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October 7, 2022, 1:09 p.m. News Staff (Washington, D.C.) — “It’s been a long time.”
Those opening words from Ada Stewart, M.D., of Columbia, S.C., drew thunderous applause from the AAFP members gathered for an update about the organization’s work on members’ key priorities prior to the official start of the 2022 Congress of Delegates.
Stewart, who capped her tenure as Board chair at the meeting, responded with that same enthusiasm: “AAFP — we exist for you, our members,” she declared. “You are our power; you give us direction in what we need to do as an Academy.”
The Congress of Delegates, held Sept. 19-21, launched an exciting week of members coming together to celebrate family medicine that continued through the 2022 Family Medicine Experience, Sept. 20-23.
The COD is the Academy’s policy-making body and is part of the AAFP governance process through which members direct the work of the Academy.
Delegates and alternate delegates also discuss and vote on issues that chapters raise in resolutions they submit to the COD. Resolutions are a way for members, through their chapters, to ask the AAFP to act on specific issues on behalf of the specialty. Some of these requests reflect work the Academy already is doing. If a resolution calls for new action and delegates vote to adopt it, the AAFP invests resources to implement the effort.
The resolution process is one of several tactics that ensure members get the strong support they need to thrive in family medicine. The Academy also plans work based on commission inputs, direct member feedback, the deep experience of family physicians whom members elect to the Board and more.
This year’s COD considered a larger slate of topics than usual. In addition to resolutions that were submitted for 2022, delegates also considered resolutions that were held over from the virtual 2021 COD for in-person discussion.
Delegates, alternate delegates and general registrants testified about topics in reference committee hearings, where panels of delegates and alternate delegates consider testimony from other members about resolutions on specific topic areas, such as advocacy and practice enhancement. Delegates considered the reference committees’ reports and recommendations and then voted whether or not to adopt a resolution or a reworked substitute, reaffirm it as current policy, or to refer it to the Board for further review and consideration.
For a complete readout, members can read the 2022 reference committee reports and details about topics held over from 2021. Below are highlights of a few resolutions that were adopted from each reference committee:
The action taken by COD will affect family medicine for years to come. If you’d like to help shape this type of work, talk to your chapter about joining a commission or submitting a resolution for later consideration.