Caring for All in a Divided Society

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If you’re anything like me, the latest news headlines have left a part of you feeling uneasy. Whether you’re conservative or liberal leaning, it seems safe to say the current administration has left all of us feeling shocked more than once, and has created a future filled with uncertainty.

Our EMRA members come from all walks of life. We are male and female, straight and LGBTQ, partnered and single. We are loud and soft-spoken, immigrants and native-born Americans, religious and spiritual and neither of the two. We have put our support behind leaders who are in complete opposition with one another, and we have spent years developing our own unique sets of personal ideals and beliefs which guide our decisions, words, feelings, and how we invest our time.

This diversity is what makes us great! Diversity gives EMRA the varied perspectives that bring us to our best ideas and produce our best member benefits. It’s how we can be an organization that supports military, international, osteopathic and allopathic, traditional and non-traditional grads in ways that are universal to all of us as EM trainees but are also unique to each subgroup of our membership. We celebrate our diversity and believe it is an essential part of our organizational sustainability.

In emergency medicine, we do not discriminate against people because of where they’re from or what faith they practice. Despite how different we are as individuals, we — every single member of EMRA — share this core mission of our chosen field: the desire to provide quality emergency care to any patient who comes through the doors of our ED, and to have the training and support we need to be the most competent and caring physicians we can be to every single one of them. Every person. Every time.

In my last letter to you, I recapped the things EMRA is doing to stay engaged and continue representing you in this dynamic political environment. Our Health Policy Advocacy Task Force is actively working on draft policies to formally articulate our organization’s stances on the issues related to health care that have been or could be contentious moving forward. They are also creating a long-term advocacy strategy for EMRA to help us better engage our members in the political process.

At the same time, your EMRA Board continues to advocate for you in real time as legislative changes are being made that could adversely affect our field.

For example, along with more than 50 other national medical organizations, EMRA proudly co-signed a Feb. 1 letter written by the AAMC to President Donald Trump in opposition to his Jan. 27 Executive Order on immigration in the U.S. This letter states that “restricting the admission of certain foreign nationals and refugees to the United States will disrupt patient care, health education, and medical research” and notes our dedication “to promoting a diverse and culturally competent health and biomedical workforce [that]supports improvements in health care, access to providers, breakthroughs in medical research, and equitable health for all patients regardless of their backgrounds.”

While our members sit firmly on both sides of the political aisle, it is our responsibility to stand up for each other, our patients, and our specialty. We cannot sit idly by while the rights of those we care for and our ability to care for them are threatened.

It is our privilege to serve as your representative board, but remember that advocacy is an active process! We depend on you to communicate your thoughts to us and to reach out to your own Congressional Representatives in favor of better emergency care delivery and against those laws that would inhibit our ability to continue training strong emergency physician leaders ready to care for the diverse population of our world.

As always, if you have an idea or thoughts you want to share, please reach out to me at president@emra.org! We’re excited to keep representing you and fighting for what’s right for our patients.

Just keep swimming,
Alicia

Alicia Kurtz, MD

Alicia Kurtz, MD

EMRA President, Chief Resident, UCSF Fresno, Fresno, CA, @aliciakurtz_md
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