The SGIM Council held our 2023-24 strategic planning retreat in June at the SGIM office in Alexandria, Virginia—the first time we’ve met in our office since 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was good to be together in person in our own space and to see many of the SGIM staff. We had a challenging job to do—setting priorities for the upcoming year. After all, we are generalists with careers that span many areas of medicine, and we have even more interests that energize us.
The purpose of my column is to make the Council’s decision-making process transparent, so members don’t wonder why we are doing or not doing something. As general internists, we care about a lot of different issues, and they affect our care of patients and populations. If only we had more time and resources, we would do it all! Since this isn’t the case, the job of the Council was to make sometimes difficult decisions about what to move forward and what to pause.
The ideas and activities that we pursue as a Society come from members through our committees and commissions to the Council for final approval. The SGIM Organization and Leadership diagram depicts the inter-relationships between the SGIM Council, our various leadership groups, and our members.1 I encourage you to engage in our interest groups and committees since you determine what is important for SGIM. If multiple committees and commissions identify an issue, it usually ends up on the Council’s agenda to discuss. Recent notable examples include our work on DEI and our climate impact.
As in past years, SGIM’s committees and commissions submitted plans for their top three priorities for the coming year, as well as listing their ongoing activities. They were asked to comment on whether or not their plans addressed our commitment to change to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and if they used our new learning management system, GIMLearn.2 Council reviewed plans submitted by four core mission committees (Education, Research, Clinical Practice, and Health Policy), four cross-cutting commissions (Health Equity, Women and Medicine, Academic Hospitalist, and Geriatrics), and five core operations committees (Membership, Annual Meeting Program, Finance, Philanthropy, and Ethics).
Council also needed a clear understanding of the work we are currently committed to do to better prioritize new work. We reviewed the major organizational commitments previously planned for the 2023-24 year, including the following:
- Website redesign
- New Awards Management System
- ACLGIM Hess Institute follow up (ACLGIM formed three workgroups)
- Fellows in GIM Task Force (addressing the issues identified in the Research committee report on the clinician-investigator pipeline)
- Site Selection for 2027-29 and re-evaluation of 2025 in Florida (workgroup formed)
- GIMLearn content review, development, and deployment
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accreditation
- New MedEd scholarship program
- JGIM contract negotiation.
Mohan Nadkarni, president of ACLGIM, then reviewed the report from the Hess Institute conference that addressed the crisis in recruiting and retaining academic general internists (see the CEO Q&A column in this issue). Based on the report, many SGIM committees will likely be collaborating with ACLGIM on several activities deemed top priority and impacting members in both organizations. More information will be forthcoming as ACLGIM’s three workgroups move forward.
Council members used SGIM’s four organizational goals3 and the following guiding principles for our decision-making about each submitted plan:
- ROI for our members: how does this provide value to the SGIM membership broadly?
- Engagement: how does this bring in new or engage existing members with SGIM?
- Focus on Equity: how does this support our DEI and anti-racism agenda?
- Staff workload: what is the degree to which this changes staff utilization?
After robust discussion, Council members rated each plan as high, medium, and low priority; indicated if it would need additional staff or financial resources; identified other committees or commissions affected by the plan; and, where needed, asked for clarifying information. The Council’s ratings then went to the SGIM staff for review to determine the impact on staff resources. From this input, the Council determined which plans will move forward, need modification, or be put on hold for this year. Twenty-nine of the plans reviewed will move forward, some continuing ongoing work and others starting new work. Committee and commission leaders will receive written communication about the decisions, and Council liaisons will discuss Council’s final decision and the rationale for the decision with committees and commissions at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
SGIM has an exciting year ahead filled with new resources and activities for members. Stay tuned for more information about these as the year unfolds.