A Year of Change Positions AAST for a Bright Future: Part II
AAST made monumental changes in 2017, beginning with a transition to a new management organization. The decision to move management of AAST from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) to SmithBucklin (SB) was a unanimous decision of the AAST Board of Directors (BOD) in 2016 made with great care and with ongoing stewardship of the organization as a primary consideration. During the transition, which began in January 2017 and was officially completed on July 1, 2017, AAST management and transition functions were the primary focus.
The official transition on July 1 moved AAST management to SmithBucklin and marked the implementation of our new technology platforms for association management (Socious), learning management (Thought Industries) and CEC management (Heuristics) and our new SmithBucklin operations team. An important aspect of association management is the support of volunteer leaders, and this was a factor in the decision to choose SmithBucklin as the new management organization for AAST. Leadership development education for the BOD and committee members, and governance education programs have been provided within the last few months that have been extremely valuable to the AAST BOD. We anticipate this continued access to leadership development will assist the BOD to lead the organization into the future with confidence. In addition, practical management tools such as a new budgeting process, financial forecasts and a financial dashboard have been developed along with dashboards to continually track membership, CEC activity and website and advertising metrics. These tools will assist the BOD to make timely and informed decisions surrounding AAST membership benefits and needs.
The first official SB AAST BOD meeting held in Chicago in August was preceded by a partnership discussion and development meeting with BRPT President Daniel Lane. The BRPT BOD has committed to participation in and support of the AAST 40th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in September with speakers and a presence in the vendor hall. Continued leadership calls between the BRPT and AAST leadership are focused on building a collaborative relationship between the organizations that will serve the constituents of each organization and the profession well. Practical considerations, such as development of an interface between the AAST member CEC transcript and the BRPT recertification portal are being discussed, along with a philosophical resolve to work collaboratively to meet the educational, certification and educational support of our profession.
Fall 2017 – Making New Friends
Fall brought additional exciting developments for AAST. Immediate Past President Laura Linley’s paper outlining the results of the McKinley Market Needs Assessment Survey, “Facing the future: A call for higher education in sleep technology” was published in Sleep Medicine and the A2Zzz. Laura was also invited to participate in an educational Sleep Review Webinar.
The Sleep Technologist Appreciation Week (STAW) celebration “Unplug to Recharge” campaign was well received. AAST and BRPT jointly participated in the World Sleep Congress in Prague, represented by AAST board member David Wolfe and BRPT President Daniel Lane. Both manned an information booth at the conference and spoke on behalf of their respective organizations. Four AAST representatives, Marietta Bibbs, Rita Brooks, John Atkinson and Byron Jamerson, provided additional international representation for the AAST as invited speakers at the 2nd International Palestinian Congress in Jerusalem, Israel, in October. Marietta Bibbs, organizer for this meeting and a former AAST board member, wrote an intriguing summary of this trip.
Winter 2017 – The Future Is Bright
AAST ended the year preparing and making plans for 2018. The board of directors began a board development program with board governance training at the November board meeting, approved a new branding strategy for the AAST and approved strategic imperatives for 2018. The annual membership renewal campaign was launched, an Educational Products Taskforce was formed and plans were solidified for the AAST 40th Annual meeting in Indianapolis.
The new year began with AAST signing a contract with Wolters Kluwer for the Third Edition of the Fundamentals of Sleep Technology textbook. The new edition will include many new chapters on current and emerging sleep medicine and technology topics. The editors sought input from sleep technology educators to assure the textbook supports new technologists entering the field, as well as experts in technical areas to support the needs of experienced technologists looking for expanded learning. The AAST Journal A2Zzz was also updated with a new and exciting look and feel for 2018.
A Best Practice for Inpatient Sleep Disordered Breathing Screening and Management Technical Guideline was completed as a guideline for those interested in starting or expanding an inpatient sleep disordered breathing screening program. Additional supporting tools, including a sleep evaluation and care plan, are in development and additional technical guidelines are in process for end tidal and transcutaneous CO2 monitoring. An exciting new interactive licensing and credentialing requirements map is now complete. This tool will outline licensing and practice requirements for technologists and sleep centers by state, and includes LCD accreditation requirements and a direct link to the LCDs for both sleep testing and durable medical equipment (DME) requirements to assist our members to easily access this information.
Collaborative meetings and partnership opportunity discussions continue with the BRPT on a regular basis. We are exploring the possibility of interfacing the AAST member CEC transcript directly to the BRPT portal to make the re-credentialing process for technologists easy and seamless. We continue to discuss educational needs and develop programs to support the CCSH certification as an important step in the career ladder of sleep professionals. In addition, we continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with other organizations that may be beneficial to our membership.
2018 - Moving Forward with Confidence
AAST looks forward to a bright and expanding future as an independent entity providing exceptional education and resources for professionals in the sleep field. We welcomed two new board members, Laree Fordyce and Kristina Weaver, to the AAST BOD in January. The program committee is hard at work developing THE BEST sleep meeting 2018, to celebrate our 40th anniversary — in conjunction with a celebration of the BRPT’s 40th anniversary! The call for abstracts is currently under way, and we are planning a robust meeting highlighting the latest information and technology relevant to sleep professionals, interactive workshops, plenty of time to network and visit our supporting vendors and corporate sponsors, and some fun! I hope you will join us Sept. 28-30, in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the sleep meeting of the year!