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Stategic Plan
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American Osteopathic College of Anesthesiology (AOCA)

Strategic Planning Retreat

September 22, 2016 – Seattle, Washington



Jeremy Krock, President

Wayne Prokott, Vice President

Paul Gray, Immediate Past President

David Ninan, Treasurer

Raymond Sohn, Governor

Robert Vandergraff, Governor

Aaron McEvoy, AOCA Executive Director

Pamela Tolson, ACi, Consultant

Diana Ewert, Facilitator


Members of the AOCA Board of Governors met on September 22 in Seattle, Washington, to engage in strategic discussions based on the homework submitted by the members. The purpose of the homework was to encourage members to develop strategic goals around the topic areas (osteopathic medical education, relationships/collaboration with other organizations, osteopathic board certification, and the future of the osteopathic profession/single accreditation) along with any resources needed (human or capital) to accomplish these goals. Members were also asked to develop measures of success for the goals. Eight responses were submitted for consideration.

The responses were summarized into six areas for strategic discussion.

1.    Board Certification (Primary), Single Accreditation System (Secondary)

2.    Collaboration

3.    Education

4.    Membership

5.    Relationships

6.    Communications (Brand)

It was further noted that discussion would be limited as much as possible to those activities where AOCA can directly influence and impact the desired outcomes. Participants recognized that the sphere of influence relative to board certification is limited only to promotion of certification to individuals matriculating from osteopathic (and future osteopathically focused) graduate medical education programs.

A key point that must be acknowledged is how to incorporate osteopathic philosophy and practices into the practice of anesthesiology. While the members present believe they do practice osteopathically, it is difficult to articulate what this means and how this is demonstrated through the services provided.


Board Certification and Single Accreditation System

The sphere of influence relative to board certification for AOCA is very limited. That said it is clear the AOCA governors and leaders present expressed concern in the following areas:

  1. Relationship – the relationship between the AOCA and AOBA is contentious at best. While there is a clear understanding that the relationship between the AOCA and AOBA is unique and separate, there is a clear desire to become more collaborative in an effort to support the AOA board certification process and options for residents in osteopathically focused programs through 2020 and beyond.
  2. AOCA is concerned that the application process will hinder if not eliminate the viability of AOBA certification as a choice for residents in osteopathically focused programs.
  3.  The AOCA is concerned about a direct pathway to the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists and other AOA bureaus/councils/committees.
  4.  The role of AOCA in supporting the conversion of osteopathic residency programs into ACGME osteopathically focused programs.
  5.  The college desires to offer a special function to physicians sitting for the certification examination offered during AOCA meetings. The certification board has precluded them from doing so indicating this type of activity is inappropriate. This includes the posting of signage outside the examination rooms, providing advance notification, or providing information to individuals as they exit the examination room.



The primary focus of the discussion was based on data – what exists and what can be made available to the organization. The question was raised regarding information exchange with ACGME programs to ensure that specialty organizations have access to physician data for those participating in osteopathically focused programs. Members discussed barriers to membership and whether the current membership structure will be applicable in 2020 and there was facilitated discussion around the membership data currently available and how the data can be reported in a way that permits generational marketing for AOCA programs, products and services.

Members determined that membership information can be reported out by membership category as well a generational demographics – boomers, generation X, generation Y and millennials. Research into marketing techniques for programs, products and services can be implemented, measured and noted as to success rate.

Other areas to strategically address:

  •  Expansion to past members
  •  Membership discounts or complimentary membership offered in conjunction with the purchase of a product or service
  •  New membership categories – group practices, institutional (ACOs, health systems, etc.)
  • Tying membership to program offerings i.e., X number of members and above receive complimentary registration to educational programs, etc.
  • Purchase of discounted vouchers to be used for organizational educational offerings
  • Marketing through social media
  • Outreach and marketing geographically depending upon the location and distribution of members within a targeted area
  • Review licensure information by state to augment membership recruitment
  •  Indicate the annual membership meeting held in conjunction with educational programs is indicated as an open meeting



The college is viewed as the primary sponsor of specialty CME credit for osteopathically board certified physicians. The members discussed options to improve and enhance the educational programs offered by the college. Utilizing simulation laboratories was specifically mentioned as something that should be investigated for all contracted future educational programs. Other ideas offered include:

  • First time attendee/new member reception
  • Speaker Training
  • Session on College History and leadership opportunities

Also up for consideration is the status of AOCA as an AOA accredited sponsor of continuing medical education.

