Jeff De La Rosa 2015-11-15 22:25:01
On a daily basis, individuals are taking action to promote healthy skin and healthy lives from the local to the global community. In each issue, Aspire’s “In the Community” column will recognize individual activities and accomplishments that serve this mission. If you or someone you know has volunteered with a community service organization—within dermatology, medicine, or otherwise—or participated in a medical mission, won an award, or made any type of civic contribution, we want to hear from you. Please submit your name and a brief description of the activity or accomplishment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Pulling together: Dermatology Associates of Concord Maintaining a sense of belonging and unity at a large practice—especially among dermatologists and staff across multiple locations—can present a serious organizational challenge. This year, Dermatology Associates of Concord found unifying inspiration in a surprising source: fundraising. The practice has pledged to raise enough money to send a child to Camp Discovery—the AAD’s program that provides a summer camp experience for kids with chronic skin conditions. It all began with the approaching retirement of two of their practice’s physicians. The office’s coder was looking for a way to honor their careers and their practice, and she found Camp Discovery through promotional materials released by the AAD. Moved by the stories of the children (and the fact that the experience is provided free of charge through donations), she decided a donation would be a fitting tribute. One year later, the idea of fundraising to send a child to camp found resonance with the practice’s 10 dermatologists, several of whom had previously volunteered at camp by providing medical assistance or serving as camp counselors. A meeting was then organized to kick off the ambitious fundraising effort, and the volunteers who had worked at camp before shared stories of their experiences. “It quickly became a whole office effort,” says associate and AAD member Cheryl Gray, MD, who represented the practice’s physicians on the fundraising committee. Everyone at Dermatology Associates of Concord pitched in, with ideas as simple as keeping a bucket for spare change in the office kitchen, to something as innovative as the “Give an Hour, Get an Hour” promotion. In this arrangement, employees could donate an hour of vacation time, and give the money they would have earned to the camp effort. Their donations were then matched by the partners in our practice. “Donating time was something anybody could do,” observes Dr. Gray. “It was a unique way to help without reaching into your pocketbook.” Office-wide efforts not only raised money, they also helped to raise awareness among the public of the good work being done by dermatologists. On Denim Day, for example, employees could wear jeans to work in exchange for a $5 donation. “It gave us a nice sense of community and fun,” recalls Dr. Gray, “but it also gave us an opportunity to talk to our patients about why we were doing it.” Through signs and conversations, many of the practice’s patients learned about Camp Discovery for the first time. “It was nice for them to see our practice and dermatology as a whole giving back.” By September, Dermatology Associates of Concord had raised $4,100—far surpassing its $1,800 goal. And the fundraising year was far from over. In a clever bit of scheduling, the group held a special consignment store event timed to coincide with the Massachusetts Academy of Dermatology’s Fall Meeting. The store’s owners agreed to open their doors for some after-hours shopping, with the price of admission and a percentage of sales going to the Dermatology Associates of Concord’s efforts. The goal had been to honor the retiring physicians and to help children, but the effort provided an unintended benefit in pulling all the practice staff together. “As our practice had gotten larger, we had taken on more staff, particularly to help with electronic record keeping,” Dr. Gray reports. Fundraising efforts help to pull their diversity of interests and talents together. “Getting the whole office behind it made it more fun. People had such great ideas. Each idea came from a different person, making it everybody’s project.”
Published by American Academy Of Dermatology. View All Articles.
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