From the President
by Bob Byrd
Professional societies, such as the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and its chapters, have an important place in the advancement of their respective professions. They further education and knowledge, they promote ethical behavior, and they serve as forums where like professionals can network and exchange ideas and opinion in informal settings. But, for such societies to be most effective, they must include participation of those seasoned professionals, those who have been in the profession for some time and have achieved success. It is the role model aspect of those senior professionals that is so important to the rest of the membership. To this end, I would like to invite and encourage all senior healthcare executives of the Triad to get involved in your professional society’s chapter, the Triad Healthcare Executive Forum (THEF).
I learned early the value of professional societies. My first exposure to their existence came as a child. My father, quite the innovator in his field, a tool and die maker by training but who owned and operated an injection molding plastics company, was active in the Society of Plastics Engineers, or “SPE”, as he would say it. He explained that going to SPE meetings was important to him in order to keep up with the rapidly changing field of plastics and to learn and get ideas from others in his profession. Later in life, as a respiratory therapist, I joined the American Association for Respiratory Therapy. I found this membership invaluable as I attended meetings, met and learned from fellow therapists from other hospitals, especially those who were in the field longer than I, and read the association’s periodicals. So, when I began classes in the MHA program at Duke University, it was a no-brainer for me when the program’s director, Dr. Jon Jaeger, encouraged all of us students to become student members of the ACHE. I knew the importance of the professional society, and it was a matter of personal professional pride to belong. In my nearly 33 years as an ACHE affiliate, I would have had it no other way.
Is the professional society, in this case the ACHE and its chapters, as beneficial to the senior healthcare executive as it is to the early or mid-careerist? Perhaps not, as there are many other avenues where senior executives can learn and network. Meetings of the American and North Carolina Hospital Associations, the Health Care Advisory Board, SG2, and the Rowland-Hite Seminar are good examples. But, consider whether or not the profession itself, its effectiveness and reputation at leading healthcare organizations, is important to the senior executive. I would argue yes, especially in light of the several news stories over the past few years of unethical and illegal executive activities.
If you are a senior healthcare executive, please consider getting involved with THEF. Think of it as a way of giving back to your profession, something that has tangible benefit to you in itself. Come to a THEF quarterly program/meeting – it will only take a couple hours of your time. While there, speak to early and mid-careerists, letting them take advantage your wealth of experience as they continue to shape their careers. You are apt to feel good, and you just may learn something while there. For other ideas of how to get involved, please contact me at email@example.com.