Hi everyone. As you might be aware, there has been some concerns raised on this forum over the last week about the current status of OpenMRS, including the current and future direction of leadership and more importantly, the community’s organizational culture.
In response to these concerns, I wanted to share some updates on our proposed operational model around leadership that has developed over the past few weeks. This model entails identifying an operational lead to support the day to day actions of the OpenMRS community, what I believe to be a critical role in our community’s future. While we are actively searching for someone to fill this role over the long run, Terry Cullen has agreed to serve as the interim Community Operational Lead. I will work in a supportive capacity to her.
For those of you who haven’t met @terry, she is an absolute gem of an individual who has had over 30 years experience as a clinician with a focus on underserved populations… and has had multiple significant real world experiences in developing large scale health informatics organizations. We are lucky to have her as an integral leader of our community, and I hope you’ll join me in doing whatever you can to help support her success in that role.
I also wanted to talk about “organizational culture”. In particular, recent concerns have been highlighted in posts like these. These thoughtful posts are not being taken lightly by anyone within the community leadership, and we want to further open the dialogue here if there’s interest. As such, we would like to invite all OpenMRS community members to participate in one of our upcoming one hour Town Hall meetings on Monday @ 9am ET (1pm UTC) and 1pm ET (5pm UTC). This forum will consist of a 10-15 min update to the community and 45-50 min of open space to talk about topics on the minds of community members. We plan to host this Town Hall on the Uberconfernence voice conferencing system but will also be monitoring IRC for those unable to communicate through the phone line. We know that there have been concerns about transparency and lack of access to information. We hope that these town halls will help address some of those concerns. We look forward to connecting with you next week and thereafter on a quarterly basis.
Please feel free to respond here if you have additional thoughts… and we hope to see you soon at the town hall. More logistics information will be hosted here shortly.
Videos to watch that is applicable to what is happening right now and why the community is in the state it is:
TL;DR: Transparency is non-negotiable and we as a community should, no MUST fight for TOTAL transparency from our leaders and the Board of Directors of OpenMRS, Inc., the not-for-profit that helps to keep the lights on.
The amazing Leslie Hawthorn (lh) and Danese Cooper (who is ALSO amazing). It is worth noting that lh is on the Advisory Committee for OpenMRS and an amazing person and my life coach of sorts.
In the spirit of transparency a last minute call was held Tuesday in response to some emails and discussions going on around the topics Paul addressed above. Here are the notes and recording from that call. The topics were focused on current concerns/responses and how to move forward. Discussion from this call led to the formation of an OpenMRS Town Hall to make sure ALL community members have a space to here updates and ask questions.
Thanks @r0bby. I couldn’t agree more. I also think we need to be always pushing to maintain a model where leadership is an extension of the community – i.e., members of the community stepping up to lead efforts – and not something separate. I saw a good talk a while ago (can’t find the link now) where someone pointed out “leadership trying to communicate with the community” as an unhealthy metric, since there shouldn’t be such a distinction between leadership & community. Those who are volunteering their time to help lead efforts in OpenMRS have discussions in the Leadership Category, document notes on the wiki, and have calls weekly in Uberconference where recordings can be shared with anyone. These are by no means exclusive and, in fact, we’ve been actively seeking volunteers to take on leadership roles. OpenMRS, Inc. materials are on the wiki here.
There is a private leadership category for handling sensitive topic (i.e., those not suitable for publishing on the web), but we discourage it as well as email conversations. I would, like you, support an approach like: if you can’t give me a link to it (Talk topic, notes, wiki page, whatever), it wasn’t decided. I’d also love to find ways to make it easy to share our higher bandwidth or synchronous discussions like screencasts (e.g., leveraging Google On Air or Capturing screen shares on uberconference and getting them into YouTube).
There are other areas where we could benefit from being more transparent, including finding ways to publicize metrics on help desk traffic, development activity (like Darius’ pmtool), infrastructure needs, etc.
In the end, we all want the same thing: finding a way to most effectively use information technology and community to empower people in resource constrained environments to have better health.