« All News & Events

With Challenge Comes Opportunity

Sleep Research Society
Monday, June 30, 2014

I am excited to become President of the Sleep Research Society.  It is a time of significant challenge.  However, with challenge comes opportunity.  I plan to build on the great progress that has been made by the recent Presidents of the Sleep Research Society.  Over the last year, I have worked closely with Dr. Janet Mullington, who did an outstanding job as President.

Strategic Planning (in process)

Dr. Mullington initiated a strategic planning process that is coming to fruition.  Currently we are in a fact-finding phase.  This has three components:  a) the first is a survey of members; we need your views—what are we doing well?, what do we need to improve? what strategic directions should we take? what should our priorities be?  WE NEED YOUR INPUT.  IT IS YOUR PLAN; b) we have established small working groups to give recommendations about various topics:  scientific meetings, pipeline of investigators, government affairs, revenue enhancement, membership and branding; and c) in-depth interviews with some members of our Society by the facilitator we have hired.  There will be a 2-day retreat to flush out the plan to be held in Chicago on October 12-13th.  The plan emerging from this effort will be sent to all members for further comment before it is finalized.  The Board appreciates that in this time of external change, the Sleep Research Society also needs to change to meet today’s challenge.

Partnering with AASM on Enhanced Awareness of Public and Health Care Providers about Sleep and Its Disorders

Dr. Mullington also worked closely with our sister organization—the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  Particularly successful was the application to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a comprehensive program for increased public and physician awareness of sleep and sleep disorders.  The metrics of success are in line with Healthy People 2020 goals.  One important component of this will be a joint workshop of the AASM/SRS to develop evidence-based recommendations on the amount of sleep that is required.  The CDC is particularly interested in obtaining advice on this topic.  This workshop is also planned for the fall.

Enhanced Government Affairs Activities

The Sleep Research Society also continues to build on its successful Government Affairs program conducted in collaboration with Dale Dirks and Priyanka Surio (Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington).  We are positioning the Sleep Research Society to be a national resource for information on sleep and its disorders.  We have held a Congressional briefing about priorities for sleep research and sleep issues in transportation.  A White Paper on the latter, developed by the SRS, has been given to multiple Congressmen and Senators.  Recent high profile crashes have attracted their attention.

We have been successful in seeing language inserted into the Appropriations bills not only for the National Institutes of Health (advocating the importance of enhanced research training in sleep and circadian research) but also for the Department of Defense.  Congress has encouraged the Department of Defense to make study of sleep and its disorders a high priority for their medical research programs given the importance to military personnel.  We envisage future initiatives in this important area.

Regular Communication

Previous President’s established informing members what we do as a high priority.  I plan to continue this.  If you have any questions or comments, please email me at apack@srsnet.org.