American Tinnitus Association
June 15, 2011
I have served as a board member of the American Tinnitus Association, and currently help as a volunteer. I have always respected how the staff and directors of this organization realized that the old mission of being an information and support organization had been superceded by the advent of the internet, so the organization was retooled from the ground up to pursue the ultimate mission for a health-related organization -- to cure tinnitus. The ATA devised its "Roadmap to a Cure" to show the scientific pathway we intended to follow. It overhauled its website to focus on raising funds and other resources for tinnitus research. And the ATA did these things without losing the communication and compassion skills that have made this organization the lifeline for many people suffering from tinnitus. The ATA leverages its staff to fulfill many functions at the same time. Through skillful planning and preparation, volunteer efforts are channeled into the most productive avenues -- for example, the Advocacy department first was the prime mover to encourage research by the Dept. of Defense into tinnitus, and then allowed for volunteers such as myself to offer our services as unpaid consultants to the DoD on funding research proposals. Finally, the ATA is a good steward of donations -- they make a budget and stick to it, and never lose focus on the organization's mission in the process.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Astute use of my donated money; advice on tinnitus treatments; recommendations for tinnitus health providers in my location.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Research proposals are reviewed by a select Scientific Advisory Committee of tinnitus researchers, and approved by the board of directors. The process of scientific investigation of finding cures for diseases may itself be subject to review, to see if there are new ways to accelerate research toward specific targets -- and as it turns out, this is something that most health-research organizations are looking at.
Volunteer & I serve as an outreach support liaison to tinnitus patients in my city; I also help raise donations for the ATA's fund drives, such as our "Walk" for tinnitus campaign.