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An Insider’s Guide to the 2017 SOWH Board Nominations Process

By Blair Green, PT, DPT, OCS

Happy new year! The 2017 SOWH Board of Directors nominating process has opened and runs through March 31!

The Nominating Committee invites you to consider running for one of five important leadership positions that open in February 2018: president, treasurer, director of research, director of education, and Nominating Committee member.  All Section on Women’s Health members who have belonged to the Section for at least two years as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are eligible to run, and all SOWH members may vote in the elections, even students!

Many members, especially new ones, do not understand how SOWH generates the list of candidates, so in the spirit of transparency and democracy, I’d like to provide a behind-the-scenes view of the process.

Each fall the Nominating Committee starts its search for new candidates. We email and call members we think who have potential to be or already are strong leaders with skills needed on the board. We receive recommendations from current board members and distribute an open call for nominations to the membership. (Look for this in your inbox!)

All of these efforts culminate in the “official” nomination process held at the 2017 Section Business Meeting at APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting.

What most members do not see is the hours of work that precede the final release of the slate, as well as the eventual ballot tallying and winner announcements. The electoral process starts long before the fall, even well in advance of the previous year’s election. It is a year-round process to identify, recruit, and support potential leaders in the Section, so when the time comes for creating a highly qualified slate, we already have a list of potential nominees.

The goals of the Nominating Committee are to form a robust, contested slate of candidates each election cycle; to encourage participation in all elements of SOWH; and to help members connect with volunteer opportunities. We also work to maximize voter turnout at each election, so members can choose the professionals who best represent them and their interests.

While the Section’s Board of Directors may recommend members it believes would be capable and interested in running, it has no role in the nominations and slating process. The Nominating Committee communicates with committee chairs and state representatives to receive recommendations. The committee communicates directly with all interested members and helps match them with a position that best fits their skill set and interests.

This begins over the phone and continues in person at CSM. Running for a board position requires signing a “consent to serve” document and committing to attend board meetings, both at conference calls and two yearly face-to-face meetings (CSM and summer retreat).

The Nominating Committee helps candidates understand the job description and the dedication required. The months between October and April are very busy as we piece together the final slate of candidates. Those who choose not to run, or who do not win the election, become part of our database or pool of members whom we may reach out to in later elections.

What does this mean for you?

It means there is a place for you and everyone to play a part in Section leadership. If you think you would be interested next year or even in five years, let us know! Talk to your state representative and get involved locally (check the SOWH website for your representative) or by emailing Join a committee or task force! Talk to Ashley Watts, SOWH volunteer coordinator (, about other opportunities to engage in the Section’s work of educating physical therapists and promoting pelvic and abdominal physical therapy around the globe. When a future election cycle picks up, you could be the next candidate on the election slate!

Author: SOWH Nominating Committee Chair Blair Green, PT, DPT, OCS, is a physical therapist and partner at One on One Physical Therapy in Atlanta, GA.

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