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spotlight  IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

2013 Strategic Planning Meeting Report

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David O Taylor, MD
ISHLT Immediate Past President

In 2007, ISHLT embarked on an aggressive strategic plan formulated by the leadership after two 2-day planning meetings in February and July 2007. The focus of the final plan was quite broad, from education to membership, from research to clinical affairs and importantly included governance structure. The majority of the recommendations have been fully implemented. These efforts are primarily responsible for the growing success of ISHLT today. For example, the current highly effective functioning of the Society is a direct result of the reworking of the Council and Committee structure. This has not only improved the efficiency of getting ideas from formulation to action but, just as importantly, engaging many more members, especially younger members, in the process of governance. Another example is the restructuring of the planning process for the current Annual Scientific Sessions which has continued to evolve (and continues to evolve) and was responsible for the outstanding meeting we just experienced in Montreal. The pre-meeting Academies came directly from the strategic plan as well, as did the Links newsletter you are currently reading. The ongoing focus on core curricula, standards, and guidelines were also a large focus of the original strategic plan. The I2C2 (international, inter-society coordinating committee) is a direct outgrowth of several recommendations from SPv1.0. Policies and procedures for I2C2 are currently in the final phase of development but the committee has been extremely active, coordinating a number of educational events this year and next between ISHLT and several other international societies.

Fast-forward to this February, when a representative group of members met again to review the remaining potential gaps for the Society. Due to the success of the first strategic plan, the gaps were few and thus the focus much more narrow. We examined the current gaps in the delivery of education, particularly in the age of the internet and smartphones and the use of electronic communication for the Society in general and the members in particular. We discussed the current and future membership, the ISHLT 'Brand,' our Mission Statement, and even the name of the Society. While entire version 2.0 of the strategic plan is not yet ready for a beta-test, parts of it have already found their way into policy and process. The Education Committee has been reorganized under the direction of Chris Wigfield expanding its role to bring all educational activities under one umbrella and one clear, yet strict, set of policies and procedures in order to best meet the educational needs of our members. The Montreal meeting was a highly successful test of the new mobile meeting app and the recently released on-line, on-demand, meeting content. The strategic planning group debated the merits of additional CME and non-CME content, independent of the annual scientific sessions. We debated how electronically 'connected' the Society and its members need to be for optimal benefit for both. We debated whether a name change for the Society should be considered and, if so, what should that name reflect. Obviously, with a Society so broad in its membership and its interests, no name could adequately encompass everything we currently do or hope to do in the future. Yet concern persists that our current name is not an adequate representation of what we do and could hinder our growth in those areas not clearly represented in the name.

What can members expect to come out of SPv2.0? Expect a major push toward additional educational opportunities beyond the annual meeting, including in-person meetings as well as on-line, on-demand opportunities. Expect I2C2 to gain more traction, moving beyond education to include public policy and international standards.

Like all major upgrades and updates, SPv2.0 will have some glitches and hiccups but that shouldn't deter us from continuing our efforts to make the Society successful beyond belief.

To quote that great American philosopher, Buzz Lightyear: "To infinity ... and beyond."

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.