Developing Communities of Practice for a Diverse Membership

Developing Communities of Practice for a Diverse Membership
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine logo on a orange background


In 2009, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) retained McKinley to create a Communities of Practice model to accommodate the varying interests of its rapidly growing—and incredibly diverse—membership.

First, McKinley conducted an electronic survey to gather member feedback on specific interests and expectations for how the Academy could create a specific “home” for their needs under the AAHPM umbrella. Then to understand more about interpersonal dynamics between Academy members, McKinley observed several existing Special Interest Group meetings during AAHPM’s 2009 Annual Assembly to help crystallize findings from the electronic survey. McKinley worked with AAHPM to develop a multi-layered Communities of Practice Model that reflected members’ varied interests and methods of communications and allowed for greater participation and sharing.


Today, the Communities structure is thriving and is considered to be a key benefit to AAHPM members. The Academy currently has 16 fully recognized SIGs, and several more have applied for support by the Academy.

“Our Board recognized that we needed to more actively engage our growing membership. We chose McKinley because of their expertise and strong track record in working with associations – and were extremely pleased with the outcome. As an outside “partner”, they provided an impartial look at our organization, and added great value to the process of data collection, development of viable options and knowledge-based decision-making. I am pleased that our extensive communities model is built on accurate and quality information that will serve as AAHPM’s guide to better engaging our members for many years.”
Sally Weir
Director, Program Development & Operations