What a year it has been for the Patient Advocate Certification Board. A year of major progress, several hurdles, hundreds of hours of hard work, and some long strides that move the profession of patient advocacy forward.

We completed two big projects / published documents for the certification itself: The Ethical Standards document and the Competencies and Best Practices document.  These two documents are the foundation for the certification.

We have also incorporated and elected officers, as follows:

President: Steven Okey

Vice President:  Jari Holland Buck

Secretary:  Trisha Torrey

Treasurer:  Kent De Spain

The Board unanimously adopted the attached regulations for the good governance of PACB.

Here is what you can look forward to in 2016:

We will continue to develop the content and process for certification.  It will be a year of fundraising (to date, all costs have been borne by individuals serving on the Board), plus new work on aspects such as testing, eligibility, public awareness, and oversight.

Early in 2016, we will be inviting new individuals to join the Board, looking specifically for skill sets that can enhance our work as it moves forward.  And rather than simply asking organizations to contribute a representative to the Board, we will continue to build a strong group by seeking out individuals based solely on their education, skills and experience.

We will also be moving to our new, official, PACB website within the next few weeks. Watch for that announcement.

Finally, to answer those who have expressed their frustration over the amount of time we are taking to build this vital step in the health and future of patient advocacy:

We have said since this process began that we would rather build it slowly, right and strong, than to speed up the process and make a misstep.  Board members are all volunteers, working as many as 10-20 hours each month to make sure we are doing it right.  We’re proud of that track record, and ask you to consider it before judging the pace of our progress.

We learned earlier this year that other groups with functions parallel to our own (case managers, health coaches, hospital advocates, others) have taken 5-6 years on average to build their certifications.  When put in that light, it makes the 2+ years we have been working seem very short.

We hope you’ll see that we are working hard and moving forward at a fair pace, to build a certification that will serve us well for decades to come.

The very best to you – and patient advocacy! – in 2016.