From February to November, state neurosociety meetings brought together more than 1,000 Academy members for high-quality CME programs and a chance to network with colleagues. The AAN has been attending and exhibiting at state neurosociety meetings for many years, and its support continued in 2009. Academy staff attended and exhibited at 18 state neurological society meetings this year, interacting with attendees and society leadership to build relationships and help address challenges facing state neurosocieties.
The Academy worked with state societies to provide eight expert speakers on topics including: advocacy, coding, electronic health records, and AAN guidelines. Additionally, the Academy worked with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) to provide new speakers on Maintenance of Certification in Michigan and Rhode Island. AAN staff also directed an advocacy training course at the Florida Society of Neurology meeting with the help of local society leaders. AAN-sponsored talks in 2009 were well received by attendees and society leadership.
The Fourth Annual State Society Leadership Roundtable brought together 27 attendees, including presidents, board members, executive directors, secretaries, and treasurers representing 25 state neurological societies. The following states were represented: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Flordia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The 2009 Roundtable focused on the following topics: meeting planning, the life cycle of a nonprofit, state and federal advocacy, creating effective websites, Academy resources and strategic planning, and an overview of Academy state neurosociety support. Large group discussions were held to allow the attendees to seek advice on challenges facing their societies and share successes.
The following have been identified as the biggest challenges currently facing neurosocieties:
Most state neurosocieties struggle with membership recruitment and retention. The root of this problem lies in the difficulty of reaching all potential members and communicating the return on investment for existing members.
State neurosocieties are facing many of the same financial challenges as other membership organizations. Industry support is waning. Societies have reported spending more time recruiting exhibitors and grant supporters, with less success than in previous years.
This has become a major concern for many societies. Providers are setting more stringent criteria, raising fees, or have stopped providing CME accreditation altogether.
Many societies are providing their members with a voice and have realized the importance of state level advocacy to their profession. However, some face challenges identifying common issues, being responsive during the legislative session, and keeping members informed of advocacy activities.
The Government Relations Committee will work with Academy staff to develop resources to help societies overcome these challenges and address the needs of each organization. The results will be available for societies in all stages of development in the State Neurosociety E-Manual.
To learn more about 2010 meetings, how you can get involved with your local organization, and how the Academy supports state neurological societies, contact Dave Showers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-332-8683.