By Art Tasaka
October 2011–Have you, or would you, consider starting an AHRA local area group? We did. The Washington group was formed in early 2011 and is intended for both AHRA members and non-members to network and build a strong Washington area imaging network in order to collaborate and strengthen patient care. We have committed volunteers, hold regular meetings, and have our own website.
Below are some tips for starting your own!
1. Have a senior AHRA leader be your sponsor.
2. Host an area meeting. This is much easier than you think. All you need to do is have a room or hall to host the event and work with the AHRA and sponsors. The AHRA staff are great partners and will complete the majority of the work with you. They already have an existing outline to plan a meeting.
3. At the beginning of the meeting, collect attendee names, positions, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. During the meeting, ask for volunteer facilities to host the next meeting. You likely already know others who will be next in line to host an event. You may need to search others out and motivate them. Within the first couple months of our first meeting in 2010, we lined up all four quarters for 2011.
4. Take advantage of any type of existing email list serves or groups in your area to help get started. AHRA staff may be able to give you a head start with an area member/non member list.
5. Establish a “core” team of about 4-5 local administrators to start building your local AHRA group. OurWashingtongroup started with two people having coffee. Through these groups, we can cross borders, be innovative together, and build non competitive partnerships to work in concert with the assistance of AHRA.
6. Create a website. Once you are established with a core team, AHRA can help set up the site, but you will need an administrator to manage the content. List the core team on the website, as well as the benefits of AHRA membership.
7. All of the work we do is on a volunteer basis in order to build relationships and strengthen our local network to work smarter, not harder.
Art Tasaka is manager at Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus, in Seattle, WA. He can be reached at Art.Tasaka@swedish.org.