The AAMFT board of directors met last month in Alexandria, Virginia (December 9-10, 2019). Our December meeting is usually conducted via video conference. However, with the long stretch of time and the work done since our August meeting in Austin—and the important work ahead in 2020—a face-to-face, two-day meeting was vital. In this report I want to just highlight some of the exciting and important work the Board will be taking on in 2020.
I’m pleased to report that the Board remains deeply committed to a larger vision of inclusivity in our association. We will propose another bylaw change this year that aims to simplify the membership categories, while preserving a clear majority on the board of those eligible for the Clinical Fellow designation. The board is convinced that with nearly 60 percent of the voting members supporting the bylaw change last year, we have an obligation to honor and amplify the wishes of that majority. Moreover, we will re-double our commitment to help the broader membership see both the vision and the sound association practice and logic of those proposed changes.
Thus, in acknowledging the need for AAMFT to lift the unintended barriers to inclusivity and simplify our member categories, the board authorized staff to prepare the language for a new and tighter focused bylaw amendment for us to review at the March 2020 meeting. The new drafted language will specifically attend to preserving the majority Clinical Fellow designation in the composition of elected leaders. The board is committed to better articulating the compelling need and benefits of this change for AAMFT and our members.
Another major board initiative for 2020 which I want to highlight, is that the board authorized the appointment of a steering committee to lead a comprehensive review of the AAMFT strategic plan. I want to punctuate that this is big and very exciting! It will be the first major substantive review of the plan since 2013. Yes, we have made minor tweaks and adjustments in our biennial review years (2015 and 2017, respectively). After careful consideration and discussion with an association consultant, the board voted in July 2018 to defer a substantive review of the strategic plan until 2020.
The first task of the strategic plan steering committee will be to identify the process and priorities for developing the new plan. I should note, this process will involve all levels of governance and stakeholders—members, network leaders, commissioners. The aim of the steering committee is to develop policy-informed processes for AAMFT to be continuously thinking and planning strategically and generatively. You can look for more details about the planning process and opportunities for member engagement after the March 2020 board meeting.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not share the pleasure I had to honor and recognize the individual contributions of our 2019 outgoing board members: Past president Chris Habben, Treasurer Adrian Blow, Board members Sharon Ramsay and Silvia Kaminsky, and Student/Pre-Allied Mental Health member, Bryan Doster. On behalf of the entire board, I sincerely thank them for their exemplary service to the association.
Timothy F. Dwyer, PhD, LMFT