Dr. Shan Baker: 2001 – 2002

Commitment, Perseverance, Stability

I assumed the presidency September 7, 2001. I was filled with enthusiasm for continuing the tradition of past presidents’ efforts in increasing Academy membership, improving education venues offered by our Academy to the membership, and enhancing the stature of our Academy among national medical societies and to the public. Four days after assuming the presidency, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center; the consequences were world changing. Much of my focus and the new Board’s energies were diverted toward the greatest financial crisis our Board of Directors had faced since the inception of our Academy.

Because of the precipitous fall of the stock market, our financial reserve fell nearly 50 percent. The fear of air travel coupled with an economic recession resulted in a lower than expected attendance at our courses and the Annual Fall Meeting. Exhibitors failed to materialize to help support our scientific sessions. These events, in turn, caused the Academy’s revenue to decline without concomitant lowering of expenses. This situation caused the Academy to have a negative operating budget; clearly, something had to be done. I worked with Board members many hours at our Board meetings, as well as in teleconferences to address our financial hardships. The Board was forced to make difficult decisions, but they acted decisively. With several austere measures, initiated during my presidency and continued through 2002, the Board was able to balance the Academy’s budget. Slowly, we regained financial stability. It was a tumultuous year, one to remember. I will always be thankful for the assistance and guidance from the Board members and from Steve Duffy during my presidency. With their help, our Academy weathered an extreme economic storm and survived to become a stronger organization supported by a sound financial foundation.

Note: Summary taken from Academy printed material