This contribution to the Interchange is being written before our annual meeting in Montreal. Montreal promises to be an exciting time where SOCCA members will be presented with numerous educational and networking opportunities. This gathering will also see various SOCCA committees meeting to determine goals that will further our mission of supporting and developing anesthesiologists who care for critically ill patients. We have developed our committee structure in a manner that will facilitate member engagement and provide opportunities for members to participate in areas that align with their skill sets and interests.
One example of our new approach would be in the area of education. In the past, various educational activities existed in parallel, with little coordination and integration. Our new Education Committee will be charged with coordinating all of the Society’s educational offerings to include our Annual Meeting on Friday, May 17th, the Aligned Meeting Day of the IARS meeting on Saturday, May 18th, critical care topics at the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting and a recent collaboration with anesthesiology intensivists at their annual meeting in Bangalore, India. In addition to these traditional education formats, this group is also working with the IARS and their new mini-courses. The pilot mini-course includes content from Anesthesia & Analgesia, from the SOCCA-sponsored panel at the 2018 IARS Annual Meeting, and from two external journal articles, and is being offered at no charge for 3 CME credits. Please visit https://ards.selfstudy.app for additional details. These types of activities aim to position SOCCA as a year round source of education for practicing anesthesiologists and intensivists and not just a one day high quality on-site educational meeting. SOCCA members include many high quality, authoritative speakers in multiple areas of clinical practice. Providing easy access to high quality educational content is one way SOCCA looks to demonstrate value to its members.
Another change in our approach to member engagement will be increased and meaningful involvement of program directors, fellows, and those new to the field. SOCCA is increasingly aligned with critical care fellowship directors and the talent and horsepower present in this group highly valued. The future of SOCCA will be heavily influenced by those newest in the field and it is important that this group is well represented as we move forward. Our goal is to have SOCCA viewed as the professional society for all anesthesia intensivists and the critical care resource for anesthesiologists not engaged in critical care. Further, our members should be lifetime members, joining early in their career, ideally as trainees.
In order to keep members engaged and to provide value, it is imperative that we are effective communicators. Thankfully, SOCCA is blessed with members adept at various communication platforms. You are able to follow SOCCA on twitter (@SOCCA_CritCare). At last count, our twitter followers number 687, more than a doubling over the past year. I would refer you to Dr. Hatton’s Communications Committee report in this issue of the Interchange for more details, including a variety of hashtags developed for the Annual Meeting as well as a challenge to all SOCCA members active in the twittersphere.
The final area to highlight today involves research. Dr. Robert Stevens chairs this committee and has started conducting conference calls in anticipation of facilitating research activities of SOCCA members. While SOCCA is not in a position to fund independent research, we are able to serve as a coordinating group to link like-minded investigators and facilitate preliminary efforts to secure independent funding. This group is also well positioned to conduct observational investigative work focused specifically on anesthesia intensivists in an effort to better describe our value in today’s healthcare environment. The Research Committee will ideally facilitate investigators as they apply for funding. As an example, the IARS recently started awarding funding for investigators seeking to apply for NIH or similar grants. This award, the Initiative for Multicenter Pragmatic Anesthesiology Trials (IMPACT), aims to stimulate pragmatic research in the U.S. in collaboration with colleagues in Canada and elsewhere. There were many ICU-based proposals recently reviewed during this process. Look to the IARS website to see those projects receiving funding and consider attending the second annual IMPACT session at this year’s IARS program in Montreal.
In closing, activities in Montreal around the SOCCA Annual Meeting should demonstrate how SOCCA is progressing in achieving our strategic goals. We are working to enhance value to our members by fostering and promoting member engagement and contributions. We are also committed to greater transparency and diversity. For those of you unable to attend the meeting in Montreal, look for ongoing educational offerings such as the mini-courses described above as well as social media activity. Finally, you can become involved at any time by reaching out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the SOCCA website at https://socca.org/get-involved/.