Want to be a Policy Pro? Join the EMRA/ACEP Health Policy Academy!

The EMRA and ACEP Health Policy Academy (HPA) is a year-long academy that trains residents to engage in policy at both the level of EMRA and ACEP through multiple opportunities to review, discuss, and write policy.

Additionally, residents are given the opportunity to engage with stakeholders on the national level through the ACEP Leadership and Advocacy Conference (LAC). The HPA program takes place in a hybrid format, with monthly meetings to discuss general health policy and in-person meetings during CORD, ACEP, and LAC.

Who would benefit from the program?
This program is a great fit for anyone who is interested in health policy and becoming knowledgeable in the process of policy writing for national and international organizations. It’s a great way to meet other trainees with similar interests, and to interact with leaders shaping policy within EMRA and ACEP on the national level.

Whether you have significant experience in health policy or none at all, the HPA will provide you with learning opportunities and the chance to influence the future of the specialty of Emergency Medicine. Are you interested in health policy but feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the American healthcare system? This program will bring you up to speed and give you the tools you need to create meaningful change.

Individual Experiences

HPA Fellow Michaela Banks, MD, MBA
LSU New Orleans Spirit of Charity EM Residency
Why did you apply for the EMRA and ACEP Health Policy Academy?
I was first exposed to health policy during my gap years working in research; the hospital I worked for corralled and encouraged research assistants to talk to local policymakers on advocacy days. I saw the impact that medical professionals can have in influencing policy. As someone who is interested in the intersection of policy and international medicine, I applied to HPA and was so excited to learn about parliamentary procedure and resolution writing.

What was your most memorable experience during the academy?
My most memorable experience of HPA was when I and my co-fellows, Chris and Miya, worked for hours on the EMRA Reference Committee report after resolution hearings during CORD (2020). It really gave me insight into how difficult it can be to incorporate feedback into resolutions in order to influence and enact change.

How do you hope to utilize your learnings from this academy in the future?
Long-term, I would like to combine my interests in health policy and international medicine to work towards improved treatment and care for people entering the United States specifically through the Texas and California borders, in conjunction with practicing medicine on both the US and Mexico border. While in residency, I look forward to continuing advocacy and being involved with policy at both the local and state levels here in Louisiana, and I am thankful for the opportunities HPA has exposed me to!

HPA Fellow Chris Counts, MD, MSc
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai EM Residency
Why did you apply for the EMRA and ACEP Health Policy Academy?
My first exposure to health policy was during medical school when I worked on a project aiming to address generic drug shortages and price spikes that affect patients in the US every day. I was hooked and wanted to get involved with policy-making that would have a meaningful impact on my patients and on the specialty of EM.

What was your most memorable experience during the academy?
One of the most memorable experiences of the academy was publicly testifying for (and against!) policies at ACEP Council, hoping to encourage the adoption of resolutions that would benefit my patients and fellow trainees.

How do you hope to utilize your learnings from this academy in the future?
In addition to bringing me up to speed on key policy issues facing our nation and our specialty, the HPA experience provided me with the knowledge and skills to engage with the policymaking process, which I will put into action as I develop my career as a fellow, emergency medicine physician, and patient advocate.

HPA Fellow Miya Smith, MD
University of Chicago EM Residency
Why did you apply for the EMRA and ACEP Health Policy Academy?
While involved with my state’s medical-legal council during residency, I developed a passion for the process of creating policy. It was exciting to participate in discussions about how various resolutions would impact physicians in the state of Illinois, and even meet some of the authors of these resolutions to hear their points of view. I was intrigued by the idea that I could have an impact on the future directions of medicine.

What was your most memorable experience during the academy?
My most memorable experience was the ACEP Council. It was a great experience to prepare for the council by reviewing all of the proposed resolutions and understanding how each made an impact through the lens of EMRA and its constituents. It gave me great insight into how organized medicine works, and how important my voice can be in the process. I was able to testify during one of the Reference Committee meetings, which was a scary but empowering experience.

How do you hope to utilize your learnings from this academy in the future?
I hope to use my experience to incorporate health policy and advocacy into my career in forensic medicine. I want to build on my current work and create policy that provides and protects healthcare delivery to patients who are experiencing sexual assault, human trafficking, or intimate partner violence.

Take-Home Points

  • EMRA/ ACEP HPA is a great way to learn about policy, resolution writing, and the current issues facing the United States healthcare system during a year
  • HPA is for anyone interested in policy; no prior experience necessary!
  • Apply to HPA's next cycle! Applications are due Jan. 9.

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