Dr. Tina Runyan is the CFHA President-Elect. She spoke at the recent 2016 CFHA Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC.
I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career – Air Force
psychologist, academic dean of a graduate school in psychology, behavioral
health clinician, post-doctoral fellowship director, and a psychologist in
academic medicine to name a few. Throughout this career tapestry, CFHA has been
a unifying thread for me. It is the organizational and professional home I can
count on for inspiration, information, collaboration, socialization, and
opportunities to advance and challenge myself.
Most recently, this opportunity
and challenge will be presenting itself as the Presidency baton is passed to me
in October, 2016. I am standing on the shoulders of giants in the field of
integrated care and honestly do not feel entirely worthy, but I do feel
empowered and ready to chaperon the organization for the next two years. When I
first joined CFHA and started going to conferences, I struggled a little bit
with its softer science and more applied philosophy as compared to other
professional conferences I attended and organizations where I sent my annual
However, I quickly realized that the practical focus on CFHA and the
collaborative – not competitive – spirit was exactly what kept me coming back
and actually fit my needs better. Within
CFHA, I have found both likely and unlikely collaborators, mentorship, mentees,
and an organization I am proud to introduce new professionals to and encourage
them to attend a conference or join the organization.
As I approach the
academic promotion process yet again, I undoubtedly owe some of my professional
success directly to CFHA. The organization is small enough to find a hook for
leadership opportunities and once I ran for the CFHA Board, I was catapulted
into what previously seemed like the “private back room” of the organization.
However, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to learn that the engine of
the organization was hard at work trying to help CFHA survive and thrive,
volunteering copious amounts of time spawned from dedication to the mission in
general and the organization specifically.
The board strives for transparency
in managing the organization but at times has needed to be cautious to avoid inducing
fear or igniting panic when the organization was in financial jeopardy. Being willing to serve on the board (and it
is a volunteer, time intensive service role) allowed me the chance to work
alongside some of the brilliant leaders in the field, which always serves to elevate
my own thinking and contributions. This willingness eventually manifested as an
invitation for the presidency role (voted on by the nominations committee and
then by the board), which I am both nervous and excited about in relatively
equal measure. And I think these are the right emotions for the job actually.
Anytime I step to the edge of my comfort zone, I know I will be challenged and
that I will grow in ways I cannot fully predict but trust that whatever is on
the other side of this challenge, it will serve me well to face the next one.
And I suspect CFHA will be right by my side for that one too … and the one
after that … and the one after that. CFHA is the constant thread in the ever-changing
tapestry of my career, and truthfully one of my favorites.
|Tina Runyan is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is the Director of an APA accredited, two year Post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology in Primary Care and the behavioral science director for the Worcester family medicine residency. . She recently joined the Board of CFHA and when not writing, practicing, training or talking about integrated care she enjoys being a mom, trail running, and practicing yoga.