I guess some things are meant to be- I joined ANPA when we moved to Charlotte after residency. The local Carolina Chapter was active and I enjoyed the meetings. On invitation, I attended the UNN alumni meeting at the ANPA convention – Tennessee Gaylord Hotel 2004 where I met Charmaine. Next thing I knew she and Obi Maduka corralled me and I was the UNCOMMA President-elect. Those ‘ANPA people’ of which they were members, appeared to have an association with purpose.
There are few spaces that allow coming together all that is dear – work, family, friends, fun-times, mentoring, passionate enterprise, authentic ethnicity, (fresh guava at Board retreat courtesy of Acho) professional expertise and growth, leadership opportunities, networking, volunteerism, global health, community, mind (and heart) numbing debate. That’s all ANPA. Short on time and high on responsibilities it resonated within and so I jumped in!
ANPA is not a solution. It’s a means to an end – the pathway we must decipher to arrive at an uncluttered goal. I feel this sentinel hallmark is time for us to deliberate purposeful actions to pave the way to the future-unbiased, unselfish and bold. Together we are much more effective like the African broomsticks in a bundle are unbreakable. So why join? When asked I smile because the best of ANPA has been not what was given but what has been received giving to others and knowing to have made a difference- be it to one or many, for a season, a convention at a time. Real participation is to serve- everything else is “jarra”.
True change takes time. Sometimes – a lifetime even and for me, it’s important to not allow events befall but do the bit that can push the needle in a positive direction. Make gains not by telling people what to do but facilitate and be amazed by what can be achieved. We have a generation to shepherd on- and I’m excited to navigate these times as we make targeted, purpose-driven steps toward measurable change. This requires engagement, self-sacrifice and getting out of our comfort zone. That includes embracing members different from the historic base, mentoring and motivating the younger generation to embrace membership, encouraging Allied health participation, improving indicators in the communities we reside in, embracing technology and innovation, being creative in achieving financial independence, continuing to strive for value to our members while holding true to our mission. The mission – that has held true in the vortex of change we live in. There a huge amount of work to be done! Watch out and look to be ‘co-opted’ into a committee, project, process at the convention. After all, that’s the ANPA -way!!
Along this journey -the success and the failures I have made true friends. And the lady I encountered on the steps of the entrance to the Gaylord is ANPA first female President. Salute! To all the members- those ahead who I look up to, those by my side who have lifted me up, those behind I hope to inspire – for all you have done and continue to do, for the passion, spirit and “can do” attitude I’m honored to be a part of and hope we continue to grow in strength and rise to the occasion that befalls us.
That’s family – and in a nutshell kind of what ANPA is – to me.
Grow in strength!
Chinyere Anyaogu MD, MPH, FACOG
Chair Membership Committee
Co-Chair ANPA Women’s Hat and Tea
Project Lead ANPA Helping Babies Breathe