Chair's Blog May/June 2017

By Diane Marie Howard, PhD, MPH posted 05-24-2017 18:00



The Graduates we Graduate

Congratulations for another successful year as we educate the next generation of leaders. I am sure we all have our share of stories surrounding our graduating classes. Typical of most universities, my university has a luncheon to celebrate the graduates and their families. What I most enjoy is the private faculty-student roast, where we toss nice jabs at each other. The graduating class I have had the opportunity to work with over the last two years represents a diverse group of students from 12 states and 19 undergraduate universities.   Thirty-percent worked before entering graduate school, 25 percent speak a second-language, 35 percent had undergraduate study-abroad experiences, 30 percent participated in case competitions, 3 percent were Veterans with one having earned the Bronze Star, 10 percent are ski buffs, and 100 percent reported that they wanted to make a difference and impact healthcare in a positive way. I hope we are all proud of the graduates we are sending out into the world of work and that they will reflect positively on what we have contributed to them personally and professionally.

Board training

Jerry Glandon, Keith Benson, and I attended an American Society of Association Executives board training on Strengthening the Governance Team, May 8th – 9th. It is a sound way to discuss organizational goals and refine our organizational strategies going forward. We also discussed what we did well and not-so-well in the previous year. It is interesting to discuss with other associations the composition of their boards and how they engage their membership. ASAE association participants represented coaching federations, court reporters, state medical boards, produce marketing, rental housing, legal, soybean, and sports turf (I know, this is really an association).  While our specialties are vast, we all learned that we need to flip-the-script on how we manage meetings and energize our board. High performing boards have a strategic focus, culture of learning, self-assessment and accountability, and effective recruitment.

We had five strategic goals this year to advance our 2016 strategic plan. We wanted Jerry to be recognized as a Modern Healthcare top 100 leader; initiate our history book project for celebration in 2018; meet with and collaborate with ACHE, AHA, and NCHL; advance customer service; and support succession planning with our board and staff. In our annual report that will be distributed before the Long Beach Annual Meeting, we give ourselves a grade for what we accomplished.

Our incoming board of new officers and five new members will build upon the five goals and continue to advance AUPHA. We congratulate them and will be there to support their direction for the Association. Board training certainly helps in keeping the board focused and also supports our life-long learning orientation!

House Calls - American Hospital Association

Jerry and I had the opportunity to meet with Rick Pollack, president/CEO and Darlene Vanderbush, vice-president of operations, immediately following the AHA annual membership meeting in Washington, DC, on May 11th. We discussed mutual goals and joint efforts that we could pursue. Since the AUPHA membership expressed an interest in enhancing our policy orientation, Rick was intrigued about getting faculty involved at the regional policy level on disparities issues and discussion of hospitals as economic anchors in their communities. He assigned three of his senior management staff to work with AUPHA to advance these initiatives. You will be delighted to see that AHA is a partner at our annual meeting in Long Beach.

Sometimes thank-you is not enough, but it is all we have

Thanks to Jerry and the AUPHA staff for a great year. The AUPHA board endorsed the decision to make the organization nimble and reduce expenses as our fiduciary responsibility. We outsourced our finance and certain meeting planning functions to better collect, manage, and report data and to enhance our member experience. Valuable staff did depart and we certainly miss their contributions. What we learned is that we saved $65,000 from outsourcing our finance functions along with the ability to generate financial reports that give us a true picture of where the organization is financially. While we have yet to determine savings on our meeting planning change, the change has greatly improved annual meeting venue selection, hotel negotiations, expeditious review of workshop proposals and selection of speakers, branding of AUPHA at our meetings, and improving the experience for our attendees. After our second year of operations with our meeting planning company, we will have a clearer view of any cost reductions and will share this with you.

Finally, it has been my honor to serve as the board chair of AUPHA. The board, committees and forum chairs, and general members are tremendous assets to the Association. It has been a distinct pleasure working with an excellent team of professionals. Thank you so much! See you in Long Beach.


Diane M. Howard, PhD, FACHE