It is May and time is flying by. I wanted to keep you in the loop and give you a mid-term report highlighting what the Board of Trustees has been doing and summarize decisions that we have made since I became the Chair last August.
G-I-N is dealing with similar challenges as many membership organizations are around the world. Unstable global economies have a direct financial impact on G-I-N. However, we have been able to adapt and respond to the challenges we face both internally and externally. I am very pleased to let you know that G-I-N is a financially stable and growing organization despite the international economic situation.
We are a global organization with our members spread across six continents. It is critical for our members to stay connected besides attending the annual meeting. With this in mind, the G-I-N Board discussed various ideas regarding new membership engagement techniques and building up social media channels. I am happy to announce that later this year, you will see some new offerings by G-I-N. These include:
- We are going to launch a G-I-N Webinar Series that will be offered online to address some of the key issues related to guideline development and implementation.
- We are in the process of establishing online G-I-N Interest Groups, where the members can ask questionson issues such as methodology, explore various possibilities of collaboration, exchange ideas on topics, andeven share evidence reviews with their colleagues. G-I-N will provide a platform for members to increasecollaborations to develop joint international guidelines on topics of mutual interests, discuss and bounce offideas with experts and leaders in order to understand their perspectives, and to provide each other guidance onhow to meet various challenges.
- We prioritize updating and enhancing the G-I-N’s website. We have allocated some money to improve thewebsite to provide more updated and useful information. This will be an ideal way to stay connected with members spread around the globe.
G-I-N has taken a leadership role in standardizing guideline development methodology, providing guidance to implement guidelines, and promoting best practices. As you all know, G-I-N published a list of standards* that we are encouraging our members to follow. To help G-I-N members assess the strengths and weaknesses of a guideline, this year we are going to introduce a voluntary reporting of information by the guideline developers when they submit a guideline for inclusion in the G-I-N library. This voluntary reporting will be very simple checklist where guideline developers will identify which of the G-I-N proposed standards were met when they submit their guidelines for inclusion in G-I-N library. We hope that this will promote
discussion and possible agreement among a broad array of guideline developers on the standards as well as possible future revision of standards for guideline development. In addition, we are in the process of developing detailed papers to help G-I-N members understand and implement these standards. The first paper, which we are hoping will be ready later this year, will address the very important issue of conflicts of interest.
I am a firm believer of a leaner governing board structure. To meet the tough economic challenges as well as to improve the effectiveness of the Board of Trustees, I am happy to report that we have reduced the G-I-N Board size by 20% in one year. We have two less members in the current Board. In addition, later this year, we will reduce it by an additional one member, making a total of 3 less members compared to the past Boards.
We would also like to improve transparency when it comes to the Board of Trustees and its operations. Very soon, from this year onwards, minutes from the Board meetings and conference calls will be available to members on G-I-N’s website.
Individual members form an integral component of G-I-N. Currently, the Board of Trustees has one elected representative seat for an individual member with a one year term. Individual members have expressed concerns in the past regarding the need to extend this term since one year is too short to understand the inner workings of the organization and see the tasks through to completion. This was a very legitimate argument and the Board has voted to increase the term from one year to two years.
This change will be presented at the next G-I-N Annual General Meeting for approval by G-I-N members.
For any organization to be successful, it is incredibly important to have a full-time core management staff. This year, I am pleased to inform you that we have hired a new Executive Officer. In addition, we agreed to increase the administrative support from a 0.5 full-time staff to one full-time person. We already have 10 hours of dedicated web support per week. This will make a total of 2.25 full-time employees of G-I-N, which will help us tremendously in achieving our goals.
G-I-N must continue to develop and strengthen current partnerships and explore new partnerships to accomplish our mission and goals. The process is well underway and hopefully I will have some exciting collaborations to announce in the coming months. In addition, we are also in the process of establishing some regional communities of G-I-N, so stay tuned.
I would also like to update you regarding our plan for annual meetings. G-I-N 2013 is around the corner and I hope to see many of you in San Francisco. This year, the Board has decided to start looking a few years in the future when deciding the locations for our annual meeting. I am very pleased to let you know that G-I-N 2014 meeting will be in Melbourne, Australia and the G-I-N 2015 meeting will be in Netherlands (city to be decided soon).
I hope you find the highlights and my summary mid-term report helpful. I would like to take this opportunity thank my fellow Trustees, who are very hard working and extremely dedicated to G-I-N. It is a great group to work with and through their help, we will be able to efficiently utilize our limited resources and work towards reaching our goals.
Over the past year, many of my colleagues and friends have asked, “Why join G-I-N?” My response is that members benefit by networking with a great team of guideline developers and users, enhancing our profession, all focused on improving the quality of patient care by keeping abreast of the trends, challenges, and opportunities. Members benefits from the work of each other through education and collaboration. One of my favourite quotes, by Helen Keller, sums up the answer to this question nicely, “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Finally, I would really like to hear from you. Many of these changes are based on your suggestions to me over the past year. I appreciate your comments very much. If you have something to share with G-I-N membership, please take the opportunity to write a note to our newsletter engine. Please send me an email at email@example.com or call me at +1 215 351-2570 with any feedback or more suggestions. All of the Trustees, including myself, are here to serve you. I just can’t thank you enough for all that you do for G-I-N. As I have always said, you are the spirit of G-I-N and you are the network.
Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, FACP (Philadelphia, USA) Chair of G-I-N
Director, Clinical Policy, American College of Physicians
* Qaseem A, Forland F, Phillips S, Ollenschläger G, Macbeth F, van der Wees, P. Standards to Develop and Evaluate the Quality of Clinical Practice Guidelines: A Position Statement from the Guidelines International Network. Annals of Internal Medicine 2012;156:525-31.
In the editorial of the last newsletter, it was incorrectly written that GIN is the focus of an ongoing study from the University of Toronto. The goal of this study is to learn about how to optimize knowledge networks. Editor