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President's Message: Looking to the Future

Posted by admin on Mar 20, 2013 12:09:00 PM

As President of the AAST I felt it was vital that I have a vision of my organization's future leadership team. Over the past decade, sleep medicine has seen significant growth in terms of academic understanding of sleep disorders and the use of diagnostic testing as a tool to improve patient outcomes. Sleep centers, which have been the primary forum for diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders over this time period, are facing increasing pressure in terms of number of sleep labs and alternatives to in lab testing (out of center sleep testing). As president of the AAST I have been asked to speak to the "Future of Sleep" several times over the past two years. My personal belief is that "our people are our future". I feel that is true for our respective companies as well as the AAST.

So how does one develop future leadership? The AAST board of directors knows leadership development is important to the growth of our profession. One of the most important actions we can take to start our leadership development is to have a plan. This past fall the AAST hosted our first leadership development conference.   Members of the AAST committees, along with the AAST board of directors, were brought together for training, discussion and group leadership development. I believe it is important to identify and develop those individuals who will lead the critical functions of our organization, and this was a first step in that direction.

Today I would ask you to consider your potential role in AAST leadership. I have been told there is almost universal agreement that leadership is a skill that can be learned. I personally feel that leadership is a fire that can burn brightly in all of us if we can find that one thing that starts the flame or that one person who believes in us. Pure leadership means showing the way for others, either by example or by promoting a new direction. I hope I have been able to do both during my two-year term of office. As AAST president I have tried to take a proactive approach to identifying individuals who have the potential to fill our leadership roles, and to reach out to those who could be the leaders to carry our organization's mission into the future. I hope I have sparked a few flames.

Now that we have started the process of identifying our future leadership our work has just begun. Now we must get to work developing our potential leaders. We must equip them with skills and the capabilities needed to be effective leaders today and ever more so, tomorrow. I know it will not be easy but I believe it is vital to the long-term health of our organization. The AAST is committed to the preservation of our organization and our profession.

If you are a new or returning member of the AAST I would like to personally thank you for your membership; it is vital for the continued support and future growth of our profession. If you are not currently a member, I would ask you to please consider becoming a member or renewing your AAST membership. With your membership dues you help support the work being done to preserve our profession.

It has not always been easy to be the AAST president. There are those who will tell you there is no value to membership. I would say it takes courage and strength to stand up for what you believe in. I believe in the work we are doing within the AAST to prepare our leaders and members for the future and preserve the sleep technology profession. Each and every member is important, and I urge you to participate in your professional organization. As a membership organization the AAST needs its members to stand together to craft the future of sleep technology.

Melinda Trimble, RST, RPSGT, LRCP