By Brenda Rinehart, MBA, CRA, FAHRA
December 2012—As the national chair of the membership campaign I am often asked about how we reached our goal of 5000 members and where we are headed from here. My response is that it starts with one thing: believing in what the AHRA offers to its members. The AHRA is about me as an imaging professional. Their goal as an organization is to provide me with opportunities for education, networking, and growth in order to help me achieve my professional career goals. Why wouldn’t I want to be a member?
It is with this understanding that we embarked on a national campaign to grow membership at the local and national level. A plan to reach as many imaging professionals as possible started with a single phone conversation (the proverbial match) and led to a network of phone conversations (the proverbial fire) made by volunteers and AHRA staff. Soon, so many people were involved and making a difference just by sharing the benefits of membership. The creation of ten zones and the addition of a little competition kept the fire stoked for many of the participants as the membership campaign team kept track of new members in each state and zone daily.
As both the national chair and as a state leader in Washington, I witnessed the true value of local and regional meetings. Art Tasaka, a long time AHRA member, hosted the very first local AHRA meeting in the Seattle area. During this meeting, he asked me to get involved and host the next one at my organization. Together we formed a core group of five members to begin hosting meetings every quarter; that was over two years ago.
Mark Steffen, from our core group, moved back to Chicago and started another core group there with regularly scheduled local meetings. Most recently we went to Oregon and recruited a group of members to begin their own core group in the Portland area. Together Washington and Oregon held a half day northwest regional meeting that drew participation from over 80 members and five vendor partners.
AHRA members appreciate the value of local and regional meetings, and we plan to keep it going right along with the other states that have set up local area meetings. Reaching members at this level will continue to grow membership and have the strongest impact on our profession. It is all about what our members need to keep growing professionally because we all recognize that in this age of doing far more with less, it is imperative that we are well informed and prepared for what lies ahead.
Brenda Rinehart, MBA, CRA, FAHRA is the director of medical imaging at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, WA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.