As the year comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months. This has been an extremely positive year for the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST).
We kicked off the year with an awesome spring course in March on Risk Management in the Sleep Center, held in Louisville, Ky. If you weren’t able to make it to the course and are in need of continuing education credits (CECs) for recertification or are looking for timely educational resources, the course presentations are available for purchase in the AAST store. Take advantage of our current $10 CEC sale to stock up on these excellent learning modules.
The AAST then teamed up with the Southern Sleep Society (SSS) to host an advanced clinical course in downtown Asheville, N.C. The 8-hour technologist course preceded the SSS’s 38th annual meeting on April 7 and was titled “Essential Skills in Sleep Education – Tools for Career Advancement.” The course was designed for allied health professionals who are focused toward education in clinical sleep health. These course modules are also available in the AAST store.
In June, the AAST 38th Annual Meeting was held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. This year’s meeting included many new features to enhance the experience for attendees, including an audience engagement platform, a dual track of sessions on Sunday afternoon and designated time to explore the SLEEP 2016 exhibit hall.
In August, the AAST board of directors met with a strategic planning consultant and developed a new high level Strategic Plan for 2017-2018. The board reviewed the goals of the prior Strategic Plan and developed a comprehensive strategic plan to guide the direction of the organization for the next two years. The board of directors will next endeavor to build a tactical plan to achieve the goals outlined in this strategic plan.
In this new Strategic Plan, we commit our energies to five broad goals. The first goal is to define who the AAST is and why it exists. This goal will involve redefining the organizational identity of the AAST. The second goal involves recognizing and defining the various roles in a sleep program, and the skills required and professional standards for each role within the context of the changing health care environment. The AAST will continue to serve as the leader in defining the evolving role of the sleep technologist and to do so, it must recognize and define the other various roles in a sleep program, including those of medical assistants, respiratory therapists and even back office personnel such as billing specialists and other administrative staff. The third goal is to evolve the AAST from a people-driven organization to a process-driven organization. As an integral part of achieving this goal, the AAST plans to launch a leadership development project that will seek to bring in new technologists and additional resources to share in the vision and passion of the AAST, and who can develop into the future leaders of the AAST. The fourth goal is to continue to improve communication with AAST stakeholders, including identifying the best means to communicate with newly included stakeholders identified in goal #1. This goal was a previous goal set by the AAST, and one in which it has made great strides over the past year. A final goal is to expand the membership base of the AAST. Once the AAST redefines itself and its stakeholders, and develops the educational content and best practices for those roles within the sleep center, it will be positioned to expand the membership of the organization to include those roles.
I believe the goals that we have set for ourselves are the right choices to move the AAST forward with a future that defines the expanding and changing roles in the sleep center and the educational standards needed for achieving a level of certification for those occupying all of these roles.
Thank you to my board of directors, committee members, and all those who joined us at an event and helped to make this another successful year for the AAST. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve you all in 2016.
Laura Linley, CRT, RST, RPSGT