Stronger Together: The Power of Membership
Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS
I can recall
attending my very first ACFAS Annual Scientific Conference and the awe I felt
at seeing how many members were there, united by the same objective: to learn
together. The lecture halls were filled with attendees, eager to explore the
latest advanced techniques and to catch up with old friends and colleagues.
The excitement when we all gathered for the opening session was palpable!
As we embark on
our annual dues renewal, I am again struck by our community of ACFAS members.
During the last decade, our membership has grown steadily by more than a
hundred members each year, hitting an all-time high of 7,900 members this year.
And more impressively, our members continue to pursue membership in the
College, with more than 96 percent of our members renewing last year, even
while the pandemic raged and no one could predict what the future held for us.
It was a clear demonstration of the power of membership and how we are all stronger
caused me to reflect further on the power of membership and what ACFAS is
providing that makes us all continue to come back for more.
As the premiere
leader in providing foot and ankle surgical education, ACFAS bravely moved
forward with a sold out Annual Scientific Conference this year while keeping
all our members and staff safe. We continue to offer virtual programming with
more than 300 hours of continuing medical education, 90 podcasts and new
initiatives targeted at residency programs who needed support during the
But being stronger
together also means embracing other organizations that share our vision for
building the future for our profession. Since 2018, the Joint Task Force of
Orthopaedic and Podiatric Surgeons has worked on mutually beneficial policy
goals. The four participating organizations, American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons (AAOS), the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), the
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), and the American
Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), have worked collaboratively to address
the goal of equivalency in education pathways and certification. This work will
help to strengthen our profession and support future generations as they build
careers and practices. The task force is also working together to tackle
insurance barriers to ensure parity in payments and patient access to all foot
and ankle surgeons.
organization evolves, we recognize that preparation for future challenges
involves member recruitment and leadership development, to help us navigate
the unknown and fuel the growth of our profession by bringing in new voices and
experiences. The College’s Membership Committee has embraced this challenge,
and in a grass roots effort, is working to partner with industry colleagues to
roll out a series of events promoting the role of foot and ankle surgeons to
teens in economically disadvantaged areas. It’s early in the process, but so
far this community outreach has been a memorable and inspiring experience for
both the surgeons and the teens.
As I reflect on
the most recent Annual Scientific Conference, I see the many young members who
have grown and taken on leadership roles within the College. And I see our
members serving as leaders in many other capacities too: within their
hospitals, sitting on Boards of other organizations, and at home, in their
local community. Our collective commitment to leadership is very encouraging.
To assist our
members in realizing their individual potential, the College is rolling out a
Leadership Institute to assist and support us in growing our leadership skills
while also providing a pathway for future involvement in ACFAS. We have high
hopes for this program – that it will facilitate the continued growth of our
profession and develop leaders who will work to move our vision forward.
professionals, colleagues, and leaders, remember we are stronger together.