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Academy Groups and Networks

Networks are defined by the Academy as an informal communication opportunity between a practice, member interest, or affiliate group and another organization. A network does not constitute an official external relationship with the organization. The opportunity is designed for the purpose of sharing information between two groups. Networks establish and maintain strategic alliances with organizations that help advance the Academy's Strategic Plan.


Contact Information

Please contact the group chair for information on forming a relationship or network:




Types of External Relationships

There are three types of official Academy external relationships: Project, Consortium and Social Alliance.


Example: A group of organizations would like to create a symposium on a research topic with shared responsibility and resource management.

  1. The key feature of a project is the coordinated effort between the participating organizations.
  2. Each organization has a responsibility to share the work load and expertise. The project is time limited – when the project is completed the relationship is dissolved.
  3. A paid staff member from each entity participates in the project to ensure consistent, accurate information. Selected members from each organization may contribute expertise in specialty areas.
  4. The project is accomplishment-focused with defined outcomes and produces measurable value to each participating organization.


Example: Several organizations would like to work together to promote the national breastfeeding goals.

  1. A consortium is made up of different agencies joining together to reach a common goal. It is a highly shared endeavor with a stated mission and a narrowly focused purpose.
  2. It serves to create new value, a product, or service of high expectation and quality.
  3. Paid staff from member organizations forms a part of a permanent small group with considerable autonomy and responsibility to provide consistent, accurate information. They also provide the communication link with the leadership of participating organizations.
  4. Selected members from each organization may participate based on their area of expertise.
  5. Each organization has the opportunity to assume a leadership role within the consortium’s program of work.

Social Alliance

Example: Academy President attends the national meeting of the School Nutrition Association

  1. A social alliance is maintained to increase the visibility of the Academy and its members
  2. It is intended to promote and support Academy members in leadership positions in other organizations
  3. It should provide insight on issues important to other organizations
  4. It has the potential to influence policy initiatives of key audiences