AOCA could become accredited by the ACCME to provide allopathic as well as osteopathic continuing medical education or could work with another organization that is already ACCME accredited to increase the market share.  Other groups that may be interested in the education provided by the college include nurse anesthetists, anesthesiology assistants, the Association of Osteopathic Military Physicians and Surgeons, Society of Airway Management, SOMA, international anesthesiology associations, etc.



Advocacy is defined in the broadest sense – advocating on behalf of the specialty and members of the college in situations where the influence of the national organization can be leveraged. It is clear that advocacy is needed with the certification board and issues identified by members and leadership. The college must let members know that their concerns are heard and what is being done on their behalf. This includes:


  • Reporting directly to constituents
  • Responding directly to the group or individuals raising the issues
  • Responding verbally at meetings
  • Utilizing social media, newsletters, annual reports and website as vehicles to share what is being done



Some responses provided by board members included assimilation or affiliation with the American Society of Anesthesiologists which was not viewed as a solution but is viewed as an opportunity for potential collaborations. Other opportunities to build relationships are noted under the other focus areas above.


Strategic Goals

The following strategic goals, objectives and strategies have been developed based on survey responses, board homework and group discussion on September 22. All should be reviewed by the full board of governors for consensus and agreement. The goals are ongoing for the term of the plan. The objectives and strategies are focused on the near term – what can be accomplished between adopted and 18 months. Long term objectives and the strategies used to achieve them become part of the ongoing strategy process. This also allows the board of governors to be responsive to changes in the environment.


Osteopathic Board Certification

Goal: AOCA will advocate for osteopathic board certification as the best choice for graduates of osteopathically focused residency training programs.

Objective: Build a stronger relationship with the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology (AOBA) and Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS).

Strategy: Share information regarding the member perception of the AOBA with the AOBA representative to the BOS.

Strategy: Develop communications to inform membership of the relationship between the AOCA and AOBA.

Strategy: Communicate to membership responses received from the AOBA and BOS relative to issues raised by the AOCA.



Single Accreditation System

Goal: AOCA encourages AOA accredited post graduate programs to apply for ACGME recognition before the end of the calendar year.

Objective: Communicate with all AOA accredited residency programs the importance of applying to and receive ACGME recognition.

Strategy: Leadership will reach out to program which have not started the ACGME accreditation process to offer support and access to assistance. Time Sensitive – Application process must be started before December 31, 2016.

Strategy: Offer the AOA Single Accreditation System Application Assistance Program –



Goal: AOCA is the membership home for anesthesiologists completing an osteopathically focused residency training program and provides programs, products and services that are highly valued.

Objective: Conduct a competitive analysis of AOCA programs, products and services.

            Strategy: Assess competition as identified through the analysis.

            Strategy: Determine what AOCA can uniquely deliver to the market place.



Goal: AOCA is the preferred provider of osteopathic education for anesthesiologists completing osteopathically focused residency programs.

Objective: Ensure AOCA educational programs remain relevant and well attended.

Strategy: Review timing and locations of all current educational programs.

Strategy: Ensure programming exceeds the annual requirement for AOA category 1-A by the AOBA.

Strategy: Review the delivery of educational program and continue to incorporate simulation labs when and where appropriate.

Strategy: Incorporate programming that addresses the various learning needs of anesthesiologists.



Goal: AOCA will advocate on behalf of the profession to organizations, elected officials and regulatory bodies.

Objective: Enhance communications between AOCA and its constituents.

Strategy: Report results of advocacy efforts to the AOCA constituents.

Strategy: Partner with outside organizations to support legislative and regulatory advocacy on behalf of the profession.



Goal: AOCA will build relationships as determined by the board of governors to support its members and the profession.

Objective: Conduct an organizational review to determine, based on strategic goals and objectives, where to establish relationships.

Strategy: Utilize the competitive analysis to identify potential organizational relationships.

Objective: Continue to collaborate with the AOA on areas of mutual interest.

Strategy: Invite AOA leadership to attend AOCA annual meeting and other educational programs.

Strategy: Ask AOA leadership to provide updates to the board of governors and AOA membership.

Objective: Build a stronger relationship with the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

Strategy: Invite ASA leadership to attend AOCA annual meeting.

Strategy: Explore potential of joint educational programs.

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