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FAQ's: Member Councils

What are Member Councils?

Member Councils are clinical homes for Academy members, representative of general physiatric clinical practice. They are a benefit of your Academy membership. There is no fee to enroll in the councils and members may enroll in as many Councils as they wish. Councils provide an opportunity for members who share clinical interests to network, collaborate, and exchange best practices. They are the pathway to transforming your Academy into more powerful resource for members and the specialty by advancing the Academy’s work in the areas of education, research, and advocacy.

What are the advantages of Member Councils?

As a small but diverse specialty, there are experts in all areas of physiatry, and Member Councils offer a forum that recognizes and captures that expertise effectively. The Council structure allows the Academy to create leaders and researchers by providing the clinically relevant framework, support, and direction they need to succeed. This structure also creates information that can be shared among all members that is needed for maintenance of certification – information that could not be produced as individuals, only as a coordinated team with specific responsibilities and a common goal. In addition, it creates a way for all Academy members to interact with each other, to have a voice within the Academy, and to have greater access to Academy leadership.

How is this structure different than the past special interest group (SIG) structure?

SIGs were created by the Academy Board of Governors several years ago to “serve as a resource to promote dialogue between Academy Fellows with general interests and Academy Fellows with special interests.” SIGs included groups of members who came together because of common clinical interests or common social networking needs. On the other hand, Member Councils were created with specific leadership structures and a connection to the board of governors.

My clinical practice crosses several Councils. Which should I join? Is there a limit?

You may join all Councils that interest you.

How do I enroll in a Council?

Members have the flexibility of selecting or changing their enrollment at any time online or by calling the Academy’s national office at (847) 737-6000.

I am interested in networking in groups without a clinical focus. What do I do?

The Academy’s non-clinical, or social focused groups are called Community Networks. Community Networks are Academy-wide, across Councils, but are virtual groups. The eight Community Networks are: African American Physiatrists, International Rehabilitation Medicine, Physicians with Disabilities, Practice Technology, Research, Rural Physiatrists, VA Physiatrists, and Women Physiatrists. Members have the flexibility of selecting or changing their enrollment in a Community Network by calling the Academy’s national office at (847) 737-6000. For more information, visit Community Networks.

What is the leadership structure of a Member Council?

Each Council consists of a chair; chair-elect; and three vice chairs of education, membership development, and communication. To see the current leadership of each member council, click here.

How do the Councils interact and have a voice in the Academy?

The Councils have specific responsibilities and a direct voice in defining the needs of its constituents. The most formal way is through the Council Advisory Panel made up of each Council’s chair and chair-elect, the chairs of the Strategic Coordinating Committees of the board of governors, the Academy president, president-elect, vice-president, the RPC president, and the Academy’s executive director. Thus, the structure of the Academy has evolved to a structure that allows more integrated communication among Councils, membership, and the board. Council members are encouraged to contribute the Academy and specialty through a variety of volunteer opportunities including developing topics for PM&R and serving as experts to develop manuscripts for PM&R, create new educational opportunities, and review legislation bills.

Where do residents fit in?

Residents are encouraged to participate in all Councils. It is difficult enough to choose a career path within the limitations of residency training programs. Councils offer an opportunity to explore areas of physiatry that may not be available to many residents with leading physiatrists in their fields.

Can I access my member community online?

Your Academy has launched a new, online peer network, PhyzForum, to bring members together as never before. PhyzForum provides you with the opportunity to collaborate with your peers and share your expertise and insight. Members can ask questions and get referrals. PhyzForum is your online peer network and is available whenever you are, day or night. Visit www.phyzforum.org to access your peers and join current discussions.