Who governs the WAFP?
How does an idea become policy?
What’s the commitment?
Interested in becoming a delegate?

Who governs the WAFP?

Under the terms of its bylaws, WAFP is governed by a House of Delegates representing the Academy’s constituent local chapters (determined by county/region), including chapters for family medicine resident and student members. The House of Delegates establishes policies and defines basic principles to complement the strategic plan through the adoption of reports and resolutions at the time of the annual meeting.

WAFP bylaws allow for a proportional number of delegates and alternate delegates to represent the 19 constituent chapters at this important meeting, who are appointed annually.  In a sense, your colleagues sitting in the WAFP House of Delegates are like the representatives holding the proxies of stockholders of a private corporation.  At the annual meeting, delegates also elect a Board of Directors, which in turn has full power and authority to conduct the Academy’s affairs during the interim between meetings of the House of Delegates.

All members are encouraged to attend the Annual House of Delegates meeting held each May. Members do not have to be a delegate to participate in reference committee and express their views on resolutions under discussion.

How does an idea become policy?

Resolutions, representing ideas for new projects or policies, are presented to the House of Delegates by members via their chapter delegates, or arise from the work of the Academy’s committees.  A resolution, once accepted by the House, will begin its journey in a reference committee. During the Reference Committee hearings, members may testify for or against resolutions. The reference committees then make recommendations to the House to adopt or reject each resolution. After discussion by the entire House, a vote is taken and the resolution may become WAFP policy, be passed along to AAFP or WSMA as a resolution to their Houses, or may form the basis for the WAFP’s legislative position on various issues in the coming year.

Click here for more information on writing and submitting a resolution. Or check out this presentation from WAFP Speaker Jeanne Cawse-Lucas, MD, on the resolution and reference committee process.

What’s the commitment?

If you decide to commit your time and energy to this process as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate to the WAFP House of Delegates, you will need to:

  • Be away from your practice for at least one day (Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. plus travel time); and we hope you will want stay for the Scientific Assembly on Friday and Saturday to garner CME hours as well.
  • Familiarize yourself with WAFP Bylaws and House of Delegates manual. Resolutions will be sent to delegates and alternates in time to familiarize with the issues before the meeting.
  • Talk to your colleagues and learn their views on current issues affecting family medicine.
  • Consider writing, co-writing or sponsoring a resolution.
  • Plan to attend reference committee meetings and be prepared to express your views on subjects of special interest to your chapter and your constituents.
  • Stand up and vote at the House.

Each chapter will be asked to appoint delegates and alternates in January or February.  Consider taking part in this democratic process.  Your involvement could make a real difference in how Family Medicine is practiced in our state.

Remember that the power of the Academy begins as a single idea, grows and evolves in the House of Delegates, and not only can shape WAFP, AAFP and WSMA policy, it may also impact Washington state legislation and make a tremendous difference to your profession, your practice, and most importantly—to your patients.

Interested in becoming a delegate?

Any WAFP member in good standing is welcome to participate in the House of Delegates. Delegates and alternate delegates are selected by their local chapters; residents and medical student delegates and alternate delegates are selected by, and represent, the Resident Chapter and Medical Student Chapter.

Each chapter is allotted a certain number of delegates based on rules contained in the WAFP bylaws.

Delegates vote on resolutions and in elections; alternate delegates are seated as delegates in the absence of previously declared delegate. If not seated as delegates, alternate delegates may be called on to help administer the House of Delegates.

If you’re interested in serving, contact your local chapter leadership for consideration. For those chapters without leadership, contact either Membership Committee leadership or WAFP staff.