Steve R. Smith

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Posts by Steve R. Smith

My Breakfast with the Academy Presidents

One of my favorite events during the Annual Assembly each year is breakfast with the AAHPM Presidents – past, present and future. It’s a tradition that is meaningful to all who attend, although I suspect the reasons vary among the group. For our incoming president, Sean Morrison, this informal “coffee talk” provides an opportunity to gain information and perspective. For our current president, Gail Cooney, whose term ends later today, it is a time of transition when support and collegiality offers a glimpse of what life after years of ascension and heavy engagement in “all things AAHPM” looks like. For our past presidents it is a time to reconnect and reflect about past accomplishments, continuing challenges and their ongoing leadership journey. For Executive VP Porter Storey and I it is a time to honor the past and hear ideas about the future.

AAHPM Presidents' Breakfast

What is the role of a past president? To be honest, many professional societies haven’t quite figured this out. Too often past presidents are treated as if they have “retired” even though nearly all remain interested, willing, and able to stay engaged. Consider for a moment the depth of experience and knowledge these individuals have accumulated through their years of involvement in AAHPM. They have spent hundreds (probably thousands) of hours serving in special interest groups, task forces, and committees; participating in strategic planning, budgeting, board development, external relationship building, and advocacy; navigating complex issues where diplomacy and exceptional leadership, resulting in tremendous advancement of our Academy and the broader field.

This amazing amount of volunteer time and talent is truly “a gift” to our Academy. It requires tremendous dedication and balance amid lives that are already overloaded with numerous personal and professional commitments. The wealth of experience and insights these leaders bring to the presidential breakfast table is powerful and awe inspiring. They smile, laugh, and engage in thoughtful discussion. They see and appreciate how their efforts through the years have made a difference.

So while it’s nice to appreciate and recognize our AAHPM presidents for what they accomplished in the past, it is even more critical to keep them connected to what we are doing today. And although our annual breakfast truly is a “breakfast of champions,” it also symbolizes the ongoing engagement, enthusiasm, and support our past presidents continue to offer through their involvement as senior advisors to current committees, mentors to junior faculty, contributors to new products and programs, and in so many other ways throughout the year.

There is no “pasture” for past presidents—at least not one at on the AAHPM farm (-:

—Steve Smith, Executive Director/CEO, AAHPM

Is this thing on?

I’m thrilled to welcome you to the official AAHPM blog. Many of you are frequent blog contributors and followers already, as there are several resources available within our online community. My hope is that AAHPM will provide yet another place where we can all congregate and connect with one another. With the successful use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, AAHPM members are now more aware of important issues such as major proposed drug changes by the FDA which first surfaced in social media circles this past year. It is clear that there is a broader community that could benefit from a greater AAHPM presence on the Web and we are pleased to officially enter the blogosphere!

I expect this will become another gathering place for anyone interested in the field to converse about articles, educational sessions, and issues important to you and your work. We hope to attract members and non-members—all are truly welcome. I anticipate that this blog and others like it will continue to work together to raise awareness about the incredible advancements and critical issues occurring within the field of hospice and palliative medicine.

The timing of our online debut is no accident—the Annual Assembly in Boston is just 2 weeks away. Stay tuned as we preview some of the most anticipated events of the Assembly, with the help of more than 20 members who have enthusiastically offered to contribute their thoughts right here on the AAHPM blog.

Have you ever attended a session and left wishing you could continue or start a discussion? Ever been torn between multiple sessions occurring at the same time and wished you could learn more about the ones you missed? Are you unable to attend this year’s Annual Assembly but want to stay connected to the latest developments and critical issues? Be sure to add the AAHPM blog to your favorite bookmarks and join the discussion.

I hope to see you in Boston—and right here as well. Happy Blogging.

-Steve Smith, CAE, AAHPM CEO and Executive Director