From working a temp job in the shipping department to organizing teacher training, maintaining an antebellum mansion and learning the ins and outs of professional medical practice, David Haag has had a career in membership societies that has been anything but boring. And as of this March, he finds himself in pursuit of his next great adventure. He recently retired from the ARHP after 17 years as its executive director.
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Explore This IssueMarch 2018
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“This is not so much retiring as taking a sabbatical for three to six months to figure out where to go for my next 15 years of a working career,” says Mr. Haag, whose background is in business. “I am probably leaving membership nonprofits and leaning toward philanthropic organizations, community-based nonprofits. … I want to move to where I’m actually touching the community.”
His inspiration for the move, he says, comes from working with passionate rheumatology health professionals for nearly two decades, a sentiment he expressed at the ARHP business meeting during the November 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.
“They gave me the mic, and I said, ‘You have no idea how impressed I have been watching you. I have never seen so much passion—passion for patients and passion for your work and science. I have been sitting in rooms with you all these years planning conferences and education and listening to you talking about your day-to-day work, and it’s so inspiring,’” Mr. Haag says. “I thanked them for allowing me to be a part of the medicine and rheumatology world; they love what they do—it’s very obvious—and it motivated me to go do what I love to do.”
David Haag’s Watch
Mr. Haag does not give himself enough credit. It’s evident he has channeled his passion into the ARHP, too. He has touched the rheumatology community.
It was during his tenure that the ARHP matured into the unique and rewarding professional society it is today, functioning in tandem with the ACR. Mr. Haag says he has never found another medical society where physicians and health professionals come together in this way.
“The first 10 years I was in the job, we managed our ARHP Annual Meeting—the whole program sessions and abstracts. We did not offer CME (continuing medical education) credit for our part of the Annual Meeting, and our attendees needed it,” Mr. Haag says. So, working with the ACR education department, he helped merge the ARHP Annual Meeting Program Subcommittee under the ACR Annual Meeting Program Committee so a single CME program could be offered to health professionals and physicians.