The momentum certainly didn’t stop after our annual conference as you can see with the launch of our new website and its member services area. It was incredible being in Hawaii for AAAM’s 60th anniversary, but even more incredible to see the outstanding posters and presentations in the main conference as well as the student symposium. I’d like to thank everyone for their contributions to this conference. We were especially excited to see that more than 30% of attendees were from outside the United States.
We were honored to award Dr. Koshiro Ono, Research Adviser and Assistant to the President of the Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI), the 2016 AAAM Award of Merit. The Award of Merit is considered AAAM’s highest award and is given to an outstanding individual who has made significant scientific contributions to an aspect of automotive medicine over many years or for a single outstanding contribution.
Other honorees included Mark Arndt as AAAM Fellow, John Scanlon for the 2015 Best Scientific Paper Award, Joel Stitzel for the A.J. Mirkin Service Award, Sjaan Koppel for the Elaine Woodzin Young Achiever Award, and James Fell for the Donald F. Huelke Lifetime Member Award.A special Award of Recognition was given to Irene Herzau for her many years of service to AAAM as executive director. There were also three student symposium awards presented at the awards banquet. The award for Outstanding Poster went to Philippe Lesire, the award for Best Presentation went to Whitney Tatem, and the John D. States Outstanding Student Paper Award was presented to John Scanlon.
As I stated at the conference, AAAM is currently undergoing nothing less than a transformation. This has been made possible by the financial stability that AAAM has achieved through the success of AIS.
What are some of these transformative changes?
AIS activity has being increasing rapidly. A new Technical Coordinator and Education Program Manager have been hired and began their new roles just prior to the annual conference. AIS 2015 has been launched, the number of courses (in person and online) taught has been expanding, and plans for new product lines and services are underway.
Changes in our membership structure will soon occur and membership fees for individuals from low- and middle-income countries will be reduced. This is an appropriate and needed step as AAAM engages globally in the promotion of road safety. Increasing representation from these countries is vital for our effective participation in efforts of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020.
The Scientific Program Committee is being restructured, and changes in the abstract and manuscript review process will be implemented for next year’s conference which will help address the tight deadlines that authors and reviewers faced in the past. A new line of educational opportunities outside of the annual conference will be implemented online, including webinars, in the future.
We are in the process of updating our bylaws (which will come to membership vote in the near future) as well as developing policies and procedures for our organization.
We hired an association management firm, Bostrom, about 1 ½ years ago to help guide and assist us in our growth. Bostrom has led efforts to create our new website with enhanced capabilities, as well as unifying all of our databases so that we can serve our members, AIS clients, and others better.
I have been involved in other non-profit organizations that have undertaken these types of initiatives, but never at the pace that we have seen during the past year by AAAM. I anticipate that we will be celebrating even more organizational advances at next year’s annual conference in Los Vegas. AAAM leadership comes from our membership, and it is all volunteer. These individuals contribute to AAAM on their own time in addition to their day job. All of our advances during the past year would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the members of the AAAM committees and Board of Directors. I want to thank these individuals for their commitment and extraordinary efforts.
In closing, let me say that I am proud to be a member of AAAM, an organization of individuals whose shared mission is the elimination of road traffic-related injuries and deaths globally. Thank you – AAAM members – for the important work that you do to help make this a safer and better world. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or comments on what we can do to serve you better.
Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH