First, let me say how honored and humbled I am to serve as president of the Alliance this year. Since I walked into the opening session of my first Annual Meeting, I knew I had found my “tribe.” A group of people sometimes excited, sometimes struggling, but always committed to providing quality continuing education to healthcare professionals. It was great to see many of you at the recent 2022 Annual Meeting, and I look forward to seeing those who could not attend at the Alliance Industry Summit in May or at next year’s Annual Meeting.
Before I get into the areas I want to concentrate on this year, I would like to tell you a bit about me. I live in the suburbs of Denver and fully enjoy the beauty and variety of Colorado. I live with a 3 year old rescued boxer mix named Clover and 2 rescued cats, Dave and Charlie. I am blessed to have a fairly large extended family living in Colorado and neighboring Wyoming. I grew up in upstate New York (Syracuse area) but left there to go to Indiana University to become a nurse. I hold both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in nursing from that institution and am a proud Hoosier alumna.
My work experience includes ICU and OR staff nursing and management, working as professional membership society education staff, medical device manufacturer marketing and professional relations management, working in several accredited medical education companies and an attempt at retirement. That obviously failed, as I am now a part-time consultant focusing primarily on accreditation compliance. The relatively new trend of having several careers in a lifetime is not new to me. Yet, all of these revolved in some way around my nursing background and my love for developing continuing education.
It is traditional, when one becomes the leader of an organization, to set a series of priorities that should be accomplished during their time at the helm. Organizations that change presidents every year can suffer from whiplash as they change direction with each new president. Fortunately, the Alliance is not one of those organizations. We have a dynamic strategic plan that gets updated and revised every two to three years based on our changing environment and member needs, and we stick to it. Adjustments are only made when absolutely necessary, such as the current pandemic we find ourselves in.
As I discuss my priorities for the year, you will note that they do not differ substantially from those of our immediate past president, Rebecca DeVivo, or even from those of Chitra Subramanian before her. The differences that do exist are in the details of emphasis, not in overarching themes. This is intentional and allows us to plan more effectively for both financial and human capital support.
So, what are my areas of emphasis for this year?
- Demonstrating Best Practices for Professional CPD
This includes continuing to push incorporation of learning science and good instructional design in the educational products of the Alliance. You will also see a continuing emphasis on learner engagement in the process, not just passive didactic presentation. During the last couple of Annual Conferences, you’ve seen new formats and fewer ‘sage on the stage’ sessions. We will continue to experiment with and demonstrate new formats and, when they work well, we will incorporate them again. Not all experiments work, but one never knows until we try. We will also focus on addressing the breadth of continuing education in the health professions, not just CME. This has been a difficult transition for the Alliance, as our roots are in CME. The effort continues.
Four years ago, the Alliance developed the Educating the Educator Curriculum. Since then, planning committees for the various educational products have been tasked with making sure that content reflects that curriculum. You may have noticed that we no longer identify “tracks” in the agendas. Rather, we indicate the competency being addressed by each session of content. We are walking the talk of competency-based education. This year we will also be developing a reconfigured approach to early career development in this profession: the Career Pathway series, a mix of live and enduring learning experiences.
- Continuing to Foster Collaboration within the Healthcare CPD Community
I also plan to explore ways in which the Alliance and the State/Regional Organizations can collaborate and strengthen each other besides their membership of the Council. I want to find new ways to work together to foster career development for members and growth for both types of organizations. In addition, we will explore opportunities to support each member section so they all can flourish.
- Continue to Explore and Expand Efforts Related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This emphasis is especially important to me. Whie it is necessary and important that we educate each other on the many facets of this priority (age-ism—both too young and too old; ethnicity, culture, gender identity, differing abilities, appearance, etc.), we also need to take steps to move forward as an organization. As you look at our membership and volunteer leadership at all levels, we have room to grow in this area. I look forward to working with the DIA committee and the board to explore opportunities to make this organization more reflective of our overall community.
These will be my main priorities while working with the board and staff to position the Alliance for continuing growth and stability. We have had a couple of tough years. We cannot rest on the laurels of surviving; we need to continue the momentum we had pre-pandemic. I invite you to work with me this year, and I encourage you to contact me directly if you would like to know more about my initiatives or about myself. You can find me at email@example.com.
Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, FACEHP, CHCP