PATH Intl. Strategic Plan Updates

December 2014

When the current PATH Intl. strategic plan was rolled out in the fall of 2014, the PATH Intl. Board of Trustees and Staff became energized to begin implementing the plan that was created from association member, stakeholder, board and staff feedback. As a result, the staff and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and dived right in to accomplish the goals set forth. A year into the three-to-five year plan, the association is pleased to communicate that many tasks have been completed and even more are well in the works.

One important update we’d like to highlight is the language used for the goals and objectives was revisited by the board and staff and modified slightly to include clearer, measurable purpose for each. There was no change to any of the original intent; however, the improved content is more concise and better defined. To view the new language, download the updated Strategic Plan.

Following is a report on some of the higher priority initiatives.

Goal 1--We are recognized by the EAAT industry, health and wellness community and the public for our excellent and rigorous credentialing in order to enhance the professional credibility of individuals and centers.

In order to move the association forward in its goal of becoming an accredited provider of certification programs, PATH Intl. became a member of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence. The next step was to have an independent analysis performed to assess PATH Intl. compliance with National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) standards. The NCCA, through its standards, helps to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of individual certification programs that assess professional competency in industries such as healthcare, financial services and education.  

Changes are being outlined that will need to be made to achieve compliance with this program. These changes will be rolled out to the PATH Intl. Board of Trustees and program committees in late 2015.

Continuing Education and Knowledge Management
Goal 2--In order to promote professionalism and support sustainability of EAAT, PATH Intl. connects members to resources, information and networks.

In order to be compliant with the certification accreditation requirements mentioned above, PATH Intl. is looking at how to meet the requirement of separating education and certification testing while still retaining the ability to provide education. To that end, we are continuing to develop and make available education offerings including updating materials and expanding online education offerings.

This past year the webinar delivery platform was upgraded. It offers an enhanced user experience and broader capabilities for the types of webinars that can be offered. Education sessions were video-recorded at the 2014 PATH Intl. Conference and will be edited and made available to members in a webinar format. Additionally, the learning management system Course Webs was upgraded with the hope that the association will be able to make a variety of continuing education more readily available. 

Online curriculum for instructors working with veterans will be developed, made possible by the Department of Veterans Affairs grant.

PATH Intl. continues to have conversations with higher education institutions and other organizations that are preparing our next generation of certified professionals in order to better support them.

Quality Assurance
Goal 3 – Our quality assurance program enables instructors and centers to deliver safe, superior services and programs.

As a first step, A Quality Assurance Task Force was formed. A call for volunteers went out and more than 40 people responded. Ten members were chosen, and they have spent the last year working very hard to look at how to institute association-wide quality assurance. Their final report has been approved by the board and progress will continue to be reported on a regular basis. Look for the roll out of an improved grievance filing process first.

Capacity Building
Goal 4 – Our organizational systems and people power enable us to meet our strategic goals.

The association has reviewed the make-up and size of the board of trustees and the committee structure is continually reviewed.

The region systems restructure efforts to create leadership teams that support the region rep, focus on outreach, some sort of explanation, which really started in earnest with the July 1 fiscal year, are well underway. The support from the PATH Intl. Membership Oversight Committee Region Representatives in making these transitions happen is greatly appreciated.

A detailed technology assessment of internal needs, as well as an external technology scan of better, faster and more efficient solutions to better serve our members is underway.

Community Engagement and Partnerships
Goal 5 – Build strategic relationships and communication efforts that support partnerships, alliances and brand awareness

The association is exploring how to have a greater presence in the area of higher education, working in conjunction with existing higher education members.

Alignment with groups such as the American Hippotherapy Association, American Quarter Horse Foundation, Certified Horsemanship Association, Horses and Humans Research Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, American Horse Council, Horses in Education and Therapy International, and Colorado State University, to name a few, continues to be fostered.

New ways are being explored to engage the research community for focused progress in the EAAT industry.

A detailed, independent web audit resulted in an improved website, easier navigation and enhanced search engine optimization, which helps make PATH Intl. the easiest to find in a variety of web searches. This translates into centers and all information being found more easily by the public.

Focus on exposure and education to national health and wellness organizations continues thanks to the PATH Intl. Medical Outreach Advisory. This year, through exhibiting, many members presenting and EAAT professionals serving on committees, the association had a large, well-received presence at the 122nd American Psychological Association Convention that had an attendance of over 12,000 attendees.

It is challenging to measure success in a strategic plan, especially when our strategic direction is to be recognized as the premier credentialing organization for EAAT. How do you measure “recognized as”? One measurement is to note the number of requests from other national organizations that want to partner with or approach PATH Intl. because they have identified the importance of our standards. Three such recent examples include:

The Department of Veterans Affairs asked us to submit a grant request for their revised Adaptive Sports program.

The New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities asked for the PATH Intl. definition of therapeutic riding and specifically “What kind of planning, documentation and reporting is the instructor expected/required to provide to the individual/family?” They used this information to update their state Medicaid, self-directed care plans.

The association most recently got a request for a proposal to better serve individuals with special needs in the state of Massachusetts, which requires licensing for all riding instructors and riding stables – but has no differentiation between those with and without special needs.

It is this type of activity that will continue to be measured.  And most importantly, these types of opportunities will continue to support the initiatives found in the strategic plan.

Watch for updates along the way as the association moves forward with its plans. Thank you to all members and stakeholders who contributed to the creation of the plan and to those who serve through membership and volunteering to see the plan brought to fruition.



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