Autumn is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to consider what we are thankful for. Looking back on my term as EMRA’s president, I can think of about 20,000 reasons to be thankful.
20,000 happens to be the number of medical students, residents, fellows, and active alumni who now call themselves EMRA members. I am thankful for the trust you placed in me to represent your voice as we tackle some of the biggest issues this specialty has ever encountered.
In the past year, emergency physicians-in-training have faced obstacle after obstacle. We saw the release of the Workforce Report and the news that without serious changes, 20% of us may not have jobs in 10 years. There is no way to deny it: That news was a punch to the gut. It hurt. But being the scrappy young physicians that we are, we stepped up to design a future where we lead, with new solutions for safe and effective patient care. EMRA represents you at every workforce discussion, and our voice is strong. We continue to advocate for the solutions you support, including:
- Ensuring any changes to residency training are centered on evidence-based objectives, rather than arbitrary training obstacles without educational merit;
- Protecting your ability to choose a 3- or 4-year training environment;
- Fighting to ensure medical decisions are evidence-based, rather than profit-driven;
- Ensuring physicians directly lead patient care, while preventing interference in the training environment from non-physician providers;
- Shaping acute, unscheduled care for future needs, while expanding opportunities for traditional emergency medicine practice;
- Working with employers to honor the contracts they sign with senior residents.
Of course, workforce changes were not the only thing our specialty faced: COVID-19 numbers continued to fluctuate. EMRA stayed nimble and found ways to support you and the patients you care for. The 8,000+ members (!) of EMRA committees created tons of virtual events and resources to keep you up-to-date on practice changes to help you be the best physician you can be. We designed conferences that were not only educational and enjoyable, but also safe and broadly inclusive. And we partnered with other EM organizations to lead the creation of standards for the residency application cycle.
EMRA fights for you on so many fronts because you deserve it. We are proud to help you become the best physician you can be, the best leader you can be, and to do our part to help emergency medicine be the best specialty we can be. I am forever thankful for the opportunity you gave me to lead through these challenges.
I would be remiss if I did not use my last President’s Message in EM Resident to say thanks to some of the people who supported me on this journey. Thank you to Dr. Andy Muck, PD extraordinaire, who nudged me forward and reigned me in at just the right times; to Dr. Gillian Schmitz, who saw something in me that I did not yet see; to my co-residents and the team at UT Health San Antonio (especially co-chiefs Drs. Bonita Nuanez and Walker Graham and our superhero PC Melissa Villanueva), who bent over backwards to support my EMRA service while still making fun of me when I got too serious; to EMRA’s small but mighty staff, who execute a shocking number of projects on a shoestring budget and timeline; to EMRA’s board, committee leaders, program representatives, and appointed leaders, whose robust debate and interest in leadership development make EMRA without question the best organization in all of EM; and to Krystle Altstaetter, Beth Hull, Dr. Greg Decker, and the whole team at Mid-Ohio Emergency Services, who continue to find ways to create a work environment that allows for volunteer service.
Thank you also to my family and friends for your support. Thank you to my husband, Ben, who knows when to listen, when to help, when to challenge, and when to step back; to my family, who accepted my canceled RSVPs with grace; and to my friends, for the missed times together, but especially for that time when I was on a conference call at brunch–sorry to be that guy.
And finally, thank you to all of you for your continued confidence in EMRA. You give me 20,000 reasons to smile, to fight, and to serve every single day.