Nominations Committee Update

Although the roles of other SOCCA committees such as Research and Education are well known to SOCCA members, the work of the nominating committee is relatively less clear.

According to SOCCA bylaws, the work of the nominating committee is to recommend a slate of candidates for board and executive committee elections to the SOCCA board, and to suggest candidates for the two awards given out by SOCCA in alternate years: the Burchardi and Lifetime Achievement awards. The committee is recommended to the Board by the President Elect, and the chair of the committee is the Immediate Past President.

The roles and responsibilities of the membership committee have evolved considerably in the last 2 years. In years past, the membership committee played a relatively minor role, and served mostly as an adjunct to the Board. Elections were often uncontested and nominees were known to all. But as interest in SOCCA (and SOCCA itself) has grown, the committee has taken on added importance. Last year (2018) was the first in which nominations for the SOCCA board were open to all SOCCA members, and the surprisingly high level of talent and interest in participating on the SOCCA board suggested to us that our future was bright.

That interest has grown considerably, and this year we had nearly three times as many nominations. Choosing a slate of candidates was extremely difficult as all nominees were accomplished anesthesiologists and intensivists, and many held leadership positions within their organizations. SOCCA thanks all of the 2019 nominees for being willing to contribute their considerable skills and talents to our organization!

I’d like to take a minute to describe the process by which the Committee chooses candidates from those who are nominated. Our bylaws state that the SOCCA board should be made up of SOCCA members who represent the diversity of ages, skills, expertise, occupations, and community connections of the society as a whole. Board members serve for 3 year terms and may serve up to two terms.

Although no hard criteria for SOCCA board members exist, general qualifications for the Board include:

  • Willingness to serve
  • Ability to meet projected time commitment
  • Ability to participate in group decision-making and support board decisions
  • Communication skills
  • Integrity and absence of serious conflicts of interest
  • Values consistent with the organization’s goals
  • Community leadership
  • Financial and business acumen
  • Strategic planning and visioning

The committee also considers the amount and duration of contributions to SOCCA. To keep the slate of nominees at a reasonable level for the size of our organization, we have (arbitrarily) chosen a “2N+1” construct where N= the number of open Board positions. This year, to accommodate the strong interest from SOCCA members the Board was expanded to 11 positions of which 3 are open. Next year 2 slots will open so we anticipate a slate of 5 candidates. In addition, next year the Secretary slot will open up as SOCCA officers transition upward and our current secretary Dr. Nunnally moves to Treasurer.

Let me also mention the Burchardi and Lifetime Achievement awards, which are given out by SOCCA in alternate years. Full descriptions of both awards and past winners are listed on our website, but the Burchardi is jointly sponsored by SOCCA and the SCCM Anesthesiology section and remembers Dr. Hilmar Burchardi, a founding member of the ESICM. Burchardi winners are chosen for their ability to motivate and touch people, and their competence, humility, humanity, and sense of humor. The Lifetime Achievement Award winner recognizes an individual’s outstanding and sustained contributions to critical care and to SOCCA and is the highest award given out by our society. This year we will give out both, as the Burchardi award was not given out last year. Please congratulate our 2019 awardees Drs. Michael O’Connor (Burchardi) and Aryeh Shander (Lifetime Achievement)!

If you are considering joining the SOCCA board, now is a good time to start! Join a SOCCA committee, write for our Newsletter, support our research endeavors, and/or contribute to our annual meeting! Our SOCCA “get involved” webpage ( will show you how. We welcome and look forward to your contributions!


Avery Tung, MD, FCCM
Chair, Committee on Nominations
Immediate Past President
Professor of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Quality Chief, Anesthesia & Critical Care
The University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois