In June 2020, the Board of Directors unanimously approved a recommendation from AcademyHealth’s Governance Committee to streamline the election process. Historically, the organization used a cumbersome structure involving separate board-elected and member-elected candidate slates. Going forward, AcademyHealth will employ an election procedure common among other nonprofit and membership organizations, which presents a full slate of candidates, rather than individual options.
Moving forward, AcademyHealth staff will solicit nominations from our members, including self-nominations. The Nominating Committee will consider these individuals, along with nominations from staff, board members eligible for a second term, and their own recommendations. The Nominating Committee will then develop a single slate of candidates. AcademyHealth members will receive notice of the slate and have an opportunity to offer objections based on nominees’ alignment with AcademyHealth’s vision, mission and core values. The Executive Committee of the board will evaluate any objections offered by members to ensure that nominees are likely to advance AcademyHealth’s strategic goals and uphold its values. The Executive Committee will then submit a final slate to the full board to elect the new directors.
Reducing the Size of the Board
Working in a virtual environment presents opportunities for streamlining processes and creating efficiencies. To that end, AcademyHealth staff have been examining the organization’s governance structure and identifying ways to make it more effective and efficient. This past fall, the Governance Committee developed a proposal to reduce the size of the board over the next three years to 15 directors. The full board approved that recommendation at its December 2020 meeting. AcademyHealth will achieve this reduction through attrition. The board currently includes 20 directors plus one student. Good governance practice, particularly among non-profits, calls for a smaller board of directors. Smaller boards promote efficiency; directors can concentrate discussion on strategic issues and cover more ground. With a smaller board, staff will optimally leverage directors’ input, including engaging directors between meetings on detailed issues to ensure that board meeting discussion remains at the strategic level.
Suspending 2021 Election
To reduce AcademyHealth’s board size through attrition, the Governance Committee and full board is suspending the 2021 election. We will also develop a proposal which identifies best practices and recommendations for structuring future elections as we work to reduce the size of the board. In addition, the proposal, which will be presented to the board in June, will address how individuals can provide input through channels outside of the board structure. We will also look for ways to elevate diverse voices at AcademyHealth board meetings, including inviting external speakers and soliciting reports from individuals regarding advancing the organization’s anti-racism efforts.
AcademyHealth will continue to elect a student representative to the board. Shekinah Fashaw, the current student representative, is completing her term in December 2021. Accordingly, we will launch a student representative election this spring.
As AcademyHealth’s governing body, the Board of Directors provides overall strategic direction, serves critical stewardship functions by reviewing and giving input to the development of programs and services, and fulfills fiduciary responsibilities by approving the annual budget and audit. Board members serve three-year terms beginning in December of each year. Learn more about AcademyHealth’s Board of Directors here.