The idea to establish a national organization of professionals who assist in educating children with medical needs was set in motion at the 1999 Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH) meeting. ACCH provided a forum for hospital teachers to meet and network. During the ACCH conferences, networking sessions were included for various professionals to break-off in discussion or networking groups. At the 1999 conference in Long Beach, CA, the teachers who attended the networking session expressed the desire to have an independent organization of hospital teachers.
ACCH was disbanded in 2000, so the teachers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta met and decided to hold a conference for hospital teachers in November 2001. The title of the conference was Together Educators and Children Help Each Other Reach Success (T.E.A.C.H.E.R.S.). The energy among the participants at that conference was high and the groundwork for a national organization began.
In October 2001 Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center hosted a second conference. News about the formation of a national organization for hospital teachers spread and 100 teachers from the United States and New Zealand attended. During the conference drafts of a Mission and Vision statement were developed.
In November 2002 the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center hosted the third annual conference. During this conference it was decided that the organization should represent hospital and homebound teachers. A title for the organization was chosen, Association for the Education of Children with Medical Needs (AECMN), and a board of directors was elected.
During 2003, board members developed bylaws and filed the necessary legal documents in order to form a non-profit organization. In October, the annual conference was held in St. Petersburg, FL. The bylaws were approved and AECMN officially became an organization. A board consisting of six members were elected and continued to support the education of our children with medical needs. Today the board consists of five elected officers (President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Communications/Media Coordinator, and Treasurer) and one appointed officer which is a non voting position (Conference Chairperson).
Today the mission and vision of AECMN still continues. Every year a group of professionals interested in equal education for children with medical needs meet to exchange ideas, share best practices and build a supporting network. As the needs of our members grow and change, AECMN continues to evolve to support our hospital based educators.