How ASA's Special Constituent Groups Work for You

Article excerpt

In my March-April column, I reviewed the history of how the American Society on Aging's (ASA) eight constituent groups evolved beginning in the late 1980s and how these groups have developed over the years in response to the changing needs of the field. In this column, I want to follow up with practical ways that professionals in aging can take advantage of membership in these dynamic interest groups, such as the Mental Health and Aging Network, the Healthcare and Aging Network (HAN) or the Business Forum on Aging (BFA). For many, membership in these groups means receiving a periodic newsletter, but the benefits of constituent-group membership can be much greater.

The good news is that every ASA member gets to sign up for one of these special groups-for free. (For a complete list, see "ASA's Special Groups" on this page.) For some members, though, it's like that old potato-chip commercial-it's hard to take only one. Those who have a hard time choosing will be happy to find out that ASA asks only $20 to sign up for each additional group. Here are the advantages to signing up:

NETWORKING MADE EASY

Membership directory. Searching for a job? Looking to network with other professionals? The ASA membership directory is a great tool for these and other useful purposes. You can search for members by constituent group, state, last name, company name or ZIP code.

Personal and company profiles. Enhance and facilitate your networking opportunities by adding your personal profile to the ASA membership directory at www.asaging.org/members/Interests Form.cfm. You also can enhance the visibility of your organization and increase traffic to your website by submitting a profile for your organization at www.asaging.org/members/CompanyProfileForm.cfm, then adding a link from the ASA website to your company.

Strategic alliances and collaborations. Each constituent group is committed not only to serving its members but also to involving other associations in aging and aging-related fields, and to including markets that don't normally involve themselves in aging issues. The collaboration between the Lifelong Education and Renewal Network and the National Center for Creative Aging in New York City is one example. For several years, these two organizations have developed some excellent programming at the Joint Conference ASA holds with the National Council on the Aging (NCOA). Another example is the newly formed American Institute on Financial Gerontology (AIFG). Graduates of the AIFG curriculum, developed by ASA and Widener University, in Chester, Pa., become members of ASA and the Business Forum on Aging.

Face-to face meetings at the ASANCOA Joint Conference. …