A Look Inside AST’s Strategic Plan

In Spring 2018, the AST distributed an online survey to its membership to help us better understand how to meet the needs of our Society. The membership responses helped us form a new 1-3-year strategic plan.

The AST Board of Directors, along with the leaders of our 16 Communities of Practice (COPs), reviewed the survey results and incorporated member feedback into the Society’s new plan.

The final plan was completed and approved at the February board meeting in Phoenix, AZ.

Notable changes to our strategic plan included an increased commitment to the transplant community and increased advocacy efforts. To reflect inclusivity to the community, the Board voted to update the AST’s mission statement.

Updated AST Mission Statement

The American Society of Transplantation is an organization of professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, organ donation and service to the community.

The AST Board voted to add a fifth pillar to the AST’s roster: Service to the Community.

 

To fulfill our commitment to our mission statement, our strategic plan has been broken into categories to reflect each pillar. Items within each category were carefully considered to ensure that the AST has the capacity and budget needed for execution. A summary of our strategic plan can be seen below.

Advocacy

Advocating for our patients remains a priority for the AST, as the Society is dedicated to addressing the many challenges that impact our patients. To maximize our efforts, the AST plans to increase collaboration with other professional societies, engage groups outside of our core transplant community, and incorporate patient voices into our advocacy efforts. Our strategic plan prioritizes the following key legislative issues: 

• Reintroduction and passage of the Immuno Bill in 2019
• Continued opposition to The Dialysis PATIENTS Demonstration Act, as it was introduced in 2018
• Ongoing support for the Living Donor Protection Act
• Ongoing support for financial neutrality for living donors

The strategic plan includes promotion of successful grassroots initiatives in partnership with our professional community, other professional organizations and patients.

• Grassroots opportunities for professional members and the transplant community will be better promoted and streamlined for completion by the addition of new software that will be added to the AST website.
• Visits to Capitol Hill will include both professional members and representatives from the transplant community. The patient voices will amplify areas of need or concern as constituents share their personal donation or transplantation experiences.

Our plan also includes the opportunity for transplant professionals to have a voice on critical regulatory issues and projects including:

• Organ-specific drug coverages (e.g., six protected classes)
• Orphan drug status
• Continued attention to drug access/patient education before discharge
• Continued work on appropriate metrics in transplant 
• Continued refinement of the evaluation and response to OPTN/UNOS public comment proposals

Research

Research remains a priority for the AST and the overall transplant community. Our plan will focus on funding research and prioritizing innovative and unique research.

Continued Commitment to Funding Research

The AST transitioned its TIRN (Transplant and Immunology Research Network) program to the AST Research Network in 2018 to streamline branding and reflect inclusivity in funding the needs in our community. To enhance our commitment to funding transplant research, the AST will advocate for a transplant-specific study section through the NIH.

We will also work to educate members and the public about the critical need for research funding in the area of transplantation. The AST also will develop a Foundation Board to help with fundraising in this area.

Focus on Innovative and Unique Research to Advance the Field

The AST feels strongly about the need for innovative research in the field of transplantation. Over the next 1-3 years, our plan includes partnering with innovative research disciplines (e.g., regenerative medicine, xenotransplantation, bioengineering). The plan also reflects the Society’s commitment to supporting and initiating innovative clinical trials in transplant research.

The AST will engage members and the transplant community to establish the critical areas and questions that need to be addressed in transplant research.

Education

Education is a large part of what the AST stands for. The Society will continue to produce its annual meetings and popular educational resources such as Transplant In 10, Journal Clubs, and the Comprehensive Trainee Curriculum (CTC). As part of our strategic plan, we also wish to develop best practice guidelines for the care of recipients and donors. This will include re-establishing the Guidelines Committee for oversight in this area and exploring partnerships.

The AST also plans to create a messaging campaign to communicate the purpose and goals of the AST and its Power2Save initiative.

Organ Donation

Solid organ transplantation relies on efforts to optimize organ donation. To support this mission, we plan to promote clinical trials in donor research, continue partnerships with other stakeholder organizations, and update the Live Donor Toolkit.

Service to the Community

As part of our new pillar, Service to the Community, the AST will focus on patient education through its Power2Save initiative. Notable education resource projects include a Caregiver Toolkit, new chapters of the Live Donor Toolkit, educational videos and patient education on legislative and regulatory issues.

The Board sees this short-term strategic plan as a living document and will continue to build upon its proposed focus and initiatives annually to reflect the needs of a growing and increasingly diverse Society. We welcome your feedback. Please share your comments below.

Comments

I applaud adding the "Service to the Community" pillar. I recommend including education about the importance of post-mortem examination to the patient and family education initiatives.

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