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Lessons Learned at the AOA's Leadership Conference

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AOA Advocacy for Healthy Partnerships Conference Recap

By Michael Brown, D.O.


This past weekend, it was my pleasure to attend the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Advocacy for Health Partnerships conference on behalf of MAOPS.  This conference is designed by the AOA as a weekend of training and sharing of ideas that give strength to the many state and affiliate organizations within the AOA.  I was proud to see that in many instances our state has played a large impact on this meeting as many of the ideas and speakers originated from things that MAOPS has already started implementing.

One of the highlights for me this weekend was an address from the authors of the book “The Road to Relevance,” which members of MAOPS Board of Trustees are familiar with.  Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers spoke to us about the importance of focus, and in my own words, “eliminating the fat” from organizations to make them more valuable to their members.  They brought with them examples of how programs in associations tend to grow and bloat with very little return. However, out of fear of hurting a few members who may have championed those programs at one time, the organization as a whole is bogged down in inefficiency. MAOPS, I am proud to say, has been a leader in implementing positive focus within the organization.

Another speaker, who I believe provided useful insight to MAOPS, was Don Neal of 360 Live Media. Mr. Neal has been consulting with the AOA on their annual OMED conference.  He described how experience is everything in today’s economy.  Think of Starbucks and Apple and how consumers are willing to pay more for the experience.  He emphasized that your conferences had to offer something that members cannot get in any other way.  While some may consider it controversial, this means that CME should not be the central focus of your conference, but emphasizing your brand should be.  Don’t worry, there should still be high quality CME, but in a competitive world of podcasts and webinars, CME can’t be the only thing that drives members to your events.  The gold standard for our events should be that they are “transformative.” In other words, we want our members to walk out of MAOPS-sponsored events different than they were before arriving.

Two last items of note.  The first is special recognition to MAOPS Director of Communications and Membership Holly Koofer-Thompson, who presented on how we can use social media to reinforce our brand.  She did an excellent job.  The last is that we still have a lot of work to do in our state when it comes to establishing a statewide prescription drug monitoring system.  One of the pictures attached shows one lone state in the nation standing out above the rest for not having any program or goals to implement one.  So take home from this conference that it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

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