HAPS Leadership (#1): The president-elect

Meet the HAPS Board of Directors
Meet the HAPS Board of Directors

Our president, Valerie O’Loughlin, blogged recently about our mid-year meeting in Jacksonville.  She explained how the Board of Directors (BOD) and the Steering Committee (SC) meet for an extended weekend to get a lot of work done.  It was a very productive time, allowing us to clearly work through the budget for this year, see the status of work on the 2014 Annual Conference in Jacksonville, begin our next round of Strategic Planning meetings, and anticipate any other business that might crop up in the coming months.  We got a lot done, but we also enjoyed each other’s company and renewed bonds of friendship and camaraderie that reinforces why we took on these leadership roles.  As the president-elect, I observed Valerie lead the meetings and offered input when I could.  Until this year, I had been the Chair of the Steering Committee for a number of years, so I was quite familiar with the workings of the mid-year meeting.  However, I have to admit it was strange to now be part of the “Executive Branch” after several years in the “Legislative Branch“.

One of the topics that was discussed during the mid-year meeting was this Blog.  There has been a lot of enthusiasm for this blog and we wish to keep making it as useful as possible.  One original purpose of the blog was to give everyone a peek into the workings of the HAPS leadership.  We realized that we had lost some of that direction.  So, here I am.

As president-elect, one of my tasks will be to offer you a view of the leaders of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society.  I’ll be posting each Wednesday on a different position within the BOD or SC, offering you some insight into their work as well as their personality.  I’ll be interviewing the various HAPS leaders, letting them offer you their take on their position, what they have put into it, and what they have gained from it.  Willing to put my money where my mouth is, I volunteered to be the topic of the first entry in this blog series.

At the 2013 Annual HAPS Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was elected as the president-elect for HAPS.  That translates into a 3-year commitment.  During this current academic year, I am the president-elect.  My main job is to learn how to be the president.  I attend the monthly e-meetings, keep up on the email chatter, and field occasional phone calls within the BOD and SC.  I participate in discussions led by our president while anticipating how I will lead the Society in the coming year.  During the 2014-2015 year, I will be the President, taking the helm of this incredible organization.  I will set the agendas for the BOD meetings, interact with other educational societies, and develop President’s Initiatives for my tenure (I’ll let President Valerie tell you more about that idea in her blog entry).  My year as president will culminate with presiding over the 2015 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  During the 2015-2016, I will serve as Past President, updating the Policy & Procedures manual while offering advice and institutional memory to the new President of HAPS.  That’s sums up my three years in a nutshell.

BallotThere is one other major duty that I have as president-elect.  I serve as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee.  I gather a committee of individuals to create a slate of candidates for next year’s elections.  The four positions on the BOD that will be up for election are President, Treasurer, Western Regional Director, and Eastern Regional Director.  We’ll contact individuals, asking if they would be interested in running for these various positions.  After we’ve cajoled and bribed enough people to fill the slate, we’ll put together a ballot on the website.  It will be open for your vote during the spring, with the winners of the various races announced before the next Annual Conference.

Cheers!
Cheers!

It is so exciting to be part of the HAPS leadership.  I could go on and on, but I know when it’s time to stop and take a breath.  If you have any questions about the HAPS leadership, feel free to email me at TLehman@HAPSConnect.org.  Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for the next entry in this blog.  Next week, I’ll tell you about two gentlemen who are doing incredible things with test questions.

HAPS Poker Walk: fun and merriment for a good cause

Among my duties as President-elect of HAPS was to organize and oversee the yearly 5K fun run/walk that is held during the Annual Conference. This event was developed a few years ago as a way to raise monies for the HAPS Foundation, and for our members to have an opportunity to socialize and get some exercise at the same time. (For those of you not familiar with the Foundation: the HAPS Foundation was established to manage funds that may be used to advance current and future HAPS projects, such as the HAPS-Institute and the Learning Outcomes Project. The Foundation also provides money for scholarships and awards to our members.)

Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!
Look at all the registrants for the HAPS Poker Walk!

Since this year’s meeting was in Las Vegas (which typically has temps of 100+ degrees at this time of year), we were concerned about having a regular run and potentially killing off our members. (As a general rule in organizations, it is not a good idea to cause bodily harm to your membership.) 🙂 Our current President Dee Silverthorn suggested we hold a Poker Walk instead, so members would not get overheated.

