From the CEO's desk : membership matters

September, 2013

Greetings again from Bangkok. This month I want to talk about the various grades of membership of WONCA, and to highlight the new grade of membership – Life Direct Membership – which was approved by World Council in June.

Most people are members of WONCA through their own Member Organizations – the national associations and college of family medicine/general practice which first gave WONCA its name (“World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practice/Family Medicine”). However many people also choose to join as Individual Direct Members which, as the promotional material says, “ … open to any health professional who has an interest in family medicine/general practice, who supports the vision, mission and goals of WONCA, and who wishes to belong to a worldwide network of family medicine/general practice educators, professionals, caregivers and advocates.”

Direct members receive discounted WONCA conference registration fees (photo courtesy of Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, MD)

Direct Membership has normally been available up until now for annual or 3-yearly membership. However World Council, at its June 2013 meeting in Prague, agreed to the proposal to introduce LIFE Individual Direct Membership. Thus for a one-off payment health professionals can now join WONCA for life, with all the benefits and privileges that membership confers.

“The WONCA Life Direct Member category provides the opportunity for individuals to make a special gift to the World Organisation of Family Doctors in return for waiver of annual direct membership renewal requirements. Life Direct Member status is open to any health professional who has an interest in supporting the vision, mission and goals of WONCA. The contribution level required for Life Direct Member status is a minimum of USD750. Life Members receive the same benefits as Individual Direct Members.”

In fact as well as getting all the benefits of Direct Membership, including significant discounts on conferences, meetings and publications, Life Direct Members will also be named individually on a roll on the WONCA website, to signify their additional commitment to the Organization. It’s also worth pointing out that Direct Membership is open to all health professionals with an interest in family medicine, and not just doctors.

Academic Membership is another special category of membership of the organization. This is usually of particular interest to academic departments and training programmes who can apply for this form of membership, for a modest annual fee.

Direct Membership will have a simpler pricing structure with effect from January 2014. Further details of Direct Membership and Academic Membership, including how to apply, can be found on the WONCA website membership page.

Until next month.

Dr Garth Manning