FTC: By volunteering on an ACR committee, do you think you have gained more experience to help you in your current job?
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Dr. Weselman: Absolutely! I have incorporated the knowledge gained from ACR’s marketing efforts to educate my current health system about the importance of rheumatology and to improve our website marketing. I have authored articles for the marketing efforts of our local health system on the diagnosis and care of rheumatic diseases. In addition, I am better able to advise my patients about the efforts the ACR is taking to promote the awareness of rheumatic diseases.
FTC: Tell me about your experience volunteering on the Strategic Planning Task Force? How did it compare to being on an ACR standing committee?
Dr. Weselman: The Strategic Planning Task Force project was different from a committee in that it was a short-term commitment with a very specific agenda. We were dealing with developing the long-term goals of the ACR, including promoting and enhancing the practice of rheumatology, rather than the short-term operations. It gave me the opportunity to interact with a different group of my colleagues from a variety of practice settings and levels of involvement in the College. Participating on the task force gives one a sense of ownership in the long-term mission of the organization.
FTC: If someone were to ask you about the time commitment of volunteering, how much time would you say you spend on ACR volunteer work? What about your time on the Strategic Planning Task Force?
Dr. Weselman: The time commitment is variable and flexible. Most of our efforts involve e-mail and phone calls, which allows us to work it into our daily schedules. It is very manageable and has not taken away from my practice or family obligations. The Strategic Planning Task Force was a short-term commitment that required a bit more time, but had a defined end point. It gave me the opportunity to travel, get away from the office, and interact with my peers in a different setting, while still contributing professionally, which was very rewarding and enjoyable.
FTC: Do you have any advice for someone who is considering applying to become a volunteer for the first time?
Dr. Weselman: Just do it! Don’t be intimidated. We all have something to contribute and volunteers are critically important to our efforts going forward. There are a wide variety of opportunities to fit your talents and interests, and you will grow both personally and professionally.