Power in Numbers: How Wound Care Organizations Can Combine Forces

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By Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Ben Franklin

There are numerous societies dedicated to the fields of wound care and hyperbaric medicine: The Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC), The American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA), The Wound Healing Society, The American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society (UHMS), Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) to name a few.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of serving on a number of their boards. Personal experience persuades me that the volunteer leaders of these societies work tirelessly to promote the gradually expanding field of "woundology." However, despite our best efforts the various organizations boast only a modest membership with the WOCN leading with over 4,000 nursing professionals and the next largest claiming less than 2,000 members. Most of these organizations are interprofessional groups that include members with varied educational backgrounds.

Physicians, in most cases, represent a minority of the societal membership. As a result no single society speaks for the field. Recently, the National Quality Forum overlooked every established wound care society when it sought experts in wound healing to develop quality measures. The success of the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders which represents multiple societies demonstrates that “size matters.” In our current fragmented form we are too small and insignificant to influence government policy or regulatory bodies such as the FDA.

The solution is simple: combine all of the current wound and hyperbaric societies into one interprofessional association with the goal of a membership of 10,000 associates. If we hang together we can participate in government policy-making, influence regulatory agencies on such topics as surrogate endpoints, driving research efforts, lobbying for appropriate reimbursement, and finally garnering the respect of the medical community as a valid specialty.

About The Author
Dr. Thomas Serena has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and has made in excess of 200 presentations worldwide. He has been elected to the Board of Directors of both The Wound Healing Society and the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM), the leading academic society in the field of Hyperbaric Medicine. In 2013 Dr. Serena was elected vice president of the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA). Dr. Serena has opened and operates Wound Care and hyperbaric oxygen treatment clinics across the United States.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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