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IPA to Advance in Innovative Directions

The IPA Board of Directors has announced the adoption of a new strategic plan for the organization for 2014-2016.

This new strategic plan is the result of several years of study and strategic evaluation by IPA leadership of IPA’s approach, governance and offerings. The Board recognized that, as with any organization, these central issues need to be addressed on a regular basis in order to keep the organization responsive, relevant, and of value to members and other stakeholders.

In the development of the new strategic plan, the IPA Board of Directors reviewed and discussed the areas where IPA is excelling—and lagging—as well as new untapped opportunities for serving members, other professionals in the field, and in general, the geriatric mental healthcare community around the world. The plan preparation included input from IPA membership obtained from a 2011 member and non-member survey and the assistance of an organizational strategy consultant. With this extensive information gathering and analysis the IPA Board recognized the need to reorganize the association to better meet the challenges and requirements of an evolving world economy and healthcare market, its constituents – both members and non-members, and the exponential growth of the world’s aged population – including patients, their families and caregivers.

IPA strives to serve the full spectrum of old age mental health:  all professionals regardless of discipline, background and geographical area, and all issues related to aging – from cultivating healthy aging to helping its patients cope with mental illness. The IPA Board believes that adoption of the new 2014-2016 strategic plan is the best way for IPA to continue to be a valued resource in responding to the challenges and opportunities facing the psychogeriatric community.  The following provides an overview of the directions IPA will be focusing on in the coming three years.

A conclusion of the 2011 member and non-member survey was that members value many facets of IPA, especially including the unique opportunity that IPA provides for them to connect and collaborate with other professionals around the world. IPA has members from more than 50 countries, specializing in all facets of geriatric mental health care. A goal of IPA is to provide outstanding service and the programs and information to help members help their patients.

IPA has been able to consistently offer programs and services without substantially changing the dues rate for the last 15 years. However, based on the organizational review plus some planned enhancement in member benefits, the IPA Board saw the need to adjust the dues as well as simplify the member categories. Responding to that need, a new streamlined dues structure is being implemented that offers all members access to existing and new high-quality products and services in just three categories: full individual member; retired member; or student member.

What are the enhanced and new IPA products and services planned for the field?

Meetings and Education — Member responses to the 2011 member survey, a 2013 education and meetings survey, and delegate meeting evaluations were clear in recognizing the value of IPA as a forum for connection and collaboration with colleagues. From these comments the IPA Board learned that members think that IPA is a great resource and want even more of these opportunities to share knowledge, practices and to collaborate. In response IPA is committing more of its energy to the programs that provide these very tangible benefits:

  • IPA Congresses — Starting in 2015, the IPA International Congress will be held each year (previously, it has been conducted every two years, in the odd-numbered year)
  • IPA Regional Meetings — Starting this year, IPA will resume offering meetings in different areas of the world, with two regional meetings each year.
  • IPA Member Forums — The IPA leadership is encouraging members to log on to the IPA Member Forums area of the IPA website and connect with colleagues based on their shared interest, discipline and/or region of the world. Future conferences will also offer more programs presented by these groups, providing the increased opportunity to connect with colleagues in smaller groups.
  • IPA Learning Portal — In IPA’s recent education and programs survey members indicated that they would like more online educational opportunities. Through the remainder of 2014, IPA will be building an online education area that will present programs that members can access wherever and whenever they want with a searchable feature and at no additional fee. Programs will include recordings of congress and regional meeting plenaries and the very popular IPA neuroimaging workshop and webinars (each webinar will be presented live once and then posted as a recording for viewing). In 2014, four webinars are planned and, in 2015, the webinars will be even more frequent — for more information, visit the IPA website:

Research — To remain on the forefront of knowledge exchange and to continue as a source of the latest innovations and trends in the industry, IPA will be increasing its engagement in scientific research. IPA will launch its first Biennial Research Forum in 2015 – a meeting for researchers to present and discuss the latest areas of research, issues that are under-investigated, findings from relevant projects and foster worldwide collaboration on research projects. The first research forum is planned to be held in conjunction with the 2015 International Congress.

Publications — As part of the strategic plan, a key enhancement to IPA’s image is a newly redesigned website. While the former site contained important and relevant information that members and professionals in the field needed, improvements to usability and appearance were indicated. These improvements should make it easier for users to access and navigate the IPA web page and provide members even more helpful information to meet the needs of their patients. User are encouraged to provide IPA input on the new design:

The IPA Bulletin, the website—including the Members Area where members can interact within the IPA Member Forums online—and IPA’s monthly journal, International Psychogeriatrics, are all included as resources for members.

Governance — For an organization of IPA’s size and breadth to function effectively and efficiently, a concentrated center of leadership is needed. Until 2014, the IPA Board of Directors was large (31 members) and responsible for both governance and operational objectives. In its redesign, the size of the Board is being reduced (currently to 21; and by yearend 2015 to 11) and will focus the scope of its work to true governance functions, while maintaining a balance in Board membership that is representative of the interdisciplinary and geographical spectrum of IPA. Because of the phased approach to reducing the size of the Board, there will not be Board elections in 2014 or 2015. It is anticipated elections will resume in 2016.

Thought Leadership — As part of the new strategic effort, the Board recognized that IPA also needs to expand its leadership on the key issues in the field – to better identify the emerging issues, define important issues and finally to incorporate all of this into current and new IPA programs and services. To address these advisory and program development functions that the Board will no longer be responsible for, an Expert Advisory Council (EAC) is being established. This group of approximately 50 people will be responsible for providing guidance on the programmatic direction of IPA—new areas of content, trends in the field, upcoming research areas for review and discussion, and issue areas that need attention. The EAC, along with the IPA Member Forums (Professional Discipline, Regional Initiative and Shared Interest) will serve to provide content direction for the organization. The new EAC will be an excellent place for IPA members to become more involved and help direct the course for IPA’s future.

In discussing the adoption of the new strategic plan, IPA Board of Directors President Henry Brodaty commented, “IPA is an amazing community, bringing the full spectrum of geriatric mental health to light—all issues, all disciplines, all around the world. Our society includes members with different nationalities, interest areas, experience levels, professional disciplines, and diversities of so many more kinds. At IPA, our aim of improving the mental health of older people globally unites us. With this new plan, IPA is well-positioned to meet the needs and challenges we will face in the future. I am pleased for all our colleagues that are joining us on this journey and look forward to all that we will accomplish in the next three years.”

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