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Professional Services: The ABP ‘Dream Team’

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 00:15

Calling them meeting planners is like calling Julia Child a cook. Technically, yes, they plan every detail to ensure that the purpose and goals of meetings are met, but they do so much more and do it with flair! For example, overseeing the interactions and relations with the ABP volunteers and other certified pediatricians and organizations also is on their bill of fare.

If you know Pam Moore, Lisa Elliott, Sheryl Thompson, Amy Green-Welsh, or Liayn McCall, then you can just imagine them blushing at this description. They personify professionalism and humility, and among them have more than 90 years’ service with the ABP.

In the course of their work, they effectively plan, oversee, and provide administrative support for more than 900 individual trips to 75 committee and subboard meetings every year, many spanning multiple days. While most meetings are held on the ABP campus in Chapel Hill, NC, the volunteers who attend come from across the country and need travel and lodging arrangements. With multiple meetings each month of the year, there are other factors to work around, like hurricanes, ice storms, and flash floods. But with a smile, they calmly address unforeseen problems and changes in plans.

They are also at the door to greet every volunteer who attends an ABP meeting.

“I can’t say enough good things about the ABP dream team of meeting planners,” says Laura Brooks, MD, a general pediatrician in Lynchburg, VA, who has been an ABP volunteer since 1999. “Their hard work and detailed planning allow volunteers to focus on the meeting agenda without needing to worry about any of the travel or administrative details.”

Their department, officially known as Professional Services, goes beyond managing the meeting experience, ensuring that ABP volunteers are well-prepared for their responsibilities and meet the rigorous policy standards that come with the role. The website for ABP volunteers is regularly updated with news and information, including meeting times and dates, meeting agendas, and other supporting materials. Working with the Conflict of Interest Committee, they ensure that volunteers disclose any associations they have that might influence, or appear to influence, their work on exams and other Board business. They also work with the Nominations Committee to oversee the appointment of volunteers to various ABP committees and subboards. A specific goal is to foster the diversity of ABP committees (based on type of practice, race, ethnicity, gender, geography, and other variables) to ensure the ABP gets ideas and feedback from all parts of the pediatric community.

“Their work is flawless and their patience with us as volunteers, with our never-ending questions and forgetfulness, is beyond measure,” says ABP Board of Directors Secretary-Treasurer, Victoria Norwood, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She has been volunteering with the ABP since 2002. “When evil travel karma appears, they fight it off on our behalf. They feed us, house us, transport us, and care about our welfare, with never-ending smiles, grace, and calm.”

David Barrow is a specialist in the Facilities Department but an honorary and essential member of the Professional Services team. He sets up the meeting rooms, from moving furniture to bringing in meals, and ensures the needs of the attendees are met.