Welcome, President Billett
Q&A with ASPHO's New President
Amy Billett, MD
What is your vision for ASPHO during the next 2 years? Are there particular undertakings you anticipate?
My most important goal in the next year is to help guide ASPHO through an effective strategic planning process because that will impact ASPHO long after my term as president ends. We have already had several meetings to prepare for strategic planning, and we have hired a consultant to ensure we complete the process effectively. ASPHO has a phenomenal board of trustees, but we want to strengthen everyone’s skills around strategic planning. We want the board to be knowledgeable about strategic planning in general before getting into the details of the process itself. The first level of strategic planning will involve gathering existing data from needs assessment and member surveys. We want to focus on what will help ASPHO grow and be better. We hope to have a draft strategic plan by fall, and then we will be refining it and posting it for member comments and feedback. We hope that members will be vocal. Next, we will make edits and eventually share the new plan at the 2017 Annual Meeting.
Overall, I hope that ASPHO is a stronger and more effective organization when I hand the gavel to Patrick Leavey in 2018.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing ASPHO as an organization?
This is the key question as we begin our strategic planning process. Our members work in a wide variety of practice settings, with or without areas of specialty, and follow many different career paths. We want to ensure that ASPHO works well for all, including members at small, medium, and large institutions. We want to ensure our diversity considers not only common attributes of diversity, but also diversity within our field. We would like to make sure that we acknowledge its importance and ensure that ASPHO meets the needs of our diverse membership.
Fifty percent of the clinical workforce in our field is now made up of advanced practice providers (APPs). We need to understand the needs of the small but growing number of APP members and consider the optimal way for ASPHO to address this segment of our workforce. What is the optimal way of moving forward as the world around us changes?
We need to constantly monitor member engagement in the organization; engagement is all about value. We are all bombarded by various organizations, including our own institutions, with information and opportunities. How does ASPHO become the “go to” for our members in getting the information, knowledge, and news they need to be engaged? This dovetails with diversity and inclusion as well as communication strategies. We need to do a good job of providing concise, relevant and up-to-date information. The reason we’re doing the strategic plan is to address these and other types of concerns that will arise.
In your candidate statement, you mentioned three areas important to the subspecialty’s future—research funding, work force, and efficiency of professional practice . Can you elaborate?
Research funding is critical to moving our field forward and is one of our recently defined advocacy priorities. Through ASPHO’s membership in the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, we regularly advocate in Washington, DC, for increased NIH funding. I am proud of ASPHO’s Clinician Educator Awards that were sponsored by the Enriching the Future Campaign, our Young Investigator Travel Awards, and our partnership with St. Baldrick’s Foundation for the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.
The workforce topic is really critical, and it has become a major focus. We are very much focused on ensuring that we help support and grow the new people entering our field, as they will be the leaders of ASPHO in the future. This work began under the leadership of others, but moving it forward to completion is important. ASPHO is supporting the development of a white paper on the workforce in our field. I would like to take this moment to thank Jeff Hord, MD, for his dedicated leadership of several workforce surveys and Allen Wayne, MD, and Patrick Leavey, MD, for leading the task force. We know how important this information is to members because the workforce data is downloaded often from ASPHO’s website.
Efficiency of professional practice is a challenge for all of us. Joanne Hilden, MD, our recent past president, has been leading efforts to ensure ASPHO is “at the table” as potential changes to Maintenance of Certification are considered by the American Board of Pediatrics. I plan to continue this work in conjunction with Joanne. We have asked the Practice Committee to think of how we can best share information among institutions and how we can best share approaches so that each individual site doesn’t need to recreate the wheel for everything.
Is there anything in general you would like to say to the members as your term as ASPHO President begins?
I hope that all members of ASPHO reach out to me with suggestions and questions. And if you are not already a volunteer in one of ASPHO’s activities, I encourage you to get involved. There is a volunteer link on the ASPHO website; if you’d like to get involved, fill it out and we’ll get back to you. When we send communications out for comment concerning the strategic plan, please take the time to share your thoughts. Reach out to a committee chair if there’s a specific area you’d like to discuss. If you think there’s a SIG that ASPHO doesn’t have but should, let us know. There are a multitude of ways to get involved in ASPHO.
You’ve been an ASPHO member for most of your career. How has the membership benefitted you through different stages of your career?
It goes without saying that I am a better clinician because of all the information I have learned by attending the annual meetings. However, I think the most important member benefit to me has been getting to know so many different people in our field, at many different career stages, involved in many different areas. ASPHO truly feels like home. Even before ASPHO offered a formal mentoring program, I found outside mentors through ASPHO. In recent years, I have particularly benefited from career development sessions that help me in my own career and also help me to help others.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Reading is my number one way to relax. For a while, I refused to get an e-reader because I love physical books, but I eventually caved in and now I love to travel without piles of books weighing down my suitcase. I continue to enjoy parenting because there are always new challenges and new delights with each phase. My husband and I think we have mastered social media well enough to know what our three young adult children are doing, but realize that we are deluded. We only see what they want us to see. We treasure opportunities to travel as a family, including hiking in Patagonia last December.