Why Should You Take Pride in Your ACFAS Membership? Let's Start with the Numbers...
John S. Steinberg, DPM, FACFAS
There are many reasons why you should indeed take pride in your decision to be a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Hopefully, you feel some of this pride when you and your patients see the FACFAS or AACFAS behind your name. It is a distinction that you worked hard for, and it is a distinction that continues to represent you and this profession in the best possible ways.
Let’s look at a few other reasons that make me particularly proud:
The Annual Scientific Conference
I think many of you would join me in agreeing that our Annual Scientific Conference continues to be the largest and most influential scientific gathering of foot and ankle surgeons in the world. Every year, this meeting brings the best and the brightest to the podium in an environment that minimizes bias and maximizes practical knowledge sharing. Year after year, we seem to break another attendance record, and the lecture evaluations remain in the “excellent” column. The Exhibit Hall and the meeting serve as the place to come each year to learn the latest in surgery. We are gearing up for New Orleans now, but look at these numbers from Nashville last year: 2,942 total attendance, including 1,719 DPMs, and 119 speakers.
Nothing tells the health and value of a professional association like its membership renewal rate. ACFAS is privileged to have an annual membership renewal rate that averages >96 percent over the past five years. We continue to have a very high percentage of newly board-certified physicians join ACFAS. Student and Resident memberships are at an all-time high. In fact, we have enjoyed steady growth over the past five years to more than 73 percent student membership at the schools now.
This one gets personal. I have served ACFAS as a committee member or board member since 2000. Through this work, I have come to know the group of volunteers who make up these committees, and I can tell you they are a great bunch—selfless, hardworking and benevolent. I am also proud to share that ACFAS is very much inclusive of those who want to volunteer. As a matter of fact, despite very limited positions, ~95 percent of eligible volunteers received a committee assignment each of the past several years. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer, please make sure to reply to the “Call for Volunteers” when it is issued to the membership each fall.
We take your dues money seriously and do everything possible to keep dues increases to a minimum. Having firsthand experience on the board, I can certify that there are no extravagant travel benefits for your ACFAS leadership or staff. We often do committee and board business via conference call to minimize travel expense and maximize efficiency.
We continue to enjoy a very strong annual budget, and we have an extremely healthy association reserve fund that is wisely invested for future needs. In fact, we use the reserve funds for all-member benefits, such as the award-winning Take a New Look at Foot & Ankle Surgeons public relations campaign to help raise awareness and referrals from other healthcare practitioners.
Just 14 full-time association staff members do the business of more than 7,600 ACFAS members. This is below the average staff-to-membership ratio noted by the American Society of Association Executives. Do we have room to improve? Of course, every organization can find ways to improve, and we, like many other associations, work diligently toward future progress. Please consider joining us as a volunteer in the future, or if that is not for you, please keep being proud of your decision to renew your membership each year.
Questions, comments, concerns? Please contact me at email@example.com.