Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Future of the AANP

By Carl Hangee-Bauer, ND, LAc
AANP President

Fall has been a busy time for the AANP Board. After the dust settled from the convention and things relaxed for a bit, attention turned to identifying goals and priorities for the 2011-2012 work plan and budget.

Sounds exciting, huh? Actually, it’s some of the most important work that the AANP Board does. It requires that Board members think strategically, surveying the landscape for political and social trends, considering the future of healthcare reform, understanding readiness in states close to licensure, listening to feedback and the experience of our naturopathic physician members, and bringing that back to the table as we discuss and deliberate.

While the Board discusses these topics throughout the year, the formal start to our planning began at the August Board meeting. We examined programs that are currently underway and ranked programs such as marketing and public relations, state and federal affairs, fundraising, and others in order of importance to the ends and the goals of the AANP. The staff, led by Karen Howard, took this preliminary feedback and constructed the first draft of our next 2-year work plan and budget, getting further feedback from a Board survey that took a closer look at these initial ranking and programs.

This past weekend the Board held its Fall meeting on the beautiful campus of Bastyr University. Most of our time was spent discussing and debating the various details of the proposed 2011-2012 work plan. All of this, by the way, is done with keen attention to how to best serve our membership.

Let me give you some insights of the Board approved work plan.

Far and away the biggest priority is directed toward membership issues such as member benefits and professional success, programs such as the convention and membership services, and tools and resources for membership support including the AANP website.

State and Federal Affairs are a very big piece of the work plan. Facilitation of licensing in more states, inclusion in federal programs for the naturopathic profession under healthcare reform, engaging in strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations to effect change, and training our physicians and naturopathic students at the DC FLI – all are pieces in this very complex work.

Next, our Executive Director will take the work plan and assign budget categories to each area of emphasis for Board review and approval. This will be a very challenging step. While the AANP has weathered the economic downturn quite well compared with other associations, the economy has nonetheless impacted us. The budget will be very tight, and it will be a challenge to meet all of our goals. It is likely that choices will have to be made based on the key goals, priorities and programs we’ve identified.

I tell you all of this so you can understand some of the work that goes on behind the scenes and see why it is so important to be a member of your national association. The AANP is a member-driven organization that represents you in the halls of Congress and to the American people. It supports state licensing efforts and facilitates communication amongst various organizations within the naturopathic profession. It supports research and data collection to better inform others of our work. It provides top-notch continuing education with many of the thought leaders of our profession. It brings unity to our community of doctors and students in every state in the US and other countries.

Please join us as we move into the future by joining or renewing your AANP membership and letting your voice be heard.

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