I started under unusual circumstances. Even though I was not a member at the time, Henry Buchwald approached me with a request to join and, simultaneously, accept the nomination to be the next president. He explained this curious invitation with the observation that the Association was not functioning well, that there were divisions among the leadership and that I might be able to provide the leadership for a new start.
I accepted the nomination and, fortunately, found great and collegial support from the leadership, the past presidents and the members.
I don’t hold with those who like dramatic changes, who like the “new broom” concept. I don’t like to jibe, I think you do better if you just adjust the jib and mainsail with slow pulls on the lines. So, we made no dramatic changes except to put the accounts in order, provide oversight for the Foundation, re-design the various committees and make the meetings more efficient and fun.
We re-defined the requirements for memberships and focused on increasing the Ms. Mallory’s pay and providing her the help and resources she needed.
We also laid the groundwork for the Centers of Excellence program and wrote the program for the BOLD data bases.
In short, nothing dramatic or fancy. Had someone else been elected, his or her steps would probably have been the same.
The Association is a monument to a very small group of pioneers who accomplished what no-one would have believed possible, i.e. the cure, yes, the cure of diseases always considered incurable and, equally important, to deliver this care with amazing safety at reasonable costs. Without the Association and collegiality it afforded, exemplified by our gentle hero, Ed Mason, these advances would not have been possible.
I hope that the Association is now prepared to meet the harder and greater challenge: to translate these advances to every day, universally available care.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the cartoons, the anecdotes, and the great fun of meeting friends again and again.
I’m grateful to have been a participant in this great advance. Very grateful.
If you do get to publishing this, I’d be glad to add some cartoons.
Walter J. Pories, MD