It is with deep respect and appreciation that I write to thank you for entrusting the leadership of our organization to me. I greatly appreciate the acknowledgements and congratulatory messages as well as the expectations of continued growth of our organization.
Indeed, it is my utmost expectation that the next two years will lead us in that path.
I want to thank the immediate past president and the members of the EXCO who worked hard to continue to chart our course positively and collaboratively. To Dr. Adeyanju, I commend you for keeping our flag flying higher than when you received it. It is my expectation that we will continue to soar higher. I thank the board for its confidence and the past presidents for having helped keep us thriving and growing this long.
Our last convention and scientific session was remarkable and successful. A big thank you to Dr. Philomena Osimiri and her tireless LOC who pulled out all the stops to ensure that our convention and scientific sessions in Dallas was memorable. It is very commendable that the LOC provided several free activities for the families in keeping with Dr. Chike-Obi’s past desires; our families were kept busy and engaged throughout the time. Our Sunday Breakfast/brunch hosted by Dr. Nwariaku added a new twist to our convention, providing an excellent finishing touch to a long week of activities.
We stand in awe of the Dallas LOC and hospitality team who put up this admirable Texan act. We remain very grateful for your hospitality.
As the new President and Chair of the Board of Directors, and as a follow up to my video acceptance speech, let me reiterate my goals for the next 2 years.
1. Acculturate our membership: Optimize ANPA’s growth in the last 4 years by ensuring that members stay engaged and young ones identify with the value our organization provides. To achieve this:
We will empower and support our committees especially the membership, education and mental health committees to ensure they provide and execute a consistent template of actions which will direct future activities in these areas. Will introduce a Mental Wellness Trio to superintend the creation of mental health awareness and value for our members.
To our national meetings, we will introduce the following: Chapter Chairs forum, Treasurers forum, and new member forum. This enables our organization establish and maintain uniformity in chapter processes and hardwire best practices for these important local chapter executives.
2. Create National Relationships with US Medical parastatals: Explore relationships with institutions within the US such as Doctors without Borders, AMA, NMA, and Mayo Clinic. We will establish a dialogue, catalog ANPA accomplishments, publicize and share them with important stake holders. This will give us visibility and promote national pride that serves us both locally and internationally. It will also attract new members by obviating the lack of buy in by myriads of our colleagues who are uninformed or ill-informed.
3. Create International Partnerships: We will work to create partnership with global entities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, DDCF to mention but a few, given our national recognition.
4. Educational Initiatives: Formally advance our educational initiatives to provide a stepping stone for our graduates – locally and internationally- and enable access to training. We will identify our US medical students, assist and indoctrinate them early. To that respect, our relationship with DNPT has to be redefined so they stay engaged and seamlessly transition to ANPA upon completion of training. We will formally assist our FMGs who are already here.
5. Medical Care to the underserved: Our flagship activity is our medical mission, now captured in the ANPA week to Nigeria. It is still solely dependent on the magnanimity of our members/volunteers. We need to embark on media supported fundraising and grants to ensure sustainability. We need a US and International airtime blitz to share our activities and attract partners. We need partners on ground in Nigeria to support our programs and provide continuity of care in ANPA’s name.
6. Education of the grassroots: An educational approach to change the indigene culture in Nigeria and enable early embrace of western healthcare is important. The culture of reliance on traditional medicine care has to change and we have to educate the masses on basic healthcare so they can seek care earlier than they currently do. Their current practice promotes advanced disease on presentation laying the framework for expensive and/or failed care. Let’s break the barriers to early care with grassroots health education, promote easy access to healthcare and, perhaps, focus on maintaining regional centers supported by charitable organizations or government whichever pans out fastest.
7. Collaborative Healthcare Provision for the country: ANPA will stand as the pacesetter and forerunner of collaborative healthcare in Nigeria. We will start by showcasing this as we partner with our Pharmacy and Nursing colleagues to shed some light on how we, as healthcare providers can work together for the ultimate good of our patients in a cost effective and respectful manner.
As we march into completion of the first quarter-century of ANPA existence, I am humbled to be its FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT and look forward to making that difference that is expected in a collaboratively directed leadership. As a trailblazer, we will lead the path to its desirable goal. I THANK YOU for your support and confidence in me.
Charmaine Emelife, MD, MHA, MASN
President, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, July, 2018