Bring home the Academy

September 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 8

David R. Edelstein, MD, Chair, Board of Governors

edelsteinWhen I was a little boy, my grandmother always made sure that I took something home from the Memorial Day parade and barbecue in East Greenwich, RI. This could be a small flag, a copy of the Gettysburg Address (recited each year at the local cemetery), or a ball to play with. The parade, with its WWI, WWII, and Korean War veterans and the gifts to take home, had a profound effect on me.

When I traveled to my first Academy meeting in 1984, the Academy’s principal purpose was education. Since then, the AAO-HNS has added several dimensions to its mission and currently has much more to offer our Members than many realize. The Board of Governors (BOG) is one of these dimensions, having been formed to help link local societies to the national organization.

In keeping with my grandmother’s practice of giving me something to take home each Memorial Day, the theme of my year as BOG Chair has been “Bring Home the Academy,” an effort designed to enable each of us to be able to call upon the Academy’s resources to support our local needs. This initiative included the development of a slide show for BOG members to use at their local meetings about key Academy and BOG efforts; the creation of new virtual societies to help facilitate state and local meetings; circulation and analysis of two surveys (Affordable Care Act challenges and Emergency Room Call), and the launch of PROJECT 535 to link every Member of Congress with a “key contact” otolaryngologist from their own Congressional district.

As part of my vision, the Spring BOG meeting was devoted to the topic of leadership skills, including how to develop the MBA-type business skills necessary to succeed in today’s medicine. For those who have never attended the Spring meeting, you are missing one of the best free meetings—an engagement that allows you to meet with Academy leadership and learn what the BOG has to offer with free CME credits! This year’s meeting included panel discussions on how to produce an effective business plan, how to market your practice, how to advocate legislatively, and how to maintain your intellectual edge given guideline medicine. There were two inspiring speakers: retired Admiral and current Medical Director of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Christine Hunter, MD, who spoke on the challenges of leadership in large organizations, and Richard M. Popovic, MBA, who spoke on developing the key leadership skills taught in MBA programs.

Every year, as I travel to the Foundation meeting, I think of a phrase from the song “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel: “Home, where my thought’s escaping.” The BOG has been a type of home for me to congregate with other otolaryngologists and find common solutions to the problems we all face in our everyday lives and practices.

The BOG meets in San Diego on Saturday, September 17, the day before the AAO-HNSF 2016 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM. Among the many items to “bring home” will be a panel at noon on how to be a more effective board member at your local hospital or medical center. I hope you will join us!