EB: How did the SGIM Council prepare for the June strategic planning retreat this year?
LH: As in previous years, we asked SGIM’s committees and commissions to submit plans for addressing their top three priorities for the coming year. We asked the committees and commissions to give special attention to how they can help create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive professional home for our members and integrate anti-racism work on the policies, procedures, and structures that perpetuate historical and ongoing injustices. We also asked the committees and commissions to consider how they could contribute to growth of our learning management system, GIMLearn.1
The Council prepared for the retreat by conducting an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) related to our main organizational goals:
1) foster the development of general internal medicine (GIM) leaders in academic and other settings;
2) promote scholarship in person-centered and population-oriented approaches to improving health;
3) advocate for our vision of a just health system that brings optimal health for all people; and
4) ensure organizational health including a thriving SGIM staff.
As part of that SWOT analysis, we examined how our commitments relate to the goals. We also surveyed Council members about activities and services they believe offer highest value to members.
EB: What did you learn from performing a SWOT analysis of SGIM’s goals?
LH: SGIM has many activities that address the goal of promoting scholarship in person-centered and population-oriented approaches to improving health. In addition to national and regional meetings where innovative scholarship is presented, JGIM is a core strength that has a central role in addressing this goal. A relative weakness is that we need more activities focused on research methods and training. The corresponding threat is that members can go elsewhere to meet this need, but we see opportunities to advance this goal by strengthening partnerships with other organizations, such as the Veterans Affairs, with whom we’ve launched a new curriculum on partnered research.2
To foster development of GIM leaders in academic and other settings, we have strong career development programs that capitalize on the expertise of experienced leaders in the Society. One weakness is that we need a better way to identify and engage emerging leaders. The biggest threat relates to the competing demands on members, especially those from under-represented in medicine groups. We see an opportunity to address the weakness by engaging our regional leaders in programs developed by our Association of Chiefs and Leaders in General Internal Medicine (ACLGIM).
The greatest strength for achieving our goal of ensuring organizational health stems from the members and staff who believe in SGIM’s mission and core values. However, we need to invest more in supporting the professional development of our staff and do more to engage former leaders and diversify revenue. We are making progress on the latter through the Forging Our Future Program that was launched in 2020.3 In the coming year, we will be working with the Annual Meeting Program Committee and other groups to develop new opportunities for engaging past presidents and other members who held leadership positions in the past.
To advocate for our vision of a just health system that brings optimal health for all people, we have benefitted from many strong long-standing relationships, and we have continued to strengthen our relationships with other organizations.4 A weakness is that we must work within organizational resource and individual time constraints. To meet the threats from changing political winds and economic conditions, we need to engage rising stars as well as members in high places in other organizations.
EB: What activities and services do Council members view as having greatest value to members?
LH: When we surveyed Council members in May 2022, 100% indicated that networking had high value to members. More than 50% of Council members also rated several other activities or services as having high value to members, including: regional and national meetings, opportunities to present one’s work, opportunities to demonstrate leadership, awards demonstrating recognition in the field, mentorship, GIM-focused publications, career development resources, and national advocacy. We anticipate that the approved committee and commission plans for 2022-23 will build upon the existing strengths of the organization, address some of the weaknesses and threats, and capitalize on opportunities for offering activities and services of high value to our members. We have great confidence in what SGIM can achieve, despite the stress of adapting to the post-COVID world, thanks to the extraordinary energy, creativity, and mission-driven focus of our committees and commissions—to cultivate innovative educators, researchers, and clinicians in academic general internal medicine, leading the way to better health for everyone!