The AAST sponsored the State Leadership Conference in Chicago. This was designed to help the organization to learn from each other and understand the important organizational information such as financial planning and publicity.
The AAST was very well represented as well as the AASM. What was really amazing was the people from the 26 states that were represented. I was there as the president of the new Florida Association of Sleep Technicians. The others people who were there were from all over the country brought a wealth of experience from well established groups to new start ups like me.
The information during the first half of the day dealt with daily operations of an society. This is invaluable information for the newer organizations. It was like being mentored by someone who already knew what pitfalls you would hit. The second half of the first day really had little to do with an association and more to do with promoting the AASM, ADSM and Sleep Behavioral Therapists. Although it had some good general information it really did not enhance running a state sleep society.
The second day was all about legislation and licensure. This is a part of the future of sleep that is not going away and should not be ignored. It also talked about how difficult and expensive this process will be when it comes to our home state. I believe the most important thing I took away from this is that we need to plan and we need to have an open relationship with the state medical society and the state respiratory society.
I also had the chance to meet Melinda Trimble the new president of the AAST. She really brings a new voice and vision to the AAST. Her communication style will probably help to avoid any future misunderstandings. She was fantastic at explaining why the AAST did not take a stand about the new test. She was able to elaborate on how the AAST is working to help sleep techs in the areas of CECs and support. Her background in education really is helping to shape a strong road for the AAST.
The representatives the AASM offered really have strong backgrounds in legislation and offered to help the states go through the process. The avoided discussing the new test and the reasoning behind it. I believe that was due to the audience that was there.
The networking was invaluable. I had the opportunity to talk to the people from Texas who really has a strong association of doctors and technicians working together. The association in Wisconsin was friendly and I am sure I will be working with them in the future.
Everyone who was there really was dedicated to the growth and professionalism of the field of sleep. I could not have asked for a better experience.