I was very excited to attend my first AAEM Scientific Assembly. I did not want Bob McNamera to run unopposed as that seemed contrary to our democratic principles. I endorsed George Schwartz to run against Bob. We both knew Bob would win but we wanted debate and choice. George and I expected Bob to win and I think we both wanted Bob to win. Bob is just such a great speaker. Later at the Assembly I saw Bill Durkin, Leslie Zunn, Christopher Minas, and others sitting at a table talking about the future of AAEM. I believed they were a bit taken aback that I just plopped down at their table. I wanted to join the conversation. Bill Durkin said to me, "If you really want to help AAEM, join the membership committee." I did and I may be the longest sitting committee member in AAEM. Membership committee is very necessary for an organization and it is very hard to recruit members to it because it lacks glamour and prestige. However, the membership committee is tasked with finding ways to get EM board eligible and EM board certified physicians to join and renew. Therefore it is tasked with keeping AAEM alive.
The most important task of a society or association is to define its importance and uniqueness. Every medical specialty has its own society or association dedicated to promote and protect the interests of physicians in that field. ACEP was supposed to provide this promotion and protection. It failed. AAEM took up the gauntlet. AAEM promotes and protects the interests of the board eligible and board certified emergency medicine physician. ACEP does not. It is that simple. Therefore every EM board eligible and every EM board certified physician should be a member of AAEM. So why isn't that the case? That is the task the membership committee faces.
Not every EM board eligible and board certified physician will have an engagement with advocacy or feel the need to speak out about their profession. Some will merely want a society or association for networking purposes. When it comes to prestige they may not give AAEM its due. Some may even feel that the welfare of their hospital, teaching program or medical corporation is more important than the welfare of individual physicians. And sometimes, scary enough, even more important than the welfare of their patients. Some will want only the education opportunities and be put off by the "political" stuff. Let me tell you that AAEM still wants you! (Well, maybe not if you don't care about your patients). And AAEM will still come to your aid should you find yourself being "disciplined" without due process, forced to move because of non-compete clause, or threatened with loss of livelihood should you not join a particular for-profit medical corporation. But also let AAEM help you network. Let AAEM be your source of continuing medical education. Let AAEM help you be more secure and happy in your practice of emergency medicine. And if advocacy does indeed move you, come join me in the membership committee.
LA County - USC Medical Center: residency in emergency medicine, class of 1985.
Anthony DeMond, MD FAAEM MAAEM