In this Issue:
Michael Walters, MD JD FAAEM
President, GLAAEM Board of Directors
I am writing what is my last president’s message. After the Scientific Assembly in March, GLAAEM members will elect a new President and other members of the board. It has been an honor to serve as the president for the past few years. I would like to take this last message to look back at our past achievements and to look forward at the future of our chapter division.
GLAAEM has come a long way in the past few years. We started as an attempt to resurrect the Wisconsin state chapter, but grew into a regional chapter division under the advice and guidance of Brian Potts from the Chapter Division Committee. Some of the prospective member states had existing chapters and others did not. However, a group of individuals agreed on a vision to collectively represent physicians from their state and hence the Great Lakes Chapter Division was created. From the start, the chapter division included Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. If we added Nebraska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey we could have been called the Big Ten. Representatives from each member state comprise the board, and as a result there has been a wonderful sharing of ideas and issues. My one regret over the past few years is that we have not been able to secure a representative from Minnesota. I hope to finish this one task before my tenure is over. Over the years, we have seen our membership slowly grow, but we want more. This year we reduced the state membership fees. Like our national fees, the amount is a bargain when compared to other professional organizations. Additionally, we have continued to make the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine a member benefit. For our resident members, we have agreed to pay the submission fees for any article that is accepted to the journal in attempts to make the process less burdensome. Hint, we are still waiting for resident members to take us up on this offer. Finally, this year we had a voice at the Midwest Medical Student Symposium in Chicago. The opportunity allowed the chapter division to represent GLAAEM and all the residencies within our geographic boundaries. (Which is many). I am proud of what we have accomplished.
While we have come far, as I look forward I see many opportunities for our Chapter Division to bring more value to our members. The unfortunate events in Akron highlight the need for a strong national professional society and associated state chapter. We need to be a resource for emergency physicians practicing in democratic groups when their ability to practice in a fair and healthy environment is threatened. Being a large chapter division, we have the luxury of numbers and with those numbers come a plethora of ideas and experience. I see the chapter division in the future tapping into these resources more and more. We need to be a resource for residents as they begin to explore and enter the workforce. They need to be made aware of the professional opportunities and situations that await them from groups of all kinds. While AAEM as a whole does this well, GLAAEM has the opportunity to be even more vocal and involved since we are the emergency physicians “on the ground” and aware of the happenings in our member states. Finally, we need to continue to actively engage medical students and promote emergency medicine. Being invited to the Midwest Medical Student Symposium was a great start. I see our interactions with medical students growing even more. We need to teach medical students professionalism and respect for each other as they enter into our wonderful specialty. We must teach them that emergency medicine is not simply a job. I believe if we do this, then the appeal of large contract groups will lessen and the allure of democratic groups will rise. Finally, we need to be a voice for our profession and patients in the political arena. I freely admit we have not been active on this front yet, but I envision that this will develop in the coming years.
I would like to close by saying thank you to Ronny Otero and Sudhir Baliga for serving on the executive committee with me since the chapter division started. Their help has been greatly appreciated. I would also like to extend thanks to all of our board members past and present for bringing a voice to the table from our member states. Last but not least, I would like to say thank you to all the chapter division members for their support!
David Cheng, MD FAAEM
Ohio State Representative, GLAAEM Board of Directors
The beginning of the year brings optimism and opportunity. It is an opportunity to join and participate in GLAAEM, as well as form colleague friendships that last a lifetime. It is also a time of change as Obama passes the presidency baton to Trump. One of the changes in Ohio has garnered national news: the change in emergency medicine practice group at Summa Health, especially Akron City Hospital. What is unusual is the suddenness of change as well as the involvement of emergency medicine residency core faculty and residents. EMRA, ACEP, and most importantly our parent organization AAEM each issued a statement on the situation. The AAEM statement can be found here. It is very unfortunate when the business of medicine impacts our lives. We went to medical school to help take care of people and to help teach future generations of physicians not for a MBA. My prayers and regards to all those affected and displaced.
My best wishes to the readership and to all!
Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of AAEM, its chapter divisions or affiliates. These articles are intended for the individual use of AAEM members.