The Five Ws & H of Volunteering
Have you or should you consider volunteering within the AAA? Volunteer comes from the Latin, voluntarius, of one’s free will,
so this is your choice and commitment to make. The annual
Call for Volunteers will arrive in your email box soon, so join
me in considering a response!
Members comprise the organization, and all members are welcome to serve in volunteer roles.
The association benefits from the ideas and and efforts of members from diverse backgrounds
and geographic locations, who have differing expertise, experience, and views. Even if you are
new in your position, if you are passionate about the AAA and its growth and have a desire to
give back to the organization, you are welcome to volunteer!
There are several committees to consider, and the website describes their relationship to the
Board of Directors, as well as each committee’s responsibilities, time commitment, member
qualifications, and current members. Spend time reviewing the volunteer resources page and
determine which committee is right for you. What would you like the AAA to accomplish and
how can you best assist? Throughout the year, there are also opportunities for microvolunteering,
so if you don’t have the time or inclination to commit to year-round committee
work, consider this option. When the Call for Volunteers is circulated, just add your name and
expertise for time-delimited micro-volunteering.
You will see the Call for Volunteers in your email and on the Anatomy Connected open forum in
August. When you complete the online form, your self-reported information will be distributed to
the committee chair(s) to match the needs of their committee. Now is the time, before the Call,
to consider where you are in your career and what commitment you can make for national
committee work. Consider what you wish to accomplish and go for it!
Most committees meet by conference call or video chat, and work between meetings is
completed via email and online forum discussions. Interim work is completed at home, and most
committees have at least one face-to-face meeting per year at the AAA Annual Meeting.
There are many reasons and rewards for volunteering with the AAA, the least of which is adding
a line to your CV. Volunteer work is an ideal way to learn or practice new skills, such as
negotiation, project management, communication and advocacy, and networking. It can open up paths to scientific collaborations, mentoring, authorship, and leadership. And it is a way to
advocate for and implement your fresh ideas to advance the association for current and future
Think about the Call for Volunteers as you would for a promotion packet. Put forward a
statement that best describes your expertise and what experience, views, and work ethic you
bring to the committee. Since you will have done your homework and reviewed the AAA Strategic Plan, the scope of your selected committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Statement, your statement will highlight what you uniquely bring to the committee or task force.
Once you’ve been selected for the committee, be an active participant. This is your chance to
shine! Make time for the committee or task force, not only for monthly conference calls, but also
for the between-meeting work. Assist the chair and your fellow members by respectfully
contributing your ideas and taking on and completing assigned tasks.
What do you want to accomplish in your career, and in the AAA? What are you passionate
about? With great ideas and active participation, you will be called upon for more and more
engagement! I have served on the Membership, Early-Career Anatomists, Nominating, and
Publications Committees, and was selected as the inaugural chair of the Professional
Development Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. I can tell you first-hand
that committees and task forces are the progressive forces and the life-blood of the association.
I have grown professionally through my work with the AAA, and my volunteer experiences have
given me life-long career colleagues, wise mentors, and cherished friends. I hope you’ll
consider joining the volunteer team that is the AAA!