Interest Group Orientation Guide
Interest groups provide support for SAEM members sharing a common interest in topics related to academic emergency medicine. Membership is voluntary for SAEM members, and the chair is selected by the membership of the interest group.
Any SAEM member may initiate the development of an interest group by sending a letter to the SAEM chief executive officer. The letter should identify the name and purpose of the interest group, list proposed activities, and include the names of 20 SAEM members who will charter and support the development of the interest group.
A minimum of 20 dues-paying members are required to start and to maintain an interest group. During the first two years of formation, the interest group is in “provisional status” and must not fall below the 20-member minimum. Provisional status ends when the group reaches the second anniversary of its formation. If the group falls below the 20-member minimum at any given point during the provisional period, the group will be given warning to increase membership. If the membership remains below 20 members for six consecutive months, the interest group will be dissolved.
Any SAEM member may initiate the development of an interest group by sending a letter to the SAEM office. The letter should identify the name and purpose of the interest group, list proposed activities, and include the names of 10 SAEM members who support the development of the interest group.
Interest group members must be current members of SAEM. SAEM members may join any and as many interest groups as they wish. Resident members receive membership in the first interest group as part of their SAEM membership, and pay $25 for each additional interest group, per membership year. Renewal invoices for interest groups are sent to all SAEM members with the annual dues mailing; however, members may join an interest group at any time. Regardless of join date, membership in an interest group is only valid for the current membership year and is not pro-rated or carried over to the next year.
Interest Group Objectives
SAEM' s mission is to lead the advancement of emergency care through education and research, advocacy, and professional development in academic emergency medicine. The primary goal of interest groups is the sharing of information and expertise in areas of mutual interest relating to academic emergency medicine.
Unlike committees and task forces, which have assigned objectives approved by the Board of Directors, interest groups will develop their own objective(s). These objectives should advance the Society's mission. The sole objective of an interest group is to bring like-minded researchers and educators together for a collegial discussion each year at the SAEM Annual Meeting. Interest groups may also develop more ambitious objectives, but are not required to do so. In addition to the group’s objectives, the president may request that interest groups take on specific tasks or projects, or respond to specific requests in the interest of the Society.
Proposed objectives that require funding, additional administrative support, or SAEM endorsement must be approved by the Board of Directors. For such objectives, a project proposal form must be submitted, and the Board of Directors will provide a written response within 60 days of the submission date. SAEM prioritizes funding and resources to accomplish committee and task force objectives first, followed by interest group activities. Project proposal forms shall only be submitted for projects of which the Board of Directors has been notified prior to submission.
Interest groups are expected to convene annual meetings during the SAEM Annual Meeting. Failure to hold a meeting each year will result in a warning from the SAEM Board, and failure to meet for two consecutive years will result in the dissolution of the interest group. The SAEM Program Committee and Board of Directors encourage interest groups to convene their meetings at times that will not conflict with educational/research sessions of the Annual Meeting, such as in the early morning, during lunch time, or in the late afternoon or evening. Each interest group may schedule up to one and a half hours for their annual meeting and may include: elections, discussion of proposed objectives, status reports, guest speakers and lectures, and general discussion among the members of the interest group.
Content of the meetings is at the discretion of the interest group. However, if the interest group wishes to have a report or description of the meeting published in the on-site program or the SAEM Newsletter, the interest group agenda and description of the meeting must be submitted to the SAEM office. The deadline to submit an agenda and description to the SAEM office is usually around the first week of March.
SAEM accepts corporate funds and sponsorship at the Annual Meeting as long as they comply with the mission of SAEM. All corporate funds and/or sponsorships need to be pre-authorized by the Board of Directors prior to solicitation.
Interest groups may also meet at the ACEP Scientific Assembly, SAEM regional meetings, or other conferences. The SAEM office will assist in the scheduling of these meetings upon request.
Submitting Didactics to the Annual Meeting
Interest groups, like all SAEM members, are invited to use the SAEM didactic submission platform to submit didactic session proposals for consideration by the Program Committee. Selection of all educational sessions is made by the Program Committee. Once sessions are accepted, they are considered part of the SAEM Annual Meeting, and are not listed as sponsored by a committee, task force, interest group, or individual. Didactic proposal guidelines, deadlines, and access to the submission platform can be found on the SAEM website. Submission dates are announced through SAEM office communications.
