Delegates to Debate Policy, Select Academy Leaders
More than 200 family physicians representing every state and constituent chapter of the AAFP will gather in Philadelphia next month to discuss issues that affect our specialty, our practices and our patients. These volunteer delegates will work for three days to reach consensus on often hotly debated issues, and resolutions approved by the AAFP Congress of Delegates will become Academy policy.
Who are these delegates, you ask. They are family physicians like us, chosen by their chapters to represent those chapters to the national constituency.
As physicians, we all want to make a difference in some form or fashion. I was an Alabama delegate for more than 10 years before I was elected vice speaker of the Congress in 2008. Although I don't have my own personal agenda or a pet issue to push, I definitely like to know what's going on. The more involved you are in any process, the more you know.
So how do you get involved? Each chapter can send two delegates and two alternate delegates to the Congress. Delegates typically are individuals who have been involved in their chapters as officers or committee members, or who have been recognized as being interested, insightful leaders.
In big chapters, like California or Texas, people interested in participating might find themselves on a waiting list. Smaller chapters, however, sometimes have difficulty attracting enough qualified, available candidates to fill all four of their allotted spots.
Topics to be debated in Philadelphia include revisions to the AAFP bylaws as well as resolutions (Members only) on a wide range of topics, including AAFP dues, clinical and public health issues, CME, electronic health records, and numerous issues related to physician payment.
The Congress also will select a president-elect and a new class of officers and Board members. You can check out all the candidates on the AAFP website.
Members can follow the proceedings -- including the Town Hall meeting and business sessions -- via online streaming video. Keep watching AAFP News Now for more details before the event begins Oct. 14.
John Meigs, M.D., is Speaker of the Congress of Delegates, the governing body of the AAFP.
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