• Take the First Step to Run for the AAFP
    Board — Here’s How

    Success concept with wooden businessman climbing wooden block stairs

    Jan. 4, 2024

    By Reid Blackwelder, M.D., FAAFP
    AAFP Nominating Committee Chair

    As we embark on a new year, I am excited that the AAFP Congress of Delegates has challenged us to develop new processes to better meet the evolving needs of our discipline and membership by creating a new Nominating Committee that will vet candidates for elected positions. I am honored to have been recommended by our Board chair and speaker, and confirmed by the 2023 COD in Chicago, to be the first chair of this Nominating Committee.

    I want to share an update on who we are and what we are doing — and to inspire you to step forward as a potential nominee to the Board of Directors by sending an application before the Feb. 15 deadline

    Read on for details about how to do that. But first, let me share some important background about our work

    ‘A Wide Range of Experiences and Perspectives’

    As reported by AAFP News, the Nominating Committee is charged with identifying the skillsets needed to best represent members on the Board of Directors, as well as with identifying and vetting potential candidates for elected leadership positions, including president-elect, speaker, vice speaker and at-large directors.

    This work requires committee members who bring a wide range of experiences and perspectives to the job, and who can appropriately represent all our constituencies. In selecting the founding members of the committee, I was tasked to include people from all chapter sizes, current and past state and national leaders, and past members of the National Conference of Constituency Leaders Advisory Group, as well as to incorporate other important skills, traits and characteristics.

    I am pleased to share the names of the members who agreed to serve on this first NomComm:

    • Kevin Bernstein, M.D., M.S., FAAFP, of the Uniformed Services AFP
    • Emily Briggs, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, of the Texas AFP
    • Mary Campagnolo, M.D., M.B.A., FAAFP, of the New Jersey AFP
    • Jack Chou, M.D., FAAFP, of the California AFP
    • Beulette Hooks, M.D., FAAFP of the Georgia AFP
    • Gretchen Irwin, M.D., M.B.A., FAAFP, of the Kansas AFP
    • Louis Kazal, M.D., FAAFP, of the New Hampshire AFP
    • Mike Sevilla, M.D., FAAFP, of the Ohio AFP
    • David Schmitz, M.D., FAAFP, of the North Dakota AFP
    • Tasha Starks, M.D., M.P.H., of the Arkansas AFP
    • Kelly Thibert, D.O., M.P.H., of the Nevada AFP
    • Juan Carlos Venis, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, of the Indiana AFP

    Also serving are Board Chair Tochi Iroku-Malize, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FAAFP; Ada Stewart, M.D., FAAFP, chair of the AAFP Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness in Family Medicine; and Janet Nwaukoni, D.O., resident member of the Board of Directors.

    Our Work for You So Far

    We have met to agree on our scope of work, develop our processes, work on the application form for potential nominees and draft interview questions. We are now focusing on a strict timeline to complete our work. This year, our focus will be on at-large candidates for the Board, as the slate for the other elected positions has already been vetted by past CODs. As I expect to be true every year, this latter group — while still going through the NomComm’s vetting process — will not require action other than approval, except in unusual circumstances.

    This process opens the door for many of our amazing and talented family physician leaders to be nominated, bypassing historical hurdles that may have prevented many from pursuing these important leadership positions.

    The most important date for all members is April 15, when we finalize the slate of candidates that the 2024 COD will vote on. But the most important date for you is Feb. 15!

    You Don’t Need Permission to Apply!

    We need your voices and views, your experiences and perspectives, your passion and energy. We are committed to bring to the Congress of Delegates a group of candidates who represent the depth and breadth of family medicine, from all venues where we care for our patients and communities. As always, the Congress will decide which candidates best represent its needs at the moment, but strong choices are essential. Please consider stepping into this opportunity.

    The nomination application portal is open, along with an FAQ and all the details you need to apply by the Feb. 15 deadline.

    The NomComm will interview all the candidates with the same set of interviewers, standard questions, and the opportunity for all committee members to observe all interviews. We will vet applications and verify that every candidate is willing and able to commit to the requirements of Board service — especially the time required.

    Meet Your Nominees in April

    Chapters will receive a slate of selected candidates on March 31. They may add any applicants who were interviewed, but not selected, by the committee through April 15. We will announce the full, final slate immediately after that deadline.

    It is important to note that — as has always been the case — AAFP bylaws allow nominations from the floor of COD.

    Candidates who were selected by the committee will each benefit from AAFP support, including an orientation and development program during the Leadership Conference in April, as well as instruction in campaign rules, reimbursement and other details. This process will even the playing field for members regardless of past experience and chapter resources and will provide important leadership development that has value even if they are not elected to the Board this cycle.

    I hope this post answers many of the questions you may have about this exciting and innovative process. Please reach out to me at leadershipnominations@aafp.org if you have any questions. But most important, ask yourself if this is the year for you to step forward as a potential member of the AAFP Board of Directors!

    Reid Blackwelder, M.D., FAAFP, is the associate dean for graduate medical and continuing education at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine and a past president of the AAFP.


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