Interest groups are encouraged to conduct their business via e-mail and through the SAEM community site. SAEM provides a community to any interest group once it has been approved by the Board of Directors to begin recruiting members. These communities are funded by SAEM, and SAEM staff liaisons will work with interest group chairs to maintain the community. The communities are open only to members of the interest groups and therefore only to SAEM members.
Interest groups may use SAEM letterhead for communications, such as meeting notices and correspondence with members of the interest group or other interest groups. SAEM letterhead may not be used to communicate with other organizations, or to the general public, unless approved in advance by the president. Copies of all such correspondence should be forwarded to the interest group’s staff liaison.
The leadership of an interest group may be appointed or self-designated during the "provisional" start- up phase. The interest group will then be led by a selected chair once provisional status ends. Selected chairs may not serve for more than three consecutive one-year terms. If after three consecutive years no other volunteers choose to serve as chair, the interest group may propose an exception to the Board of Directors.
Elections for the position of chair will initially be held during the Annual Meeting while the group is in provisional status. Subsequent chairs should be elected prior to the Annual Meeting to ensure continuity and a cohesive discussion at the interest group meeting. The interest group may elect a "chair-elect" at the prior interest group meeting to ensure a smooth succession and avoid the need for email elections, or may elect the incoming chair by email prior to the Annual Meeting. The SAEM staff liaison should be notified of the incoming chair's name and contact information at least two months prior to the Annual Meeting to ensure a smooth transition and proper communication.
Interest group chairs who are unable to meet the responsibilities of their position will be replaced by an interim chair (or the chair-elect if already selected) until the next interest group election. It is the responsibility of the SAEM president to determine when this action is appropriate and to select an interim chair.
Interest group chairs who can no longer serve should promptly notify their Board and staff liaisons in order to ensure continued active leadership of their interest group. If there is no chair-elect, it is recommended that the outgoing interest group chair provide the president advice on possible interim chair candidates. The interest group membership will be notified of the need for an interim chair and will be asked to provide potential candidates. The SAEM president will ultimately select the interim chair. The Board liaison will participate in meetings of the interest group, or a substitute may be provided if she or he is unable to attend.
Responsibilities of the Chair
Interest group chairs shall serve as the interest group's contact with the SAEM Board and staff liaisons and coordinate the scheduling of meetings. Immediately following the Annual Meeting, the chair is responsible for submitting the interest group's objectives and election results to the SAEM office. An Interest Group Meeting Report Form has been developed for this purpose.
Interest group chairs should maintain communication with their members, staff liaison, and Board liaison. It is the chair’s responsibility to monitor the progress of the objectives and assignments, as well as to provide leadership to the interest group.
To facilitate the group’s work, the chair should create and assign working groups for projects and initiatives to carry out the group’s objectives. All working groups should develop their own schedules and budgets. The major components of the tasks should be outlined, with clearly stated deadlines. Chairs shall distribute assignments to the members of the interest group.
Chairs should convene and preside over meetings and develop meeting agendas in coordination with staff liaisons. They should promote leadership development by assigning increasing responsibilities to members who demonstrate leadership potential. The chair shall provide a written annual report of the past year's activity and progress by April 1 for dissemination to the Board of Directors and membership.
Interest group chairs and members may not act as official representatives or give position statements on behalf of the Society without prior written authorization from the president.
A member of the Board of Directors is assigned to serve as a liaison for each interest group. The role of the Board liaison is to serve as a communication conduit between the interest group and the Board of Directors. The Board liaison serves as the point of contact by means of which reports, requests, proposals, and manuscripts are submitted to the Board of Directors, in collaboration with the staff liaison. Interest groups are asked to keep their Board liaisons informed of the group's activities and should contact the Board liaison whenever assistance is required or advice is sought.
