Author + information
- Robert Shor, MD, FACC, Chair, ACC Membership Committee∗ ()
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Robert Shor, MD, FACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
The American College of Cardiology’s Governance Transformation Background
The American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) member volunteers are the College's greatest strength when it comes to achieving strategic priorities and realizing its mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health. College leaders have long recognized that if there are no members, there is no mission. Member volunteers govern the organization, and good governance is critical to ensure that the College meets the mission. Governance is “the establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization.” It includes “mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members, along with the associated accountability of those individuals, and their primary duty of enhancing efficiency and viability of the organization” (1).
As such, substantial—and largely unprecedented—changes to the College’s governance structure were approved in December 2015 by the ACC Board of Trustees (BOT), with the goal of making the College more nimble, strategic, accountable, and reflective of the diversity and breadth within the global cardiovascular community. This change began in August 2014 with an initial review of how the ACC could be more effective in its top-level governance at the BOT level. The discussion and scope of the transformation quickly expanded to encompass all of the ACC’s member-led bodies, such as committees and councils. During the 18-month process, the ACC’s mission took primacy in all decisions and served as a guiding star.
As a result of this careful and thorough review of the College, the number of Trustees was reduced and the BOT, in an effort to be more strategic, will be comprised of Trustees who demonstrate specific competencies. The College is working toward a transformative culture shift in an effort to have a more strategic Board as part of the process of creating centralized authority and decentralized decision making. As a result, the new Membership Committee was created to amplify the member voice and ensure that the ACC’s diverse membership continues to contribute to the ACC’s strategic goal of reducing costs and improving care.
A Voice for the ACC’s Diverse and Growing Membership
The ACC Membership Committee aims to serve as a communication avenue between ACC leadership and ACC membership. Committee members are responsible for recognizing and addressing the diverse professional needs of College members while upholding the values of the ACC as the professional home for cardiology. The Membership Committee serves to amplify ACC members’ voices through effective collaboration and to grow the professional home by improving member value, engagement, and relevance, all while on the ultimate ACC mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health.
The ACC’s vibrant and diverse membership is critical to its continued success in meeting the mission, and the members on the ACC Membership Committee recognize how important it is to have a thorough understanding of varied professional needs. The ACC is comprised of more than 52,000 members whose diverse practice setting, specialty, care team role, and geography offer important insight for College leaders as they work to recognize the complexity of addressing professional needs. This insight is helpful in building educational activities, practice resources, and clinical guidance for members practicing from varying domestic and global viewpoints, practice settings, patient populations, and more.
As such, the composition of the Membership Committee reflects a number of key demographics and member types within the College. Leaders from both the ACC’s Assembly of International Governors—the College’s global leadership group—and the BOG—ACC’s domestic chapter leaders—provide input from member stakeholders representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and 38 international chapters representing 40 countries. Two members each from the ACC’s Fellows-in-Training Council and the Early Career Council demonstrate the ACC’s commitment to engaging trainees and younger members into vital aspects of the College’s strategy and activities. Similarly, 2 representatives from the ACC’s Cardiovascular Team Council will ensure that the role of cardiovascular team members is considered in all deliberations. Equally important is representation from the Chair of ACC’s Section Steering Committee, who represents the diverse professional needs of 13,000 members in the College’s 19 special interest member sections.
Additionally, the Chair of the ACC’s Credentialing and Membership Committee provides the Membership Committee with invaluable insight in understanding the ACC’s position as the professional home for cardiovascular specialists through its continual assessment of ACC member recruitment and retention.
Together, these ACC Membership Committee members will collaborate to strengthen the member voice and grow our professional home.
Aspirational Goals of the Membership Committee
Developing and measuring member satisfaction indicators is central to the role of the ACC Membership Committee. Balancing the ACC’s portfolio and resources to meet the needs of members across specialties, practice settings, and career stages is fundamental to its mission. To ensure that the goals of the ACC Membership Committee are aligned with the diverse member segments, the committee considered broad goals to benefit a wide range of members independent of location, specialty, or other specific identifiers. We identified several aspirational goals, recognizing that some would be easier to achieve than others.
Some of the key initial Membership Committee aspirational goals are to:
1. Enhance accessibility and content of the ACC membership directory to meet the needs of members through virtual and in-person networking via a modernized member database;
2. Encourage collaboration between international and national members, chapters, sections, committees, and councils;
3. Identify and recommend opportunities to address gaps within the ACC’s educational portfolio, providing continuing education opportunities for all members;
4. Evaluate the ACC’s mentoring program and assess the College’s capability to engage, mentor, and develop leaders across College member career spectrum, segments, and specialty, particularly at vulnerable transition points; and
5. Identify important issues relevant to members that impede their ability to practice and recommend opportunities to address these issues.
These goals have been developed to enhance member value and satisfaction, to ensure that the ACC’s portfolio of offerings remains relevant and timely, and to ensure that ACC members identify and access the numerous avenues that ACC sections and chapters provide for member engagement and collaboration. Additionally, they were developed to allow the ACC to continue to build leaders within the College and the cardiovascular field.
Acknowledging the diversity of the ACC’s membership in detail by demographic, specialty, practice setting, or location would be impossible. It is clear, however, that the ACC thrives when its diverse communities and member types are fully engaged. All ACC members—including but not limited to electrophysiologists, pediatric cardiologists, nurses, physician assistants, interventional cardiologists, transplant surgeons, cardiovascular imagers, adult congenital cardiologists, administrators, newly graduated trainees, as well as general noninvasive cardiologists and members considering retirement—are encouraged to share concerns, questions, and comments with your corresponding Chapter Governor or your Section Chair. The ACC Membership Committee will continuously survey the leaders to understand and monitor the needs of ACC members across cardiovascular specialties, both in the United States and around the globe.
Moving Forward and How ACC Members Can Get Involved
Although enhancing member value and focusing on the needs of members has been central to the ACC’s mission for decades, the Membership Committee itself is very new. The Committee welcomes recommendations for indicators of ACC membership satisfaction, along with any input on membership issues or ideas. Feel free to reach out to me at.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- ↵BusinessDictionary. Governance. Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/governance.html. Accessed October 27, 2016.