How does the SGIM Council set priorities for the organization?

For many years, the SGIM Council has held a retreat every June to set priorities for the next 12 months. It is a time for the Council to review achievements of the past year and discuss current challenges. In June 2018, Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith, the President of SGIM, led a seminal retreat in which Council sought to “clarify our vision, refocus our mission, better understand our organization’s capacity, and identify how we may capitalize on our collective strengths.”1 SGIM emerged from that retreat with a clear statement of our mission—to cultivate innovative educators, researchers, and clinicians in academic general internal medicine, leading the way to better health for everyone.”2 Since then, SGIM has focused on four organizational goals and strategic priorities: 1) foster the development of general internal medicine leaders in academic and other settings; 2) promote scholarship in person-centered and population-oriented approaches to improving health; 3) advocate for our vision of a just health system that brings optimal health for all people; and 4) ensure organizational health including a thriving SGIM staff.

In each subsequent June retreat, the Council has wrestled with how to maintain continuity in overall strategy while addressing new problems. As Dr. Karen DeSalvo put it at the end of her presidency year in 2020, “we are constantly working to find balance in maintaining a focus on core priorities that can be achieved within our resources against the issues and new opportunities that arise every day.”3

The 2020-21 year brought exceptional challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite those challenges, SGIM accomplished a lot under the leadership of Dr. Jean Kutner.4 As Dr. Kutner declared in her recent Forum column, “if not for the thoughtful planning that was achieved during Dr. Corbie-Smith’s presidency which was expanded upon and operationalized during Dr. DeSalvo’s presidency, I don’t think that SGIM would have weathered this turbulent year as well as it has.”4 Now we prepare for another year, keeping our eyes on the organization’s priorities while tackling new problems and staying true to our core values.2

What input does the Council receive from SGIM’s committees and commissions?

SGIM is a member-driven society. For that reason, the Council relies heavily upon input from the members who serve on SGIM’s committees and commissions. To prepare for the Council’s June planning retreat, we asked all committees and commissions to submit a plan for the coming year. Each committee and commission had to describe its top 3 priorities for the 2021-22 year and explain how each initiative supports SGIM’s mission. They also had to explain how they plan to engage members in their work and how they could collaborate with other groups inside or outside SGIM. In addition, we asked each committee and commission to identify content suitable for inclusion in our new learning management system (GIMLearn) and consider how they could contribute to SGIM’s plans for strengthening our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.5

What was most striking about the plans submitted by SGIM’s committees and commissions this year?

The most striking aspects of the plans were the mission-driven focus, energy, and creativity reflected in the 120 pages of plans we received from the committees and commissions. The plans build upon the foundation established by previous Councils while proposing new initiatives designed to address current problems in the post-COVID world. Together, SGIM can do anything we put our minds to; however, we are unable to do everything. We will ensure that our resources are put to good use by choosing from a tremendous collection of initiatives. Over the next few weeks, SGIM’s staff will be working with the Council to estimate the resources needed to implement the highest priority initiatives and explore opportunities to make most efficient use of available resources. By the time this column appears in print, all committees and commissions will have received feedback and guidance on their plans. We look forward to having a very successful year!


  1. Corbie-Smith G. A year in review. SGIM Forum. 2019; 42 (4): 1-2. Accessed July 15, 2021.
  2. Vision and values. SGIM.—values. Accessed July 15, 2021.
  3. DeSalvo K. 2020 Reflections: It is about our people. SGIM Forum. 2020;43(4):1-2. Accessed July 15, 2021.
  4. Kutner J. Building on a strong foundation and looking ahead to the future. SGIM Forum. 2021: 43 (4): 1-2. Accessed July 15, 2021.
  5. GIMLearn. SGIM. Accessed July 15, 2021.



COVID-19, Health Policy & Advocacy, Leadership, Administration, & Career Planning, Medical Education, SGIM, Vulnerable Populations

Author Descriptions

Dr. Bass ( is the CEO of SGIM. Dr. Lypson ( is the President of SGIM.