I hope you are all doing well as we emerge from the tumultuous consequences of the pandemic over the last 2+ years. We are all probably grappling with staff shortages and patient backlogs that have put immense pressure on the healthcare system in many facilities.
One of the issues that has become evident over the last few years relates to advocacy. In response to the need for a committee to deal with professional matters and issues of public health concern, particularly affecting children, a few years ago the SPA Executive Committee and Board of Directors voted to form a new committee named COPPA: The Committee on Professionalism and Public Affairs. The SPA President-Elect is the Chair by default, and COPPA has done a wonderful job of reviewing and approving many initiatives and statements prior to final approval by the Board of Directors. However, as the Society has evolved, many have questioned whether SPA is doing enough to advocate for the safety, health, and betterment of the lives of children everywhere, which is the key tenet of our mission.
One complicating factor is the type of organization we are; a 501c3 non-profit that is forbidden by the IRS to advocate for anything that could be seen as political, even remotely. Doing so could jeopardize that non-profit status and incur large tax bills and even penalties. In response to these calls for additional action from membership, the SPA EC/BOD commissioned a reputable law firm to explore options to potentially change the status of SPA from a 501c3 and outline the implications of each option. On a recent Board call meeting, there was a unanimous vote to explore these options as a path forwards to increase SPA’s advocacy efforts. The action item was to form the SPA Advocacy Taskforce to explore options and recommend a way forward to the Board that would enhance our ability to advocate for children’s health without jeopardizing our non-profit status. I am humbled to have been asked by the EC/BOD to lead this taskforce and come up with recommendations for approval by the Board.
So, to cut to the chase. This is a call to the membership for interested members who would like to be a part of the Taskforce. The Taskforce will consist of 11 members including myself. The Chair of the Communications Committee (or designee), the Chair of COPPA, the Chair of the Diversity Committee (or designee), and two other members of the Board of Directors will be aided in their efforts by members on 5 open spots on the Taskforce.
Members may self-nominate and must email Kim Battle at [email protected] with a half to one-page description of Why they would like to serve, and What advocacy activities or experiences favor their inclusion by Monday, October 4, 2022. There is no requisite experience apart from being a SPA member in good standing.
I am excited to hear from many of you, as I have no doubt that many members quietly advocate for the causes that mean a lot to them day in and day out with little fanfare. This is your opportunity to guide the Society’s future advocacy efforts. Please consider contributing your time to this important initiative that will hopefully help improve the lives of children everywhere.
Please let me know if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from many of you.