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What Has CFHA Meant To Me And For My Career

Posted By Christine Runyan, Thursday, November 17, 2016

 Dr. Tina Runyan is the CFHA President-Elect. She spoke at the recent 2016 CFHA Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC.

I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career – Air Force psychologist, academic dean of a graduate school in psychology, behavioral health clinician, post-doctoral fellowship director, and a psychologist in academic medicine to name a few. Throughout this career tapestry, CFHA has been a unifying thread for me. It is the organizational and professional home I can count on for inspiration, information, collaboration, socialization, and opportunities to advance and challenge myself.


Most recently, this opportunity and challenge will be presenting itself as the Presidency baton is passed to me in October, 2016. I am standing on the shoulders of giants in the field of integrated care and honestly do not feel entirely worthy, but I do feel empowered and ready to chaperon the organization for the next two years. When I first joined CFHA and started going to conferences, I struggled a little bit with its softer science and more applied philosophy as compared to other professional conferences I attended and organizations where I sent my annual dues.


However, I quickly realized that the practical focus on CFHA and the collaborative – not competitive – spirit was exactly what kept me coming back and actually fit my needs better. Within CFHA, I have found both likely and unlikely collaborators, mentorship, mentees, and an organization I am proud to introduce new professionals to and encourage them to attend a conference or join the organization.


As I approach the academic promotion process yet again, I undoubtedly owe some of my professional success directly to CFHA. The organization is small enough to find a hook for leadership opportunities and once I ran for the CFHA Board, I was catapulted into what previously seemed like the "private back room” of the organization. However, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to learn that the engine of the organization was hard at work trying to help CFHA survive and thrive, volunteering copious amounts of time spawned from dedication to the mission in general and the organization specifically.


The board strives for transparency in managing the organization but at times has needed to be cautious to avoid inducing fear or igniting panic when the organization was in financial jeopardy. Being willing to serve on the board (and it is a volunteer, time intensive service role) allowed me the chance to work alongside some of the brilliant leaders in the field, which always serves to elevate my own thinking and contributions. This willingness eventually manifested as an invitation for the presidency role (voted on by the nominations committee and then by the board), which I am both nervous and excited about in relatively equal measure. And I think these are the right emotions for the job actually.


Anytime I step to the edge of my comfort zone, I know I will be challenged and that I will grow in ways I cannot fully predict but trust that whatever is on the other side of this challenge, it will serve me well to face the next one. And I suspect CFHA will be right by my side for that one too … and the one after that … and the one after that. CFHA is the constant thread in the ever-changing tapestry of my career, and truthfully one of my favorites.


Tina Runyan is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is the Director of an APA accredited, two year Post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology in Primary Care and the behavioral science director for the Worcester family medicine residency. . She recently joined the Board of CFHA and when not writing, practicing, training or talking about integrated care she enjoys being a mom, trail running, and practicing yoga.

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CFHA is a member-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making integrated behavioral and physical health the standard of care nationally. CFHA achieves this by organizing the integrated care community, providing expert technical assistance and producing educational content.