EMRA is the voice of emergency medicine physicians-in-training and the future of our specialty. That is our mission. And to fulfill that mission, your EMRA Board develops a strategic plan to use as road map for success. The three pillars of EMRA’s current plan are to:
- Make membership matter
- Promote the interests of EM physicians-in-training
- Thrive as a sustainable organization.
As we look forward to the year ahead, I want to celebrate our recent accomplishments and highlight innovations that demonstrate our commitment to achieving our mission.
Making Membership Matter
At the 2015 ACEP Council, now ACEP President-Elect John Rogers, MD, CPE, FACEP, stood at a microphone and boldly testified that, “EMRA is the crucible in which the future of emergency medicine is forged.” And he couldn’t be more right! For more than 40 years, EMRA has been the launching pad for young physicians who have gone on to become leaders in health policy, research, medical education, government, nonprofits, the private sector, and more. The stories of these leaders are highlighted in a series of EM Resident articles and EMRA•cast podcasts called EMpower.
In addition to the leadership opportunities offered by serving on EMRA’s Board, Committees and Divisions, Medical Student Council, Representative Council, and as EMRA Representatives to ACEP Committees, new this year, under the direction EMRA President-Elect Omar Maniya, MD, MBA, we are creating even more opportunities for our members to lead by appointing EMRA Representatives to ACEP Sections. By strengthening our relationship with ACEP’s 38 sections, EMRA members will have the opportunity to be mentored by leaders in our field and participate in conversations that will shape the future of our specialty.
At ACEP17, we brought together leaders from across our organization for an improv-comedy teambuilding activity to break down silos, have fun, and build friendships as a community of lifelong leaders in emergency medicine. From this experience, the idea for the EMRA Leadership Academy was born. Scheduled to launch at the CORD Academic Assembly in San Antonio, under the direction of EMRA Board Member At-Large Geoff Comp, DO, FAWM, this series of 12 monthly flipped classroom discussions paired with teambuilding mixers at national conferences will teach current EMRA leaders the skills necessary to be engaged, effective, inspirational, visionary, collaborative, servant leaders within EMRA and beyond!
And if you’re looking for a way to get involved on a local level, don’t forget to check out EMRA’s ACEP Chapter Opportunities Grid, recently updated by EMRA’s Director of Membership Shehni Nadeem, MD.
Products and Programming
From the EMRA Quiz Show to the 20 in 6 Resident Lecture Competition, EMRA has always been known for creating unique, in-person experiences for our members at national conferences. (The recently revamped EMRA Awards Luncheons are another example!) But the event I’m most looking forward to attending this year will be EMRA’s inaugural CHAOS in the ED: EMRA All-Around Skills Competition, a series of absurdly fun procedure-based challenges completed by teams assembled on-the-fly at the CORD Academic Assembly. Don’t miss out on a chance for glory! Sign up to compete (or just come and cheer on your favorite team of randos).
EMRA’s library of clinical and advising resources continues to grow, most recently with the addition of the EMRA EKG Guide, which has been extremely well-received. We’ve got a pipeline of other new product launches coming in 2018, including the new EMRA.org, which will be mobile-responsive, will feature easy-to-navigate digital versions of our prior PDF publications, will allow EMRA members to automatically join or leave committees and divisions as their interests evolve, and will recognize and remember you each time you visit the site (when you’re logged in).
EMRA Match, our award-winning, collaborative, crowd-sourced, filterable residency directory, will soon be joined by EMRA Match for Clerkships. Students will be able to easily discover which clerkships are on VSAS, which sites offer subspecialty rotations or diversity externship scholarships, which rotations require Step/COMLEX, whether a car is recommended, if there is on-site housing, and more.
Finally, as many have noticed, with the upgrade to Apple iOS 11, several of your favorite EMRA mobile apps are no longer available. But don’t worry, we’ve created a Mobile App Task Force to evaluate opportunities and develop a plan for how to best deliver mobile-friendly educational content and bedside tools to our members. I’m looking forward to the plan from EMRA Director of Technology Nick Salerno, MD, and his task force.
Advocating for Physicians-in-Training
My favorite part of being EMRA President is having the opportunity to serve as the voice of the largest group of EM physicians-in-training in the world.
In the past year, under the leadership of Eric McDonald, MD, Resident Representative on the ACGME Review Committee for Emergency Medicine, and Scott Pasichow, MD, MPH, EMRA Speaker, EMRA has been able to defend the ACGME’s intentionally broad definition of scholarly activity. There have been recent attempts by research directors to push to standardize scholarly activity with hopes that all EM residents will complete IRB-approved research published in peer-reviewed journals. But existing data demonstrated that the 33% of programs that currently require research are no better at producing pipelines of researchers or academicians, compared with programs that don’t, and there’s no evidence to support that residents must perform their own research to be competent at interpreting literature and practicing evidence-based medicine.
EMRA has been a vocal advocate for our student members regarding the new AAMC Standardized Video Interview. We know that over-application to residency programs is a problem, with students applying to 50% more programs over the past 5 years, and that the only way programs can deal with this influx of applications is to use screening filters. The SVI attempts to provide an objective way for programs to identify applicants with outstanding or deficient professionalism and interpersonal/communication skills, and to balance these competencies against academic achievements, such as USMLE Step scores, that are currently used as filters. At the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association in November 2017, EMRA members passed a resolution within the Medical Student Section that was then emergently forwarded and passed by the full AMA House of Delegates to create national policy that supports the inclusion of medical students as equal stakeholders in any working group proposing changes to the residency application or matching process, and that would oppose the expansion of the SVI to other medical specialties until there is published data demonstrating its efficacy and utility. Data from applicant and program director surveys will be published soon; however, the limited information shared so far shows that students do not feel the SVI provided them with an opportunity to be holistically reviewed and they are not satisfied overall with this new residency screening/selection tool. While a number of additional, interesting research hypotheses have been generated, it is EMRA’s responsibility advocate on behalf of our members, and based on their feedback EMRA does not support any ongoing use or pilot of the SVI.
Finally, while EMRA alone has a powerful voice, the collective voices of EM physicians-in-training will be made even more powerful through the convening of the inaugural All EM Resident and Student Organizations Meeting at CORD’s Academic Assembly, where — for the first time ever — we will bring together leaders from EMRA, AAEM-RSA, ACOEP-RSO, SAEM-RAMS, AAMC-ORR, AMA-RFS, ACGME-RRC, and CORD’s Resident Board Member to define a collaborative list of student and resident priorities for the upcoming year.
Since being founded by a few visionary residents at a bar in Dallas in 1974, EMRA has grown into the oldest and largest independent resident organization in the world. We have grown to more than 15,000 members; half are residents, a quarter students, and a quarter are fellows and alumni.
Leading an organization of such incredible size and scope can be challenging when half of your board of directors turns over each year, but through the creation of a Big Data Task Force, led by Director of Membership Shehni Nadeem, MD, we will develop business intelligence dashboards and data analytics tools that will allow our leaders to see at a glance the progress we’re making toward the goals set forth in our strategic plan — and this, in turns, will ensure we’re delivering the best possible experience for you, our member.