What I want to do as Vice Speaker of the Congress of Delegates
As the policy-making body of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Congress of Delegates is the opportunity for our organization to hear directly from the constituent chapters, to debate the paths that lay before us and to choose the future that we wish for Family Medicine within our country. As the Vice Speaker, one of my highest priorities would be to increase the accessibility and transparency of that body to our members.
Over the past year, I’ve spoken with chapter leaders from across the country and it is apparent just how different small, medium and large chapters approach the process by which the ideas of their members can be proposed and debated. Where you live and practice makes a difference on whether your voice and ideas can be heard- and I want to change that. Our Academy has done an outstanding job of working with and developing our emerging leaders through the Resident and Student conferences and has been able to trial a variety of methods to increase the ability for member ideas to be heard and to receive their due consideration.
I think that our Congress of Delegates can learn from these experiments and could look for additional ways to ensure that good ideas don’t go without consideration simply because of who conceived them. I also think that it’s important for our members to have transparency to the proceedings of the Congress. Your delegates represent you well and come to well-reasoned policies, but if members don’t have access to see or hear how that policy came to be, they can feel disenfranchised and begin to lose their trust in our organization. While only delegates have the right to debate and vote, all members have the right to witness the proceedings and understand their rationale.
As Vice Speaker, I believe it would be important to keep exploring how we can make the Congress of Delegates reflective of our chapters and responsive to our needs.
Russell Kohl, MD, FAAFP
TMF Health Quality Institute