The President Reports

Seeking the Wisdom of the CHEST Crowd


The wisdom of the crowd is the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than that of a single expert. At CHEST, the makeup of our membership is diverse and energetic, and it comprises individuals with unique expertise who not only serve as faculty but who are also eager for opportunities themselves to learn. That collective wisdom, leveraged over the entire membership, is what the leadership of CHEST will be listening to this year as we create new educational products and continuously improve the annual meeting and other courses held throughout the year. From broad-based general overviews such as CHEST’s board reviews, to more specific courses such as training in bedside ultrasound or ventilator management, each are geared to make all of us better clinicians who will recognize and provide the latest and most effective treatments for our patients. If you had the opportunity to attend my opening address at the CHEST annual meeting in San Antonio in October, you heard me talk about the innate wisdom of “the crowd.” We all have various “crowds” in our lives -- our work colleagues, families, and relationships in professional societies. I reminded the audience that if we take the time to listen to each of these “crowds,” they usually know the answers. In the coming year, we, as a leadership team for CHEST, will be focusing on being better listeners and utilizing “our crowd” of members to better connect in order to develop educational products that will train clinicians, educators, and researchers in the very latest and most effective care in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

Dr. Clayton T. Cowl

Here are just a few initiatives planned this year that have come in response to member comments and suggestions:

•Digital Strategy Task Force – This multidisciplinary group, composed of both volunteer members and association staff, has been assigned to evaluate the user experience associated with existing CHEST content delivery platforms and highlight opportunities for improvements. In this effort, they will identify trends that will enable the organization to better execute on the digital-dependent strategies in the organization’s strategic plan in a successful way. The group will be making recommendations to the Board of Regents that will include timelines, goals, and specific objectives, define organizational voice and brand messaging present on web and other platforms, and create specific metrics to measure the user experience on an ongoing basis.

•Optimizing Board Review Courses – CHEST will be looking at ways to present some content on digital platforms that are difficult to teach in a classic didactic format. Topics such as acid-base disturbances and biostatistics are more effectively presented using a digital, problem-based format. Efforts will be made to shorten board review courses slightly without compromising quality or jeopardizing coverage of content and to incorporate succinct bulleted summaries of each topic covered. In addition, plans are in place to create new courses that will train learners the techniques for passing the new “low stakes” board examination offered by the ABIM.

•Making membership more affordable for international colleagues – New discounted membership rates have been launched to allow international members to obtain the “Enhanced” level of membership to be eligible for fellowship in the association (ie, the FCCP designation). Volume discounts have been introduced for regional chapters and organizations to allow health-care team members from around the world to join CHEST in conjunction with their local society at a fraction of the cost of a single member rate.

•Patient education modules from the CHEST Foundation – A variety of patient education modules are now available to providers, as well as to the general public for information on a wide array of topics – from correct use of inhalers to state-of-the-art therapies for COPD or lung cancer.

Improved opportunities for member participation -- From improved instructions for joining a CHEST NetWork to specific orientation instructions for new members of the Board of Regents, improved communications have become available to help members become better acquainted with the framework of the organization and allow them to become more effective once they begin new leadership roles.

•Embracing innovation -- This year, the organization will launch CHEST Inspiration, a program that involves development of an environmental scan to be shared with our members regarding how CHEST can be a differentiator in an environment where quality education is becoming more accessible and, as a result, more competitive. As part of this initiative, CHEST will plan to host a series of focus group sessions to act on the environmental scan and will also roll out an innovation competition at the 2019 annual meeting in New Orleans in October.

•Expanded international strategy – CHEST is responding to the requests from member groups in countries within Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East to hold a CHEST Congress each spring to bring the best of the CHEST annual meeting to our colleagues from around the world who may not be able to travel to the meeting held in the U.S., as well as a more intimate board review-like meeting each summer in various regions of the world. For example, this year, the College will host a CHEST Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, April 10-12, and a regional meeting in Athens, Greece, June 27-29.

We are committed to improving communication with our members and encouraging innovation regardless of their prior participation levels. CHEST will continue to bring its brand of education focused on more hands-on learning and team-based knowledge using simulation, serious gaming, and artificial intelligence in the years ahead. CHEST leaders have begun to be active on social media, and we will be introducing new platforms for all members to better understand what is happening from a leadership perspective. Together, we will be able to harness the collective wisdom of our talented and innovative members in order to make a lasting difference for our patients.

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