Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sonoma Medicine

The magazine of the Sonoma County Medical Association

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Snapshot of the Future

Maria Pappas

During this time of year, we can’t help but ponder what the next 12 months will bring. But what if we moved our outlook to 14 years in the future? In 2029, the SCMA Alliance will be celebrating its 100th year. What can we expect? If we extrapolate from current trends, we may be able to come up with a roadmap to our future rather than just a lot of guesswork.

Our board of directors, advisory board and program chairs recently reflected on what the Alliance might look like in 2029 and found that some things will never change. After reviewing the Alliance’s activities for the past 85 years, they believe that our role in the community will continue to be as important in the future as it was in the past. We will likely continue to take on the health challenges of the day, whatever they may be, through education and collaboration with community partners. We’re guided by the notion that teaching people about health-promoting behaviors helps them not only solve their most immediate problems, but also understand the implications their healthy behaviors have for themselves and their families.  

Our leaders also envision taking our current accomplishments to even greater heights. Imagine providing underprivileged children with nutritious fruits and vegetables from an Alliance garden, complemented by donations from local growers. Or consider doctors and their families banding together to fight against unhealthy addictions by using a hands-on approach with local youth.

Through strategic partnerships with Social Advocates for Youth and VOICES—two nonprofit agencies that assist young people in the foster care system—the Alliance may become the education advocate for these foster youth. By creating additional partnerships with 10,000 Degrees and the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance—two agencies with successful mentoring programs—we can establish an Alliance mentoring program exclusively for foster youth and administered by well-trained Alliance mentors. One of the goals will be to dramatically improve the college graduation rates among former foster youth.

In 2029, the Health Careers Scholarship program should still be going strong. Indeed, to celebrate the program’s 64th year, the incoming Alliance president for 2029-30, a former scholarship recipient, may host a reunion of past recipients. Honored speakers will describe their achievements and life experiences, and their long-term relationship with the Alliance and SCMA. The scholarship program will still be welcoming students just entering the health care field.

We can’t forget about the influence of technology on our organization. Will we interact with our members and donors via apps tied to smart cards, mobile devices and social media accounts? Quite possibly. With a more connected volunteer base, we will undoubtedly have a greater chance at recruiting members with specialized expertise that they are willing to share.

Will we form a marketing and communications Dream Team, including a journalist, a photographer, and a digital media expert? Maybe. The team’s goal of producing feature documentaries on our community programs would provide the Development Team with impactful promotional films that translate to greater giving at fundraising events.

Will successful fundraising allow the Alliance to become even more of a force for better health in Sonoma County? Probably. By creating partnerships with agencies that share our mission, we will deepen their impact by helping our community’s most vulnerable populations.

Just as President Kennedy set the goal in 1961 of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of that decade, our leaders believe that the Alliance can make impressive leaps by 2029. One is to grow Alliance membership to include 500 physician families. With the increasing number of physicians settling in Sonoma County, along with local medical families who choose to raise their families or retire here, this goal appears possible. Another goal, which will require a more concerted effort, is to grow the recently established Alliance Endowment to $1 million. Our future will be on firm footing with such an accomplishment, even beyond our centennial.

Will we get some of these predictions wrong? Perhaps, but now we have a record of where we hope to be. By making these predictions, we may plant the seeds of ideas that might be just what someone in our family, organization or community needs to be spurred into action. ::

Ms. Pappas is VP of Marketing & Communications for the SCMA Alliance & Foundation.

Email: communications@scmaa.org

SONOMA MEDICINE  |  Winter 2015  |  Sonoma County Medical Association

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