By Janet Silversmith
On September 22, 2018, the MMA House of Delegates (HOD) held its final meeting. After more than five years of study, debate, and gradual adoption of alternative models of governance and member engagement, the HOD agreed the old model had run its course.
This is a significant decision. The HOD has been around nearly as long as the MMA itself and is a model of representative governance that has been used by many other medical organizations, including the AMA. Yet the challenges the MMA HOD experienced – such as declining attendance; attendees who increasingly did not reflect the demographics of MMA membership; and, complex and intimidating procedural rules – are consistent with the challenges many other state medical associations face. The MMA is not the first state to sunset its HOD; we join at least 11 other states that have eliminated their HODs.
To most MMA members the demise of the HOD is arguably a non-issue. Most MMA members never attended an HOD meeting and its significance to them is far less important than how effectively the MMA can accomplish work on their behalf and the patients they serve. The work the MMA addresses on behalf of Minnesota physicians must – to the greatest extent possible – reflect the priorities and perspectives of Minnesota physicians.
The MMA is committed to listening to and capturing physician input. Our dominant means of doing that today are varied – through member surveys, committees/task forces, policy forums and other events, through your submitted issues and/or feedback, through your election of MMA leadership, and through the decisions made by the MMA Board of Trustees. But there is more that we can and plan to do, including leveraging technology to make it even easier for you to connect with your medical association.
I can assure you that the MMA does not take lightly the decision to sunset the House of Delegates. Moving forward, it is up to us to continue to evolve and explore additional ways of listening and keeping you informed about our shared goals of making Minnesotans the healthiest in the nation and Minnesota the best place to practice medicine. And it all starts with your membership and support – thank you.
Silversmith is the MMA’s CEO