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President's Message

Last Updated:
November 02, 2018

Jilda Vargus-Adams, MD MSc

The AACPDM welcomes you! I write this having just returned home from the Academy’s 72nd Annual Meeting. We had a wonderful time together learning and sharing our ‘Transformative Journeys’ in Cincinnati. ‘Transformative Journeys’ is a meaningful description of the work the Academy does and the paths our members follow around the world to impact the lives of people with and at risk for cerebral palsy and other childhood onset disabilities. As the Academy pursues its vision of being a global leader in the multidisciplinary scientific education of health professionals and researchers in the field, we will reach beyond the Annual Meeting to provide this education to you.

Please use this website to learn more about our educational offerings and broader Academy initiatives.

Moving into 2019, the Academy will begin implementing the Strategic Plan we formulated in the last year. The development took many months and involved input from many members, including an interactive session with 40 people at our mid-year board meeting in March 2018. The process was skillfully orchestrated by our own past presidents Drs. Maureen O’Donnell and Darcy Fehlings.

The new Strategic Plan builds upon the six goals developed in the prior Strategic Plan of 2013. Please look here on our website for the full description of the Strategic Plan - but if you want some quick highlights, consider these:

  • Goal #1: Talent Pool - attract other groups to membership including nurses, adult-focused providers, students and trainees
  • Goal #2: Research – promote research, research mentoring and use of common data elements, and pursue greater work in comparative effectiveness and in translational neuroscience
  • Goal #3: Learning Innovation – provide more types of educational offerings, develop Special Interest Groups, and support international education
  • Goal #4: Partnership & Collaboration – develop the Community Council and relationships with other entities and professional bodies
  • Goal #5: Service Delivery and Quality Improvement – expand the Academy’s Care Pathways and support implementation science and QI endeavors
  • Goal #6: Organizational Excellence – diversify revenue streams, track performance, and optimize governance structure

What you will see happening over the next year should address these goals. As always, the Committees of the AACPDM are hard at work to accomplish the goals of the Academy and to focus their efforts on the Strategic Plan. We are starting off with an exploration of how Special Interest Groups (“SIG’s”) could function within our Academy at the same time we look outward and begin forays to expand our membership and to partner with others. In fact, I think the Strategic Plan represents a bit of a pivot for us… moving ahead with our core mission but broadening our view. In the next three years, the Academy will grow and include more professionals from more varied backgrounds. We will also bolster things we value – like research grants and awards, our Care Pathways, and our Annual Meeting. And we will expand e-courses, networking opportunities, partnerships, and mechanisms to help our members put science to work and measure progress. If you want to get involved with any of this, please consider joining a Committee and contributing.

The focus on international education will be highlighted as we prepare for a very special Annual Meeting in September 2019 in Anaheim, California. Although it will be our 73rd Annual Meeting, it is only the second Triannual Meeting of the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability (IAACD) – and the first IAACD meeting to be held in conjunction with the AACPDM. It is a great opportunity for our Academy to contribute to “Knowledge Without Borders” and to open our arms to colleagues around the world. We anticipate a vibrant and record-breaking meeting with expanded offerings including symposia geared toward international attendees, trainee posters, and our usual high quality keynote speakers, instructional courses, posters and free papers showcasing the best work in childhood-onset disability.

I am excited for my year as our Academy’s president! I look forward to working to realize our Strategic Plan and to watch the AACPDM grow. I hope you will share your ideas and your talents with us. Get involved and enjoy. And keep in touch!