Critical care and the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) have very bright futures, and I am extremely proud and honored to serve as our president in 2016. Forty-five years ago, a group of dedicated professionals envisioned a multidisciplinary, multiprofessional society. They had to deal with political, legal, regulatory and cultural barriers. In the end, they were successful in creating this Society. Our Society. This is not A society or someone else’s society—it is OUR Society.
As a professional society, we are dependent on, and dedicated to, each and every member as a person. Yes, our mission keeps us focused on the North Star—the patient and the family. Our means of accomplishing that mission is through our members. We depend on you not only for the work of committees and planning groups but for the very ideas and ideals that we aspire to achieve together. It is extremely easy to get more involved. Volunteer through SCCM’s website by clicking on the “Volunteer” link on the Member Center web page, and contribute to the work of the committees.
Members can always submit suggestions. Individuals, committee members and sections can submit strategic planning proposals to the Strategic Planning Committee for consideration. It is usually best to be in touch with the committee chairs in advance of submitting a proposal because staff often need to be included in the process so that business aspects of the proposal can be fully assessed and a budget for the proposal prepared. Items approved by the Strategic Planning Committee in the spring then go to the Finance Committee for consideration at their July meeting. Items approved by the Finance Committee as recommendations for Council are then usually considered at the September Council meeting.
Our Society offers grants for work designed to advance the field, travel awards for good science, and honorific awards for contributions ranging from intensive care unit design to ethics. These multiple pathways for involvement allow every member to contribute equally, and offer the opportunity for every member to help shape who we are. These pathways allow us to invest in ourselves through our contributions. Engagement in our Society’s activities conveys to the world the value we place on being part of a professional society dedicated to patients and their families through supporting the entire team.
You may not know that our Society is made up of members who self-identify as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, ethicists, social workers, veterinarians and too many other professions to try to name here! Our presidents have included representatives not only from across the medical specialties but also from other fields, such as nursing and pharmacy, that are critical components of our teams. In other words, everyone has the potential to grow to be a leader in our Society. Supporting the idea that everyone has the potential to lead is the policy that anyone can submit a nominee for Council to the Nomination Committee.
There are many additional ways to contribute and for you and the Society to mutually benefit from your membership. One way is to apply for the designation of Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine (ACCM). This is an honor, since only about 10% of our membership carries such designation. If accepted and inducted, then another way to become involved is by serving on the Board of Regents of the ACCM.
So, it is easy to volunteer! Just visit the SCCM website and submit the volunteer forms. Review the organizational structure and accompanying material on each committee’s charge to help clarify that committee’s task. In July, the president-elect assigns everyone who volunteers to a committee. You will then be notified in the early fall, and your term will start at the subsequent Congress. Help us build the best society we can for our patients, their families and our team members.
Join me in helping our Society continue to grow and succeed.