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Leadership Update: ACHA's New Strategic Plan

This is the leadership update from ACHA's December e-newsletter.

As 2011 comes to a close, we here at ACHA are thinking not only about 2012, but also about ACHA’s future. In order to ensure that ACHA continues to provide vital programming to our members, we recently participated in a strategic planning process that required ACHA’s staff and leaders to think long and hard about ACHA’s work and mission moving forward. Out of this process came ACHA’s 2012-2014 Strategic Plan, and I am delighted to share a brief summary of our new goals and strategies. Over the next three years, ACHA’s activities will focus on two overarching goals:

Goal 1: ACHA will improve the quality, availability, and accessibility of U.S. adult congenital heart care.

Goal 2: ACHA will empower adult congenital heart disease patients to manage their own lifelong needs and engage with adult congenital heart care.

You may be asking, why these goals? ACHA’s mission states that our job is to improve and prolong the lives of congenital heart patients, and two things are essential to achieve our mission. First, all those born with heart problems must receive the appropriate congenital heart care they need throughout their lifespan, so when new issues arise they can get the care they need to thrive. Second, heart defect survivors need the knowledge, support, and confidence to take action to manage their heart health, including finding and maintaining appropriate adult congenital heart disease care. These goals are not new for ACHA; they are a continuation of our previous strategic plan and Vision 2020 goal to accelerate the creation of a national high-quality, accessible adult congenital heart disease care system.

So, how are we going to meet these very big, very ambitious goals? Each goal has 6 to 7 specific strategies, which you can read here. Each of these strategies ties to specific ACHA programs. In January and February, we hope that many of you will join us as we hold a series of webinars in which we present ACHA’s new Strategic Plan and describe the kinds of activities we plan to undertake in 2012 and beyond. Many of these activities will be extensions of familiar programs, such as ACHA’s Heart to Heart Ambassador program. Over the next three years, ACHA plans to extend our Heart to Heart Ambassador Program activities, and bring more peer-to-peer support to ACHD patients and their families online, on the phone, and in person.

But this new plan will also bring new activities and take ACHA into uncharted territory. Perhaps the most ambitious new strategy is adult congenital heart disease program accreditation. The goal, first discussed via Vision 2020, is for ACHA to implement an accreditation program for adult congenital heart disease programs. By seeking care from adult congenital heart disease programs that meet ACHA’s quality standard, patients and families will know that a certain level of staffing, expertise, and services are available. We want this quality standard to be “patient-centered,” which means that it reflects not just input from providers, but also what matters most to patients and families when choosing an adult congenital heart care team. In 2012, ACHA will be hosting many different activities and programs to help you tell us what “quality adult congenital heart disease care” means to you.

Expanding Heart to Heart Ambassadors and implementing program accreditation are just two examples of ACHA’s big plans for 2012 and beyond. But, all of these activities depend on your support to make it happen. ACHA continues to be the only national nonprofit with a laser-focus on helping congenital heart patients live long, purposeful lives. As you plan your holiday gift giving, please consider giving to ACHA. Your gift, large or small, will help us build a better future for every person born with a congenital heart defect.

Best wishes for a wonderful new year,

Amy Verstappen
ACHA President/CEO

Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2011