Thursday, February 19, 2015
by: Dennis Reynolds, AANP Interim Executive Director
Section: ED Update
I am very honored to be serving as Interim Executive Director (ED) at AANP for a few months. The Search Committee is working very hard to find a new executive director, and current plans are for that person to be hired and on board in a permanent status by late spring/early summer.
Just a summary note about my background, I have been in executive positions in associations and other non-profit organizations for the past twenty-five plus years, including some in the health care industry, some outside of it. I came in with probably a little more lay familiarity with what NDs do and some of the challenges the profession faces than most people in the general populace, so I have been really thrilled to be able to come in and work with you all for a while.
In the month I have been here, I have been very impressed by the dedication of so many of AANP’s members. A professional association like AANP really survives and thrives on the volunteer efforts of its members. We have four full-time and one part-time staff in the AANP offices. The numbers of hours we as a staff spend are important and keep the wheels turning and, we hope, help organize and keep the volunteer efforts of AANP members on-task. But the number of hours we spend in doing that pales in comparison with the substance and the countless number of hours spent by Board members, committee and task force members, contributors to newsletters, conference presenters, House of Delegates, and all the many others who work on behalf of the association in moving the profession forward.
I have also been so impressed by the importance of the issues that the association and its members are working on. You have foes out there – or in the gentler form, those who may harbor misunderstandings – who are able to throw tremendous financial and other resources at limiting your practice and your role in the health care system, yet you have persevered to establish licensure in 20 states and territories and have become increasingly more well-known to the North American population even just over these past 30 years since AANP was formally established as one of the voices of the profession. While there may be differing opinions within the ND community about such matters as vaccination, desirability of coverage by insurance carriers, and inclusion in programs like Medicare and recognition by the VA, these are absolutely vital societal as well as professional issues, and there is enormous passion about them on the part of the ND community. And while opinions may differ, passionate dialogue is important, because in the end, if a profession is to advance it must at many junctures take a stand on one side of a fence or another, while still not sacrificing its very essence. And it is the role of a professional association and its leadership and office staff to facilitate that discourse so that the profession may arrive at important decisions and positions when the time comes.
The role of an interim executive is an interesting one. During my time here, it is my goal to help keep important things moving forward, but at the same time making every effort to preserve a solid foundation and right conditions for a new ED to seamlessly come into this position in a few months and work with the AANP Board and other groups to make important long-term decisions and set forth new directions. It is a complex role that I am enjoying, and a large part of that enjoyment is the dedicated leadership and great staff and members I am getting to work with, and the importance of what you all do and your commitment to it. I hope I will get the chance to “meet” many AANP members this winter and spring, whether in person, via e-mail, and over the phone. My hat is off to you and the work that you do!