What a wonderful year we have had in 2011. It has been an eventful year for both the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) and our membership, and I am grateful for all of our members who have invested countless hours of their personal time by volunteering to serve on AAST committees, task forces and the board of directors. It inspires me to see this level of commitment among our members, and it is this passionate dedication to the profession that will help us continue to advance sleep technology in the years ahead.
In August the AAST board of directors began the journey of going through a strategic planning process, which has caused me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the AAST’s mission and vision statements. These statements are printed in every issue of this magazine on p. 6, and I encourage you to become familiar with them. In summary, these two statements describe how the AAST is committed to promoting excellence in sleep technology and preserving the future of the profession.
I can tell you without hesitation that the AAST has been true to this mission and vision in 2011. The AAST board of directors has abided by an uncompromising code of integrity, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished this year. We have many challenges ahead of us in the coming year, and I am convinced that this board of directors will meet those challenges with courage, which gives us the moral and mental strength to do what is right, even in the face of personal or professional adversity.
Throughout its 33-year history, the AAST has been at the forefront of the battle to preserve our profession. In recent years, the AAST has invested more than $250,000 in the legislative defense of sleep technology. Our mission is to help guide our membership during these challenging times. The entire sleep field is continuing to evolve, as out of center sleep testing (OCST) becomes more prominent and national health care reform promotes cost containment and long-term outcomes.
The AAST is prepared to lead the sleep technology profession through this period of transition, and in the coming year you will see many new and innovative educational programs that will help our members adapt to their changing professional roles and prosper in the sleep center of the future. The complexity of sleep-related technology is growing at an unparalleled rate, and we owe it to ourselves to learn, grow and advance in our careers. We want our members to be able to compete, and flourish, in an increasingly competitive job marketplace through continued education and professional growth.
As a professional membership society, the AAST provides educational programs for all sleep technologists, from the novice to the veteran. Education is what we do. Our aim is to give every sleep technician and sleep technologist the opportunity to obtain the educational tools they need at a reasonable fee and in a manner that is conducive to success.
The AAST is well aware that these are difficult economic times, which can make it hard to obtain the continuing education that is necessary for professional growth. That is why the AAST slashed prices on its CEC products during the recent holiday sale, gave members an end-of-the-year opportunity to earn 2.0 free CECs in the AAST Online Learning Center, and is continuing to re-evaluate the pricing structure of our educational resources as we head into the New Year.
I’m also proud to report that the AAST will again provide a wealth of benefits to members in 2012 without raising membership dues, which remain among the lowest of any allied health care professional society. If you haven’t renewed your AAST membership for 2012, I encourage you to go online to www.aastweb.org and renew today. Your AAST membership is an investment in both your career and the profession.
As the AAST president, I have made a commitment to speak at several meetings of state and regional sleep societies in 2012. My hope is to meet as many of our members as possible and to keep everyone up to date on what is happening within our profession. I look forward to meeting and talking to many of you.
May the New Year bring you peace and joy.
Until we meet again,
Melinda Trimble, RST, RPSGT, LRCP