James Smeeding
A•P•O•R President 1997 - 1998


Out of the Terrible Two's
published in A•P•O•R News, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-August 1997

A•P•O•R is a child entering its third year of life - the first year we crawled with few resources beyond the collective energy of our "Core Founders". A major program, the 1st Annual International Meeting showed us that our family could be a large one, that many colleagues also wanted to grow the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes assessment. As we entered our second year of life, our frustrations grew - we wanted to be able to do much more, but our vocabulary centered on "NO"! "NO" - we could not consider spending any resources on this, "NO" we could not accept any risk, "NO" we could not have the proverbial candy that a large well-established organization gave its members. But through the second year we continued to grow. YES, the 2nd Annual International Meeting provided us with the opportunity to do more. Our muscles strengthened, our corpus grew in size, and the collective knowledge and energy of another year of phenomenal growth has powered us to the present. Now the challenges lie in continuing to grow, and to grow in a manner that nurtures our members and allows our presence to take on a more meaningful societal responsibility.

For me, the 2nd Annual Meeting was one of continued encouragement. My years in nurturing other professional organizations has given me insight into the balance of volunteerism and the reality of staff support. Voluntary efforts must grow with the size of our membership. If you ran into me at the 2nd meeting, I probably pulled you aside and asked you to join one of our 11 committees. I grabbed your business card and wrote down a note regarding our conversation and my thoughts on where you could help out. I'm sure I must have asked 200 people to become more engaged and nobody turned me down! I believe in asking for support because it is only with the members input that the leadership of A•P•O•R can make good decisions. While we can ask for help through a sign-up sheet or other mechanism, it is truly our volunteer leaders that can enroll the assistance that they need. A personal note of encouragement, a request to lend a hand rarely goes unnoticed.

The weekend of August 15th through 17th we will gather once more in Philadelphia - in the heat of summer to plan another year of growth. Our committee chairs will offer their requests and this year we can meekly say YES to some of our desires. Each chairperson that represents committee members will be able to present, clarify, request and plan activities for this third year. The board will takes these plans and make the decisions that will guide us through another year of growth.

We have reached out to our institutional members to make them part of the fiber of our organization. Their professional interest and those of A•P•O•R are undeniably intertwined. Collective guidance, encouragement and support for A•P•O•R will be a strong result of this cooperative planning session.

Jean Paul Gagnon has guided us with strong vision and conviction during our second year. His personal efforts and those of Allen Hillman have allowed us to join closer with our colleagues from ISEEM (International Society for Economic Evaluations in Medicine). At the Philadelphia board meeting, three representatives of ISEEM will join our board of directors.

YES - we can program educational sessions that should continue to identify our leadership in health outcomes assessment. Our November Lipid conference is an international disease-specific meeting that should demonstrate and clarify real-world applications of research that leads to evidence-based health decision-making.

YES - we can develop a professional staff to support our numerous volunteers. Our staff under the leadership of Marilyn Dix Smith has provided us the framework to grow. At times it was Marilyn's actions as our cautious maternal guardian that told us "NO" but today in our third year we are better for that guidance. YES - we can move forward on a Journal the represents our organization. YES - we can suggest other professional educational opportunities that promote and support our developing science to medical decision-makers in all health delivery systems. YES - we will continue to become a recognized organization that will grow onwards with your help and support.

I am honored to be your President and Board Chairperson during our third year. I encourage you to stand up and participate. Go to our web-site and join a committee. Get involved - and help us grow!

Messages from the ISPOR Presidents