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All types of participants came to walk this year. 🙂

What is a Poker Walk, you ask? Some more official rules may be found here, but a nice summary is that it is part walk, part scavenger hunt, topped off with a hand of poker. Participants start off at a central location and receive a poker chip and a clue to their next destination. They walk to the next destination where they will get another poker chip and a clue to the third destination. This repeats until the participants have collected 4 chips, and they return to the starting point. There they exchange their chips for a 5-card draw poker hand. For an additional donation, they may exchange one of their cards. The best poker hand(s) win prizes.

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Poker Walk volunteers dance away for participants at the first destination.

I was assisted in the planning of this event by Tom Lehman (Steering Committee chair and new President-Elect) and Bob Crocker (co-chair, Foundation Oversight Committee). The three of us were able to address various challenges in the planning and eventually came up with a route that wasn’t too terribly long and had easily identifiable landmarks. Multiple volunteers from the board, steering committee and membership got up extra early on Monday morning so they could staff the various locations. McGraw-Hill graciously donated water bottles to all participants and the annual conference committee had a variety of prizes to give both before and after the event.

But the big question remained…. Would people get up early on Monday to participate in a walk at 7am? The answer was yes! We had over 60 people participate and engage in the fun. Volunteers at each station entertained the participants, and our final station dealt poker hands like card sharks. The annual conference committee had many prizes on hand so many participants walked away with a prize. Many people commented that they had a great time and would like to so this again. So next year, when our annual conference is in Jacksonville, be prepared for another similar event. While the event may not be a poker walk per se, it will be something that is fun, gets us moving, and helps the HAPS Foundation.

Building homes and partnerships with Medical Sciences and the community

Who let this person have a hammer?
Who let this person have a hammer?

Anatomy and physiology courses offer wonderful opportunities for service learning. Our students may volunteer at local health clinics and hospitals, they may organize health fairs for school children, and/or they may visit individuals in hospices and retirement homes. These service learning ventures often are organized by the professors and it is the students who are the primary volunteers, but this is not always the case. Our medical students at IU frequently initiate and organize their own community engagement ventures. And recently, one such venture solicited both student AND faculty volunteers to work together.

halfway done with the siding!
halfway done with the siding!

This venture was a Habitat for Humanity build. Our first year class representative (Bryce) was active with Habitat for Humanity in the past, and he arranged a Medical Sciences ‘build’ day where both medical students and faculty could participate. Bryce took it upon himself to solicit volunteers, prepare the work schedule, and liaison with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to set up a good date and site. I’ve always been impressed with Habitat’s work, and I jumped at the chance to participate in a build. In addition, I was looking forward to working with my students and colleagues in a non-classroom setting.

The morning started out chilly and many of us were a little sleepy, but we were excited to begin work.  We began the morning with learning a bit about our tasks (either putting up vinyl siding on two homes or doing the indoor painting) and we met the families who would live in these homes, as they worked beside us.  We learned about the ‘sweat equity’ these families had to earn (by working on other families’ homes first) before they could build a home of their own.  And we met the wonderful coordinators and leaders of the local Habitat chapter.

Many of us had never put up siding before, but we quickly learned, thanks to the guidance provided by Bryce.  Slowly but surely,

from none to done in a day!
from none to done in a day!

the back of one house (which had no siding in the morning) was completely covered with siding by the day’s end.  This was a remarkable feat for us, especially considering we made some mistakes and had to remove some of our work and start over again.  Students and faculty worked as a team towards a common goal.  So the team wasn’t in the hospital room or O.R. – but the team building was incredibly valuable.   And in a single day, we had a tangible product to show for our hard work.

I personally viewed this opportunity as a way that I could help some others in our community.   What I did not expect was how this opportunity helped strengthen the relationships I had with my students and colleagues, and how much *I* learned from this whole venture.

IU School of Medicine Habitat volunteers - a job well done!
IU School of Medicine Habitat volunteers – a job well done!

So I challenge all of you to think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to service learning ventures with your A&P students.  Don’t feel that the community engagement must occur in a health care setting, just because we teach anatomy and physiology.  Perhaps your local animal shelter needs some volunteers to help exercise the animals, or perhaps the local Boys and Girls club would like a group of students and faculty to simply play some board games with their kids.  In the end, we strengthen our relationships with the community and all of us learn to work as a team – and isn’t that what we want our future health care professionals to know?