During my intern year, I was offered the chance to become our EMRA program representative. As I attended the EMRA Representative Council Meeting later that year and became aware of the numerous ways that EMRA is always working on behalf of its members, I quickly came to the realization that I needed to stay informed and get involved, or I would be left out.
It is hard to believe that day was two years ago and that just a few weeks ago marked 12 months of my service as your vice-speaker. It is a true privilege to have been with EMRA so long. One of the benefits of having been your vice-speaker, and now speaker, is the opportunity to meet so many of our talented members. EMRA remains the largest — and in my opinion, the greatest — residency organization in the world. With just under 13,000 members, every chance I get to meet a member for the first time, my message remains the same: “Thank you for what you do for EMRA!” The success of EMRA remains a direct credit to the work of its members.
Over the past year, I have enjoyed working with, and being mentored by, your outgoing speaker, Dr. Ije Akunyili. We wish her luck as she transitions out of her official role with EMRA. Although it is hard to summarize everything that the EMRA Representative Council has done over the past year, following are some of the highlights.
Representative Council Session: Four resolutions were discussed in open forum. The Representative Council ultimately passed resolutions to oppose changes that would negatively affect new residents' accessibility to medical insurance and ability to qualify for certain loan-forgiveness programs.
Leadership and Advocacy: Your board was able to attend and advocate for emergency medicine, GME funding, the SGR fix (see Health Policy 101 in this issue), and several other issues alongside leaders from ACEP.
AMA/RFS Annual Meeting: Three EMRA members won elections for positions with the Resident and Fellow Section Council.
ACEP14 Recap — Representative Council Session
We passed two resolutions in response to concerns from our members.
- There is a growing number of those who train in emergency medicine moving on to fellowship positions that are currently not ABEM co-sponsored. Our bylaws previously limited the type of membership these individuals were allowed to have with EMRA. The Representative Council voted to strike previously written bylaws limiting fellow membership to those in ABEM-sponsored fellowships. Any bylaws change requires a two-thirds majority and the Representative Council spoke clearly that they wanted to offer full membership to those who are emergency medicine trained and in a fellowship program. This is a growing area in our specialty and the Representative Council also tasked the board to provide a written report during our Spring 2015 Representative Council session on the needs of members transitioning to residency and how EMRA can better address those needs.
- Many of us have crossed paths with individuals who have chosen to use their medical talents to serve in our military. Many of them are planning to train in emergency medicine, but may initially be commissioned as a graduate medical officer in the military. During this time, they previously did not qualify under our bylaws to be EMRA members. The Representative Council voted unanimously to modify bylaws offering full benefits and membership to those who serve in our military as graduate medical officers, but who are planning to train in emergency medicine.
We also elected several new members to the EMRA Board of Directors who will continue to lead and direct our organization forward. As part of our new board elections, the Representative Council chose Dr. Nida Degesys of UCSF as our new vice-speaker! She is a passionate individual who will serve EMRA well.