Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It was my great pleasure to assume the role of board chair for the Volunteers in Medicine this past October. I have large boots to fill as Hugh Greeley has stepped down after nearly fourteen years leading the VIM Board.
I am grateful for his dedicated leadership and vision through those many years. This is an important time in the history of the national organization as the board has recently committed to an expansion of VIM’s mission and focus. For several decades, the national office has helped launch new Volunteers in Medicine clinics in communities across the country. The need for such clinics continues to be great and is likely to grow greater in the years ahead. To address this need VIM will continue to support new clinic development. In addition, going forward the board is committed to providing greater services to our existing network of clinics.
The VIM staff and board members have also begun to explore ways to promote greater national visibility and public awareness of Volunteers in Medicine. We hope this, in turn, will attract more money and support for both local and national VIM activities. VIM is also looking to provide greater assistance to existing local clinics. This may come in many forms, from forums for collaborative efforts and the sharing of best practices to possible project funding and the availability of educational programs for staff and board members. We hope that the return of a national conference in 2018 will lead the way for regular conferences going forward.
To expand its work and create a stable infrastructure for future growth, the board is looking for additional talent to expand its ranks. It will also be initiating an advisory council in 2018 to serve as a sounding board and source of feedback for the initiatives of the national office. To facilitate it new goals, the board is also redoubling its efforts to find financial resources to support the national organization.
VIM has relied heavily upon a single source of funding throughout most of its history. Currently, a generous grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals funds the majority of our budget. Greater diversification of funding is critical to assure the continuing existence of a national office and to position the organization for growth.
As a practicing family physician in a VIM clinic for over a decade, I know first-hand the significant impact we have on the health and lives of our patients. My ten years on the VIM Board has provided me glimpses of the incredible work being done in communities from coast to coast under the banner of Volunteers in Medicine. I look forward to helping that banner serve as a beacon of hope for more and more needy patients in the years ahead. As we become more visible to the public over time, I also am excited that more and more individuals are likely to feel the rewards of helping others through volunteer work in a VIM medical home.
Best regards for a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!
Todd Sagin, M.D., J.D.
VIM Board Chairman