The month of October has taken me from one end of the country to the other as I have traveled to AMA headquarters, two regional meetings and the Western States Retreat.
This whirlwind began with my first stop to Chicago, where President-elect Sarah Sanders, Managing Director Pat Troy, Alliance Health Education Initiative Chairman Barb Hanas and I organized convention trunks and stacks of boxes in our new conference room at the AMA’s new high-rise building. Our space on the 40th floor has floor to ceiling glass windows that offer a fabulous view of the windy city’s skyline and Lake Michigan. We agreed that doing our work in this building every day would be pretty nice, if only we lived in Chicago. The AMA support staff was very helpful facilitating our requests, especially John O’Keefe and Melissa Monaco-Hancock. Just a few weeks in their new offices, they took time to assist us promptly and efficiently.
Ted Grudzinski, AMA photographer, a longtime friend to the Alliance, took new official photographs of us and captured moments in the moving process as a follow up from last summer when we packed up our old office. We also arranged with videographer Barry Cohn to tape promotional segments for use on the AMA Alliances website, for membership recruitment and the 2014 Annual Meeting and Leadership Development Conference.
From Chicago, I flew to Omaha for the North Central States Regional meeting. Also attending from the AMA Alliance Board were Mary Beth Ellison, Director, and Cami Pond, Regional Meetings Task Force Chairman. Jeanie Owen was local hostess and conference co-coordinator with Grace Wellman from Sioux Falls, SD. Professional facilitator and Alliance member Sharon Chontos kept the meeting on “track”…which is an apt description since the theme was, “Keep Your Alliance Train Running”. This was the most interactive and participatory meeting I have attended.
North Centrals’ meeting has a history of developing leaders by providing opportunities for them to give presentations among their peers. The sharing among attendees was affirming and informative. By identifying challenges, discussing alternatives and solutions, these leaders were equipped to go home with ideas they can implement and I came home feeling confident and encouraged by the commitment of these leaders.
The second week of October was the first Northeast Regional Meeting which was held at the picturesque Cranston Resort in Lenox, MA. With the trees dressed in the colors of autumn, the Berkshire Mountains provided a backdrop of incredible beauty. Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance President Paula Madison, Marie-Christine Reti, and M.M.S. Alliance staff brought in outstanding speakers which produced an inspiring program.
The M.M.S. Director of Federal & Community Relations, Ms. Alex Calcagno, presented a dynamic legislative update. Volunteers in Medicine Clinic founder, Dr. Matthew Mandel, spoke on the outcomes of volunteer medicine. Dr. David Crandall, Medical Director of the Spaulding Rehab Center, shared his experience in overseeing the care of victims from the Boston Marathon Bombing, and Dr. Stacey Potts spoke about “Engaging the Family of Medicine: A Multigenerational Approach”. Julie Newman, AMA Alliance Director, and I presented programs on “The Intersection of Leadership and Mentorship” and “Leading and Learning in the 21st Century.” Sarah Sanders, Rosemary Xavier, AMA Alliance Treasurer and Cami Pond were in attendance, supporting our efforts.
The third regional meeting I attended was the Western States retreat, a small group planning time for an April 2015 region wide event. Held at the mountain home of Ann Takasaki’s aunt near Park City Utah, it was the perfect setting at 7,800 ft. elevation! I kept humming (to myself) the Barbra Streisand song, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” because the expansive vista of the valley and the snow-capped mountains was breathtaking. Ann really knows how to throw a house party and thought of everything. She led the attendees in working hard to visualize a family centered conference. Beth Irish, AMA Alliance Legislative Chairman, helped to keep focus and move the group forward while working out event topics, schedule and potential speakers. Our AMA Alliance Secretary Pat Klettke and Director Nancy Schneider were part of this planning group as well as Utah Past Presidents Kathleen Alder and Katharine Wallin.
The best part of this retreat was having medical student spouses join us from the Medical Student Alliance group at the University of Utah. Michelle Chestnutt with 6 month old Henry, Melissa Lewis and Melissa Rigby came for the day. I wanted to adopt them all as extra daughters and Henry as a third grandson!
During the meeting we received very good news about the birth of a healthy baby boy to our Resident Physician Spouse board representative, Liz Walker. Caleb Broadbent is a beautiful, healthy baby joining his sisters, Emma and Lydia, and father Brett, who live in Salt Lake City.
October isn’t over yet! My travels will find me in Destin, FL over Halloween for the Southern Medical Association Alliance meeting. I’ll be sorry to miss greeting little children who come to my home trick or treating, but it will be good to celebrate SMAA President Kathy Johns’ year and support our friend, Susan Rish, as she gets installed. We often travel to state meetings with our SMAA colleagues, which is a nice bonus of this office.
I am thankful for safe travels and good health, so far, and for a supportive husband, who takes me to the airport, picks me up, and asks me where I’d like to go to dinner when I’m too tired to even think about cooking. Bill even ran the vacuum, did laundry, and ironed shirts. I think I’ll keep this man! I know that I couldn’t do this job without his support…or the support of our Board of Directors and our members, whose dues help make our Speakers’ Bureau trips possible.
It is an honor to be your president.
P.S. Interested in seeing the “who, what and where” of my most recent travels? Check out the AMA Alliance Facebook page for posts and photos of the people who made the meetings so special.