AAD 2019 Strategic Plan: Our vision for the future

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The AAD 2019 Strategic Plan: Our vision for the future

SuzanneOlbricht_DWWThe Academy Board of Directors and President Suzanne Olbricht, MD, convened during a special three-day working event to imagine what the organization should look like a decade from now. What they outlined and documented as part of the AAD’s new Strategic Plan envisions a dynamic, innovative organization providing visionary leadership for the profession and the specialty. 

The Strategic Plan sets a simple, but lofty vision for the AAD: Recognized as the leading authority for the highest quality and compassionate dermatologic care

In striving for this vision, the plan sets goals for the next five years in the areas of: 

  • Excellence in Dermatologic Care through Education & Advocacy
  • Access to Dermatologic Care 
  • Data Driven Transformation of Care
  • Unity of the Specialty
  • Support for Board Certified Dermatologist Leading Care Teams 

In the first of several articles outlining the Strategic Plan, Dr. Olbricht tells Dermatology World Weekly why she championed the new plan and how it will impact the AAD. 

DWW: As you approach one year as president of the Academy, what would you say are the pivotal moments that inspired you to initiate the Strategic Plan? 

Dr. Olbricht: I’m no stranger to the AAD! Before I became president of the Academy, I served as secretary treasurer for six years beginning in 2010. 

My long-term investment with the Academy has given me perspective that inspired my vision for the 2019 Strategic Plan. I’ve seen how the Academy has grown over the past decade. All of our councils  — Education; Science and Research; Practice Management; Communications; Member Services; Community, Corporate, and Philanthropic Relations; and Government Affairs and Health Policy — have added many new projects and programs. I am proud of the Academy’s growth, which has led us to be very effective in many arenas.

Growth also requires us to periodically step back and make sure we have our eye on our vision and that we are appropriately responsive to the changes in the external environment. Developing a new strategic plan challenged AAD leadership to develop internal focus to make sure we’re leading projects that have the greatest impact on dermatology practice, patients, and our members. 

DWW: How will the plan impact the member experience with the Academy? 

Dr. Olbricht: The forward-thinking plan establishes priority for Academy programs that serve our members’ needs — from education to guidelines and data-driven transformation to leading care teams to advocating for patient access to skilled care and appropriate treatments. With a modern feel and impact, practice management tools and educational resources will assist our members to adapt and even to embrace the changes that happen in the next decade. The objectives in the plan help the AAD act promptly to members’ concerns and to be proactive to changes in the health care environment. We know the external environment is creating a sea change in our specialty and in the practice of medicine. The AAD continually strives to anticipate and respond to the evolving needs of the profession, providing leading-edge resources for dermatologists in all practice environments. 

DWW: How did member voices contribute to the plan and the decision-making that went into finalizing the strategic goals and objectives? 

Dr. Olbricht: Member voices were a very important part of building out the Strategic Plan. We wanted to hear our members’ perspectives with as many diverse opinions as possible as we move into the future. We spent a lot of time reviewing and analyzing feedback from member surveys and focus groups, and looped in members from the Academy’s councils, committees, and task forces. 

We made sure that we heard from members representing all ages, locations, and practice types. We saw new trends from younger members specifically, so reaching this group was imperative. We also know that dermatologists who practice in different geographic regions have unique challenges, so we sought their feedback, too. Members in solo practice have completely different needs from the AAD than the Mohs surgeon who’s attached to a large multi-specialty group. Our goal was to have a plan that was relevant for all our members.

DWW: During the strategic planning process, what did you learn and how did it surprise you?

Dr. Olbricht: During the development of any strategic plan, there’s often an ‘ah-ha’ moment. For us, it was mid-way through working out our primary goals when the words ‘compassionate care’ surfaced. We were working on our goal of data-driven transformation of care and one of the Board members brought up the importance of enabling members to give compassionate care to patients. These words resonate in all parts of the strategic plan and is explicitly incorporated in the objective of helping our members cope with burnout. Recognizing that it is a challenge to provide compassionate care to patients when physicians are experiencing burnout, the strategic plan outlines objectives in the strategic goals that support the well-being of dermatologists.

We even incorporated this term to ensure we did not lose sight of it in the vision we have for the Academy — to be recognized as the leading authority for the highest quality and compassionate dermatologic care.


Over the next few months, we will unpack the strategic goals and objectives that will help the AAD achieve our vision for the future. Look out for a series in Dermatology World Weekly and be sure to attend the 2019 Annual Meeting where Dr. Olbricht and incoming AAD President George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, will share how the strategic plan impacts members and advances excellence in dermatology.

View the AAD 2019 Strategic Plan