To increase inclusivity and accessibility, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) introduced a new member benefit in March 2016: an online community.
As ASN has grown, it has become even more important to leverage the society’s diverse and global membership. Filling that need requires a digital platform where all members can network, collaborate, discuss, and lead around important issues facing nephrology.
One year since implementation, ASN Communities continue to evolve to provide members opportunities to network and collaborate. Rather than being rigid, ASN Communities seek to be responsive and bottom up, providing a venue for the society’s members to set their own agendas and pursue what they care about. Before Communities, the average ASN member had few opportunities to be involved with the society and even fewer avenues to connect with fellow members. Now, all members can meet outside ASN Kidney Week and lead in any area of interest.
ASN Communities are a central hub for members to tap into the diversity of expertise in the field of nephrology. By providing intuitive ways to talk with others via discussion threads, posts, and direct messages, members communicate with each other. Discovering others via profiles, sharing your work via libraries, and enjoying focused discussion in diverse communities all facilitate collaboration.
The Communities have covered significant ground over the past year. The platform has emerged as an important part of the lives of international members. In 2016, 20% of Communities contributors were international members, who accounted for 21% of total logins. A critical part of initiating the new ASN Strategic Plan was establishing inclusive communities with dedicated leaders and agendas to serve the varied interests of the society’s members. To that end, ASN Communities now offer 11 communities with 34 leaders and 5853 total posts. The Open Forum hosts dozens of issues not yet represented in separate communities.
ASN Communities provide a platform to discuss many critical issues, including the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification Program, interest in nephrology careers, basic science, and much more. Many members visit the site to get help on cases, providing the opportunity for educational discussions about best practices and the latest evidence.
Coinciding with the one-year anniversary, ASN is simplifying the process to open new communities and revamping the role of community leaders. Other enhancements include adding interest codes to profiles, a best answer button to posts, and a section of the homepage devoted to the most popular threads. In 2017, ASN hopes to highlight international members, offer more events, and ensure communities have a bigger presence at ASN Kidney Week 2017, which will take place October 31 to November 5, in New Orleans, LA.
Launching ASN Communities could not have happened without members willing to take a risk on a new platform and give their time to make an experiment work. Special thanks to the community leaders, most active members, and beta testers. ASN Communities are the society’s members, and ASN looks forward to more growth and engagement in 2017.