This blog is not filled with grandiose
rhetoric. You will neither find state-of-the-art statistics nor
endearing stories about collaborative successes. Rather this blog is
designed to challenge the face of CFHA and establish tangible solutions
to help us move forward. It is an exciting time to be a member of CFHA
as our association is gaining national attention for our grassroots
work. CFHA’s annual conferences and pre-conference summits have
stimulated important discussions and actions at each sponsoring state’s
policy, payment, and community levels.
They have also resulted in an expansion of our membership base,
hiring of staff, and increase in conference attendance. The key to
success for any organization though is not accepting what it is but
aiming for what it can become.Membership has always been the heartbeat
to CFHA but until recently we have focused more on collaboration between
the behavioral and medical specialties only. It is important and timely
that we examine our diversity not only in discipline but also with
regard to culture and geographic representation. We have been strong in
the medical and behavioral health disciplines, particularly with family
medicine physicians, marriage (couple) and family therapists, medical
family therapists, and psychologists.
We have some representation from internal medicine, pediatrics,
social work, counseling, pharmacy, psychiatric nursing, dental, nursing,
and healthcare administration. However, many disciplines are missing
from this list and are important to include and recruit to join CFHA.
While some may be underrepresented (even those mentioned above), others
are absent and need to be a part of our growing association. Which ones
come to mind for you? How do you believe we can successfully invite them
to become part of CFHA?
Diversity within CFHA does not just need to happen in discipline, but
also in race, ethnic origin, and sex as well. While we are actively
working on statistics regarding our current CFHA composition, attending
the annual conferences gives a fairly accurate depiction of where we are
not as strong. Again, it is critical that we work hard to grow the
association so that it mirrors the populations we serve and represent.
What ideas you do have? What are your thoughts about how we can grow and
diversify our membership?
Lastly, we have a lot to learn from our international collaborators.
Although we have drawn some presenters and attendees from other
countries, this is one area of our outreach that is in need of
additional focus. The challenge for many of our overseas colleagues is
the expense of coming to the United States for a conference. Our limited
budget precludes offering scholarships for international attendees.
However, we need to think outside of the box for ways to engage groups
who value collaboration as we do and who have learned how to study it,
initiate it, and create policy for it. What international groups are you
aware of that we need to begin to engage in active discussions?
In CFHA there is no need for guilds but there is a need for fair
representation across all of the variables addressed above in this blog.
I hope you will join me in celebrating our growth and accepting this
challenge of diversifying our membership.