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Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

A Challenge to All Chapters: Send a New Physician to NCSC

Last May during the AAFP's National Conference of Special Constituencies (NCSC) and Annual Leadership Forum (ALF), Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, M.D. -- who was then chair of the Commission on Membership and Member Services -- issued a challenge to the assembled chapter leaders: one year later, every chapter should send a new physician delegate to NCSC.

I was so impressed with the wisdom and the importance of this challenge that I echoed it in my Board installation speech at the Congress of Delegates a few months later. At least one chapter president personally thanked me for the challenge and vowed to do her best. With a little more than two months to go until NCSC, it is time to start making those plans a reality.

NCSC is held each year in early May in conjunction with ALF in Kansas City, Mo. This year's event is scheduled for May 3-5.Chapters can send up to five voting delegates, one from each constituency: gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender physicians, minorities, new physicians, women, and international medical graduates.

The NCSC serves two great purposes within the AAFP. First, it gives AAFP members with a broad diversity of viewpoints a forum to bring their unique concerns forward, crafting and debating resolutions through the parliamentary process that can influence the direction of the larger organization. Secondly, it excites and energizes those members to be a force for change in family medicine and returns them to their chapters with a new appreciation for what leadership means in their own lives and careers.

The AAFP has 55 chapters, and NCSC typically attracts about 30 new physicians. The event averages 12 full delegations. Personally, I think every chapter should send a full five-member delegation to NCSC every year. It is just that important.

But why start with new physicians? And, why should small chapters with limited financial resources choose to make this investment a priority?

It's because every AAFP member was once a new physician. Through involvement at NCSC, your chapter's newest members can catch the fire and excitement of leadership.  Many of the great doctors who are leaders in AAFP chapters today -- your officers, committee chairs, delegates, and presidents -- got their start at NCSC. It isn't just a forum for guiding people into national leadership: NCSC attendees will bring the energy, ideas, and knowledge they have gained back into their own local groups. By investing in sending a new physician delegate to NCSC, chapters are ensuring their own better futures. It is the most vibrant and exciting meeting that the AAFP hosts all year.

If you send your chapter's young physicians, chances are they'll be hooked and will go on to provide your chapter with years of engaged, energetic, and thoughtful leadership. Individuals who register for ALF/NCSC by March 21 save $50, so don’t put this off. Start developing the next generation of AAFP leaders in your chapter today.

Robyn Liu, M.D., M.P.H., of Portland, Ore., is the new physician member of the AAFP Board of Directors.

Posted at 11:15AM Feb 29, 2012 by Robyn Liu, M.D., M.P.H.

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