How to be an EMRA Program Representative

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Remember the saying “drinking from a firehose” we all learn during medical school? That’s how I felt at my first EMRA Representative Council meeting. As I entered a room buzzing with excitement, I saw to my right the seasoned program reps conversing near the breakfast bar, and to my left the EMRA Board candidates networking and campaigning. Intrigued by the spirit of the room, but in true beginner’s form, I grabbed a bagel and retreated to my state’s table to await the proceedings.

During the next hour, using the language of parliamentary procedure, representatives passionately debated policy and cast their votes for the next leaders of the organization. It was impressive, important — and a little intimidating. But this avenue of involvement is absolutely vital for a healthy organization, so we’re making it simple to understand your role and engage as an EMRA Program Representative.

How many program reps are there?

Every residency program that holds EMRA membership has 1 program representative and at least 1 alternate.

How are program reps chosen?

This varies by residency program; please check with your program director or program coordinator.

What does a program rep do?

Communicate! As program rep, you are the vital link between your program, other EM residencies, and EMRA. It’s your job to find out what your peers think about policy issues, EMRA Board candidates, resolutions, etc., and to speak for your program at the EMRA Representative Council meetings. As a program rep, you will:

—   Keep your fellow residents up to speed on EMRA membership perks and initiatives.
—   Keep EMRA up to speed on feedback from your program.
—   Attend 2 Representative Council meetings per year: 1 in conjunction with SAEM’s Annual Conference in May, and 1 in conjunction with the ACEP Scientific Assembly in October.
—   Present resolutions to your program for discussion before the bi-annual meetings.
—   Report back to your program after each Rep Council meeting, to let your fellow residents know the outcome of votes, elections, etc.

How does EMRA help you fulfill your duties?

Your Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the Council will be in touch with you throughout the year, offering key instruction, information, and support. Read those emails!

EMRA also sends regular communication to help you keep your fellow residents informed, including:

—   What’s Up in Emergency Medicine monthly e-newsletter;
—   EM Resident magazine (print and online);
—   EMRA 101 PowerPoint presentation.

What if you can’t travel?

EMRA is investigating new technology that will allow all program representatives to participate in our Rep Council meetings — even those who cannot attend in-person.

With remote voting and online discussion, the Represen­tative Council will be as inclusive and transparent as possible. This makes your job as a program rep even more important.

Why should you serve?

The EMRA Program Representative position is an esteemed role in our organization. It’s the program reps who collaborate to put EMRA’s mission into action through resolutions and policy discussions that shape the association’s direction. Program reps quickly rise to the call of leadership. Several go on to be selected as EMRA board members and committee or division chairs.

EMRA appreciates the service of our program reps and recognizes their leadership potential. Our organization desires to foster those attributes, so meetings include several opportunities for professional development and outstanding networking. (For example, we host meet-ups at SAEM and ACEP Scientific Assembly specifically to allow our leaders — from program representatives to committee leaders to EMRA board members — to interact.)

Being an EMRA program representatives is an honor and a responsibility, as you are the collective voice for almost 15,000 members — and you will, through your participation, shape the path of our specialty. So if you hear the calling and are ready to take your seat at the table, talk with your PD or current program rep to see how you can be next.

For questions, please email speaker@emra.org or vicespeaker@emra.org.

Tiffany Jackson, MD

Tiffany Jackson, MD

EMRA Vice-Speaker of the Council, Emergency Medicine Resident, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Tiffany Jackson, MD

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