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HeSCA Presidential Address

HeSCA Presidential address, June 23, 2012

Those of you in this room know that HeSCA is an incredibly valuable organization that has played a huge role in the evolution of our profession and the professional development of our members. It was founded in 1959 as the Council on Medical Television by people focused on promoting better communication among biomedical scientists and health science practitioners. Over the years that focus has expanded. We've experienced tremendous growth and a vibrant, international membership. At one time our members numbered over 600 and we regularly attracted 200 or more to our conferences. Unfortunately, as you can see from the small turnout here - times have changed.

Even though HeSCA struggles as an organization, we have been able to meet the purposes as described in our constitution. We have written for the Journal, developed valuable and successful annual meetings, communicated association and member news through Feedback, conducted and judged outstanding media competitions, and provided an extraordinary forum for networking in our field. However, once our membership dropped below 150, we have not been financially viable, relying on reserve funds to maintain the association. Despite a dedicated core, participation in leadership and operations continues to decline. HeSCA no longer has the critical mass of members needed to continue as the organization it currently is. So the Board of Directors has decided that HeSCA needs to transform once again - this time into a participant driven, virtual group.

Although most of our member's dues are up for renewal at end of this month, we will not be sending renewal notices out. Instead we are eliminating membership fees. We will honor and extend current membership obligations through the end of this year. If your membership was about to expire, you will still receive your normal membership benefits through the end of the 2012 - which effectively gives you 6-months free. This includes your subscription to the rest of volume 35 of the Journal, Constant Contact emails, access to the listserve (which will be transferred to Linkedin), our newsletter Feedback, and membership access and listing on the webpage.

For the last 53 years Networking has always been the strength of HeSCA. This will continue through your free participation in the HeSCA LinkedIn group as well as in Facebook and Twitter. Instructions on joining LinkedIn and participating in our LinkedIn group are in your registration packet and on your table.

I know this turn of events is disappointing. HeSCA is an important and integral part of my life, as I know it is for you. But if you think about it - the HeSCA that we know and love is the people. And the people are not going away. We just need to find a new way to connect. If we do that, the network will grow again - possibly morphing back into a form that none of us can imagine today.

I encourage you all to continue to actively participate in the new HeSCA.

Jim Huff
President HeSCA
jim.huff@ucdenver.edu

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