Promoting State Chapter Communicationsstate chapter communicatiosn

One of the principal functions of the Council Steering Committee (CSC) is to communicate with state chapters. The commitment of communication and representation of the state chapters has always been evident.

Yet the mechanics and process of achieving these goals has been a work in progress — especially over the past five years.

Under the leadership of Chair Mark J. Adams, M.D., M.B.A., FACR, the CSC's Workgroup 2 has been working to further develop the CSC Liaison Program for state chapters. Adams is also a part of the ACR Commission on Membership and Communications. His dual role has added a sense of synergy and collaboration to this latest effort. Increasing communication between the national organization and the state chapters and bringing greater awareness of local issues are two primary objectives of the ACR, and the CSC is currently implementing several programs to help achieve them.

Communicating Through CSC Liaisons

In 2010, a CSC task group developed a CSC Liaison Role Document, which was subsequently adopted by the entire CSC. This year, Workgroup 2 has reinforced the intent of the document. A condensed version will be produced to specifically outline the roles and responsibilities of the CSC representatives. We are also developing a standard repository for the information gathered from chapters — not only for reference by as a source of action plans for current and future CSCs. The workgroup has also formulated some suggested questions that will be the foundation for future calls. Questions will continue to be added and refined as we gain experience in the program.

The foundation for CSC communications with ACR state chapters exists through phone calls or e-mails between chapter presidents and CSC representatives. As a direct result of these important calls, at least 18 legislative issues were identified and addressed. In cooperation with the workgroup, ACR staff has established an efficient system for follow-up and documentation of all calls: The issues identified have been reported to ACR chapter services, as well as the CSC and the ACR Board of Chancellors, both by issue category and by state. These findings have been essential in allowing the ACR to better understand the issues confronting the chapters.

Enhancing Your Resources

Another important enhancement the CSC has been working on is the development and implementation of a chapter web portal. Over the past year, the CSC has worked with the ACR Committee on Chapters to provide valued input into the design of the College's chapter portal. The vision is to improve the efficacy and coordination of communications throughout the College. The portal will focus on three primary goals: 1) establish standardized membership reports to allow chapters to electronically access its information stored in the ACR membership database; 2) design a common site where chapter leaders can share newsletters, state legislation, and other information as well as access ACR resources including slide sets, the ACR Chapter Handbook, and other resource materials; and 3) provide a place where leadership and staff can document ongoing chapter communications with the ACR as well as update progress on issue resolution. The first portion of the portal is scheduled to be available through the ACR website with the entire portal up and functioning by AMCLC 2012. Christoph Wald, M.D., Ph.D., has been instrumental in making this important tool a reality for the ACR.

Paying a Visit

Another mechanism to communicate ongoing issues and updates throughout the ACR is the Chapter Visitation Program. This program provides a list of speakers who can deliver a sanctioned ACR update to members and chapters. The Chapter Visitation Program has been available for several years. However, we are making several changes to the program in an effort to make it more effective. First and foremost, staff and CSC members will be more proactive in marketing the program to chapter officers. The goal is to get presentations out to chapters and members on at least a two- to three-year cycle. The ACR is also working to develop opportunities to expand its communications outreach through specialty society meetings, chapter executive meetings, residency program, affiliated/allied societies and organizations, and group practices.

The CSC's goal has always been to constantly improve the communication between members and the College. The ACR is and always will be a grassroots organization. As the pace of activism and change accelerate, we need to dedicate even more resources to ensure we do not lose the essence of communication that has made us a successful organization. The CSC has elected to be a prime source of contact with the College's state chapters. We are striving for your input and continue to provide information for you and your practices.

We are leveraging technology and social networking to reach you and your colleagues and constantly looking to improve. The CSC represents you and the Council. We look forward to talking with you, your partners, and your chapters.

By Howard A. Fleishon, M.D., M.M.M., FACR
Speaker of the Council

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