I am humbled and thrilled to begin my year of service as your incoming EMRA president. As you may know, I have been involved with EMRA for years – joining as a medical student and becoming more involved throughout residency, first serving as a program and regional rep, and then as your council speaker before becoming president-elect last year. My time with the organization has been the highlight of my professional career.
One of the reasons I chose emergency medicine as a specialty was the ability to balance cutting-edge and fast-paced clinical medicine with advocacy and engagement in organized medicine. Our specialty is unique in that we interact with all other specialties on a regular basis, breaking out of traditional silos, and striving to coordinate efforts centered on the goal of quality patient care. I want to stress that EMRA is really about you. It is my goal over this next year as your president to keep our great organization member-focused and delivering all the benefits and resources you enjoy. We want you to get the most out of being an emergency medicine physician-in-training.
As EMRA turns 40, we now support and are proud to represent over 13,000 members around the world. Our challenge as we grow will be to remain focused on our constituents, and ensure we are truly representing our membership and delivering value for the time and dues you’ve given to EMRA. Our membership has reached a tipping point where our diversity and size requires us to critically evaluate our identity as an organization. Practically speaking, this means EMRA board members and staff have begun a comprehensive review of our bylaws and policy compendium, the governing documents that define how we operate and what we do.All EMRA members have the opportunity to shape the future direction our organization. This is often done in the form of suggesting policy changes at our biannual EMRA council meetings. Such member direction has led us to focus specifically on the representation of fellows in emergency medicine.
When EMRA was founded in 1972, the idea of a board-certified fellowship beyond EM residency training was anything but a front-burner issue. At that time, we faced a myriad of challenges as a new specialty striving to establish itself and gain acceptance in the house of medicine. Now it is safe to say that our specialty’s relevance and value are unquestionable. Many of us chose EM because of the incredible diversity of opportunities we are offered — both in terms of actual clinical practice and in scope of influence, from advocacy to administration. No other specialty offers this range of practice opportunities. From working as part of a large academic medical center with every specialty on call 24/7, to being the only physician available on a cruise ship, to helping build emergency medical services in developing countries, the thing that connects us in our diversity is our EM training.
Our fellows are challenged by their position in between residency and complete independent practice. As the number of board-certified EM fellowships has grown, so have the voice and needs of EM fellows. From palliative care to critical care, EM physicians are choosing to pursue further specialized training that benefits our entire specialty. EMRA recognizes the need to offer support and resources to these members. As we work to meet the needs of our EMRA fellow members, we need your help! Your perspective is critical to ensuring EMRA provides the resources and opportunities to both secure the fellowship that fits your career goals, and then thrive in that role. Starting with focus groups and discussions at ACEP 14, we will continue to seek your input and ideas.
No matter what stage of training you are in, EMRA’s objective is to be your voice and offer invaluable resources to enhance your career. With your support and help, we will achieve our goal.