP, suggested that to get a better idea of what products the College needs to offer, we should create a list of all current College products and services. As we began listing all the College's services, I was impressed, particularly by the new services we have added since July of this year.
The College now has clinical skills teaching modules (some in Spanish) for personal education and for use at chapter meetings. We have a new book on community-based teaching (CBT) and an educational program that gives pointers on starting a CBT program. We offer post-graduate courses in office dermatology and women's health, as well as MKSAP 12, internal medicine board review and recertification courses. We also provide a Web-based membership directory and an enhanced grassroots hotline.
I haven't even mentioned the College's flagship services, such as Annual Session, Annals of Internal Medicine, chapter meetings, post-graduate courses, clinical practice guidelines, the Center for a Competitive Advantage, ACP Journal Club, Effective Clinical Practice and the Doctors for Adults public relations campaign.
And let's not forget about Fellowship. To my thinking, Fellowship is one of the College's most important member benefits. It signifies recognition by your peers that you have attained one of the highest marks that an internist can achieve.
Maybe I am easily impressed, but when I look at this list of products and services, I feel proud of the College and its staff. The College and the Board of Regents, however, can't stop there. We must continually try to serve College members by asking the question, "What have we done for them lately?"
Only by continuing to add new products and services will we meet the ever-changing needs of our members. Of course, your input into this process can ensure that we have considered all of your needs as well. Talk to your local Governor, get active in chapter meetings and committees or write to one of the Regents with your ideas. The College will listen and consider them.
—Rowen K. Zetterman, FACP
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