OTA Committee Member Selections and Thoughts on How to Be Involved

By OTA Community posted 04-17-2024 10:55


By Douglas W. Lundy, MD, MBA

As president-elect of the OTA, it was my privilege to work through the list of OTA volunteers and match them to the various open opportunities on OTA committees. It was truly an honor to perform this task, and I am tremendously inspired by the scores of OTA members who volunteered for these opportunities! The sincerity of interest reflected in the application narratives made me even prouder to be an OTA member.

The OTA has 34 committees, and the majority of these are populated annually through this process. Certain committees, like Publications and the Nominating Committee, are filled through separate mechanisms. The intent of this article is to provide insight on the committee structures in the OTA and to increase your success of being gainfully involved.

It has been often said that the ultimate mission of the OTA is to promote education and research. I’ve even said it from the podium at the Annual Meeting giving the CFO report! Although these two committees need to be recognized as core to our existence, there are dozens of other extremely vital committees performing incredibly important work just outside of the spotlight. These committees make the OTA the great organization that it is providing the broad expanse of influence and services that we enjoy.

It may not be surprising that many of the applicants for OTA committee positions this year only listed Education, Program and Fellowship and Career Choices committees for their preference for committee assignment. Certainly, the work of those committees is very noticeable, and they seem like exciting places to make a contribution to the society. Unfortunately, many of the other committees had little to no applicants making my task quite difficult!

Although every committee is critical to the success of our association, there are some that should only be populated with OTA members who have demonstrated a legacy of consistent organizational contribution over the years. Disengaged and uncommitted members hurt the productivity of any committee, but this effect is more devastating in some, such as Program, Fellowship, and Education. Members with less experience and tenure in the organization can certainly make a valuable contribution to these committees, but there is real risk that detached members could hurt the work.

I would strongly encourage all interested OTA members to peruse the listings for open positions and investigate opportunities that may not be among those you initially considered. Contact the committee chair and find our how you could possibly make a meaningful contribution. When you do get on an OTA committee, reach out to the chair to learn about the current work that they are undertaking, and jump in if you can make a meaningful contribution. If you can vision a new project that the committee can do, approach the chair with your idea. Be aware though, that many "idea-people" burden committee chairs with well-intentioned suggestions and no commitment to spearhead the effort. If you have a good initiative for the committee, be ready to lead that effort if asked.

On behalf of OTA leadership, thank you all for your continued contributions and efforts to the ongoing work of our organization! The true power and spirit of the OTA lies in its members, and ya’ll are the best in our profession. It is an honor to be associated with you, and we are amazed at your commitment and dedication. 

2025 Committee Vacancy Timeline:

  • Open positions will be posted on the OTA website in December
  • Application deadline: February 3, 2025
  • New appointments begin October 2025 during OTA Annual Meeting