SAEM staff liaisons will assist in scheduling meetings, disseminating meeting announcements, maintaining online communities, and performing other general administrative duties. SAEM will provide administrative support and mass emailing to support the dissemination of interest group announcements and other communications. SAEM will also maintain interest group membership lists, correspondence, and files. Staff liaisons will work closely with interest group chairs and ensure that SAEM policy and guidelines are followed.
SAEM' s Policy on Manuscripts/Position Statements/Educational Products and Services
All manuscripts, position statements, and educational products and services created by an interest group must be reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors. Such projects must be developed with the active participation and approval of the interest group members. The interest group chair must sign off on all projects in affirmation that the authors have acted on behalf of the interest group. Such projects must also be approved by the Board liaison prior to submission to the Board of Directors. SAEM will maintain all rights to and will approve the release and distribution of all educational products and services.
Manuscripts and position statements for which the interest group would like to use the SAEM and interest group names must be approved by the Board of Directors prior to submission for publication. The Board will determine whether a manuscript or position statement should be submitted for peer- reviewed publication and may recommend an appropriate journal or options for publication. The Board of Directors may decline, approve, or conditionally approve the work for publication. Generally, it is recommended that manuscripts and position statements be submitted to Academic Emergency Medicine for consideration. If the Board of Directors declines to approve a manuscript or position statement, it may be submitted for publication without reference to SAEM or the interest group, as a product of the individual authors.
Annual objectives for the interest group must be submitted to the SAEM office within four weeks after the Annual Meeting, and will be posted to the SAEM website. These objectives must be updated annually by March 1. If no objectives are received, the old ones will be removed from the website.
Failure to submit annual objectives will be a cause for dissolution of the interest group. All interest groups will receive one warning of dissolution prior to the case going to the Board of Directors.
Interest groups may submit minutes, progress reports and other items of interest for posting to their community in the SAEM community website. All items submitted for publication on the website must be dated, and each interest group is responsible for updating its community website submissions and asking for removal of those that are no longer pertinent or useful. Items left for more than two years without being updated or reviewed may be removed from the website.
Interest groups are encouraged to publish progress reports, announcements, and items of interest to the membership in the SAEM Newsletter. Such articles must be approved by the Board liaison and submitted to the SAEM Newsletter editor for consideration for publication.
SAEM' s Policy on Surveys
Interest groups may survey their own members by email or through the SAEM communities without the approval or involvement of the Board of Directors. Surveys of the entire SAEM membership must be approved by the Board of Directors, and a proposal for such survey must be submitted using the Project Proposal Form.
However, SAEM' s policy is to conduct surveys of the entire membership only when they serve an objective of a committee or task force. It is rare that the Board of Directors approves a survey of the membership submitted by an interest group, although the idea for the survey might be incorporated into a committee objective in the next year. Discussion with the Board liaison and staff liaison is therefore strongly advised prior to creating a proposal for a membership survey. Further details on surveys can be found in the Survey Policy (revised 2004).
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the Society. The Board of Directors ensures that all SAEM-sponsored or -supported activities are consistent with the Society' s mission. The Board of Directors sets policy, approves the use of the SAEM name and logo, and approves an annual budget that covers both financial and staff resources.
An interest group may be dissolved by its membership upon a vote at its annual meeting. Interest groups may also be dissolved by the Board of Directors for cause or if they fail to comply with SAEM policies. Additionally, interest groups will be automatically dissolved by the SAEM chief executive officer if membership falls below 20 members for six consecutive months during the two-year provisional status; if membership falls below 20 members for two consecutive years; or if the interest group does not convene a meeting at two consecutive SAEM Annual Meetings. An interest group that does not meet at the Annual Meeting and does not submit objectives for that year will also be dissolved. When an interest group is dissolved, the current year's dues will not be refunded.
Summary of Requirements
- Minimum of 20 members to initiate; maintain minimum of 20 members
- Convene at least once every two years at the SAEM Annual Meeting
- Chairs are selected by the interest group membership for one-year terms, although they may serve for up to three years. Elections for the coming year should be held PRIOR to the Annual Meeting
- Submit objectives annually by July 1 each year
- Submit annual report by April 1
- Update web site material every year
Approved by the Board of Directors – August 13, 2013