President's Message


ACH President Russell L. Rothman, MD, MP addresses ACH members through her president's message, sharing updates, goals, and information to keep members engaged and involved in the Academy.     

January 2018

Fellow ACH members:

Greetings! I am honored and excited to serve as the President of the Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) for the upcoming year. For those that do not know me, I have been an active member of ACH for the past 5-7 years, recently serving on the ACH Board, and then as Vice President of Research and President-elect. I am on faculty at Vanderbilt in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, where I have been actively involved in health communication training and research for the past 15 years. I look forward to working with you to expand the role of ACH in promoting health communication to improve individual and population health. I encourage you to reach out to ACH and participate in our many activities. Please send any suggestions to ACH headquarters at or 859-514-9211, or feel free to email me directly at

I believe we are in an exciting time to advance the importance of good health communication in healthcare and the mission of ACH. The health care system has been undergoing rapid transformation over the past decade. Nationally, there is consolidation in the marketplace from over 5,000 health systems to possibly fewer than 500 systems when consolidation is complete. Payment reform from the federal government (CMS) and private payers is placing more emphasis on value-based health care, pay-for-performance, and the development of Accountable Care Organizations that are tasked with caring for populations rather than the traditional fee-for-service payment model. This new emphasis on value has raised important attention on the role of the patient and their families – including more focus on social and behavioral determinants of health, quality of care, patient reported outcomes, patient satisfaction, and other patient-centered measures.  In addition, political changes have placed enormous stress on many of our families as they navigate their healthcare in uncertain times. This is an opportune time for us, as members of ACH, to work with our health systems and local organizations to understand and adopt the value of relationship-centered health communication.

Over the past few years, ACH has worked to expand our value to our members and to promote the organization’s mission. Last year, we introduced a new strategic plan to help move us forward toward these goals ( ). We also changed our name from the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare to the Academy of Communication in Healthcare to acknowledge the global membership of our organization. We are now working to expand our website to expand opportunities for members to share with each other.

We hope that many of you will take part in ACH sponsored activities this year. We will have a record number of participants at the Winter Course in Texas in February. From May 31-June 3, we will host ENRICH and FORUM in Tampa, Florida ( ). To encourage participation, we will be offering scholarships to these meetings this year! We also hope that some of you will be able to join us at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare that this year will be led by our sister organization, EACH: International Association for Communication in Healthcare, with our partnership in September (

We encourage all of you to be active members in ACH! We also hope that you will consider reaching out to others that you know and encourage them to join ACH. If each of us could identify even a single friend to join, we could double our membership! We plan to sponsor a membership drive in the upcoming year. Good relationship centered health communication is the backbone of healthcare. We are at a pivotal moment to push this forward in our clinical care, teaching, and research! I look forward to working with all of you to make this happen!


Mission + Vision

Mission Statement:

ACH is the professional home for all those who are committed to improving communication and relationships in healthcare.  

ACH accomplishes this through:

  • Welcoming researchers, educators, clinicians, patients, patient advocates, and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Providing opportunities for collaboration, support and personal and professional development.
  • Identifying strengths, resources and needs of patients, their family members and healthcare professionals, both as unique individuals and in relationship to one another. 
  • Developing skills that integrate biological, psychological and social domains.
  • Applying existing scholarship from multiple disciplines and developing new knowledge through research.
  • Promoting collaborative relationships between clinicians and patients, teachers and learners, and all members of the health care team.
  • Incorporating core values of respect, empathy and genuineness in human relationships and the importance of self-awareness in all activities. 

Vision Statement:

A health care system where all patients, healthcare professionals, trainees and researchers feel valued, are treated equitably with respect, compassion, understanding, and are actively engaged in healthcare processes and decisions.

Basic Beliefs We Share as an Organization

  1. ACH believes that the healing human relationship among healthcare professionals, patients and their families is a critical aspect of healthcare. We believe that highly performing interpersonal and inter-professional delivery systems are necessary to achieve the greatest benefit from our biotechnical services.
  2. ACH believes in the highest quality, most fully accessible and cost-effective health care for all.
  3. ACH believes that relationship skills, communication skills, and teaching skills are learnable and teachable.
  4. ACH believes that improved relationships and communication enhance team and patient satisfaction, reduce errors and grievances, improve efficacy, efficiency and safety, and enhance health outcomes, as documented in the peer-reviewed literature.
  5. ACH believes that organizational investment in the continuous quality improvement of relationships and communication rewards the organization in many dimensions.
  6. ACH believes in learner-centered methods of teaching and coaching, facilitating discovery of learning needs and preferred learning styles.
  7. ACH leaders and teachers live the relationship-centered human values we teach, with each other in the organization and in our interactions with patients, family members, colleagues on the health care team, clients, and interested others; we strive to remain curious about and respectful of all forms of diversity that our individual experiences bring to our relationships.
  8. ACH is committed to evidence-based practice in healthcare and teaching, grounded in highest quality research that continually informs our work.
  9. ACH is committed to promoting diversity in its membership and leadership, including but not limited to diversity in profession, seniority, interests, gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. It believes that such diversity is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, health care and other strategic goals of the Academy. Accordingly, ACH believes it essential to assertively recruit under-represented minorities into our organization.
  10. ACH is committed to assisting in the training of under-represented minority healthcare professionals and to reducing healthcare disparities.
  11. ACH is committed to human relationships grounded in integrity, congruence, transparency, empathy and unconditional positive regard. 
  12. As a non-profit human service organization, ACH adheres to a clear mission and assures that resources are used on mission-centered activities.

[Our basic beliefs were developed by participants at the 2009 Winter Course and edited by the Executive Committee. The mission, vision, and beliefs were updated by the Board in February 2014 and October 2015.]

2017 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017

November 2017
December 2017

2016 President Message Archives

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2015 President Message Archives

Watch your inbox for the President’s message each month. If you miss an email, you can visit this page for archives of past messages.

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