Back into the office today after a successful couple of presentations of preliminary data analysis and results from the summer project. I was quite honoured to be invited to present this information at both the PTAlberta Connect+Learn conference in Kannaskis last weekend and the CPA Leadership Forum in Ottawa this past weekend. While the messaging isn't always as upbeat and positive as what I usually like to deliver, it is realistic. The messages seemed to be met with generally positive reaction (at least to my face), and it seems that there is now mounting interest in seeing these results get out to into the wild as soon as possible so we can leverage the momentum and work collectively towards creative solutions. The end game here is that PT be positioned to not only survive the coming 10-20 years (and beyond), but thrive, yet in order to do so we probably need to ask some difficult and at times uncomfortable questions.
To be clear, I have no intention of preaching my own opinions on solutions. Whatever happens from here needs to come from the PT community. This is in fact the nature of the Physio Moves Canada project itself - I could have sat in my office writing about potential threats and opportunities, but I needed to hear it from the profession, and now it is the profession that needs to be engaged.
So now that the data have been all but collected, the real work starts in terms of conducting rigorous and trustworthy analyses and disseminating meaningful information to those who can best use it. This is no small task; there is a mountain of data to be poured through. I will of course be writing scientific manuscripts for publication as part of my role here at Western University, but I am well aware that such publications rarely translate into real world impact without additional mechanisms of dissemination. Further, there is far more information than can logically be included in a scientific manuscript or even a series of manuscripts, and it will likely take a couple of years before it is all published. By then my fear is that the information may be getting a little long in the tooth.
So, after reflecting and talking with a number of my own mentors, I've decided that there is a book here, or perhaps a manifesto of some kind, in which we can describe not only the threats, opportunities, research priorities and training reforms I heard about over the summer, but even opine on how some of these may start to be addressed. However, going back to my earlier comments, I do NOT want this to be all about me and my beliefs. I'm only one person, and there is a full community of clinicians, academics, educators, administrators, and entrepreneurs who have their own views on these issues. We need a mechanisms to allow this level of exchange to occur.
To be fair, I won't sit here and say I have the answer to this, it's a challenge. But, I feel compelled to try something. So, to that end, my first attempt at creating and growing our community is to harness the collective through the new world of crowd-sourcing. This past weekend I officially launched a campaign on the Patreon crowd-sourcing website. At this point, the campaign is focused on helping me find the time and space to get the information disseminated through a book by replacing some of the income I would normally make through my weekend teaching / workshops. What I like about the Patreon model is that it offers the potential for more sustainable funding (pledges are collected monthly), that no single person or entity is relied upon for a large part of the funding (pledges can be as little as $1/month), that there is no commitment (if you don't feel like the outputs are worth your pledge, pull the plug with no questions asked), and it is an easier path towards engaging a community. I have created 'tiers' of pledge amounts, with the highest being $20/month (again, I don't want anyone to be investing too much here) at which level I am offering the chance to provide feedback in real time as the different sections are completed, so that it can truly become a community effort. That's my vision, perhaps it's overly romantic, but I think it's time for us to try something new. After a year my hope is to leverage the traction and engagement into something bigger and more sustainable (podcasts, town halls, think tanks, seed grants, etc...) such that this becomes an entity on its own that helps our other professional associations move us forward. A formal not-for-profit seems like a reasonable goal, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.
And to that end, one final comment - while I am NOT a CPA staffer, nor member of the board, I will say that I DO NOT want your contribution to the PMC project to take higher priority than any contribution you might be considering to the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada or other such charitable group. Make those contributions FIRST, and if after doing so you feel you have the available resources to contribute something to this initiative, then I welcome you on board. I would much rather have 400 people contribute $5/month, than any single entity contribute $2,000/month, and hope that leaves plenty of room for those other important initiatives.
The link to the Patreon page is: www.patreon.com/PhysioMovesCanada