[sidebar]ILLUSTRATION: PAUL JUESTRICH,
At its meeting in April, the ACEP Board of Directors was advised of the slate of candidates created by the Council Nominating Committee for four available seats on the Board. Board members are elected by the ACEP Council and serve three-year terms, with a limit of two consecutive terms. ACEP Now has provided the background information and statements of the two incumbents and five new candidates for the ACEP Board positions.
James J. Augustine, MD, FACEP (Ohio)
Current Professional Positions: chair, National Clinical Governance Board, US Acute Care Solutions, Canton, Ohio; clinical professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio; vice president, Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance; executive editor, ED Management
Internships and Residency: integrated residency in emergency medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio
Medical Degree: Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio (1983)
Candidate Question Response: Emergency medicine serves as a model of team building and effective management for other elements in our health system. There’s an opportunity to bring the collective emergency medicine experience of quality improvement, emergency department performance, team building, and collaboration to the entire American health system. The College has a responsibility to the public, and to our current member physicians, to develop a model for emergency medicine practice that’s safe and fulfilling so that emergency physicians can serve a long career. It’s my opportunity to continue as a member of the Board of Directors to continue the development of the ACEP Qualified Clinical Data Registry known as CEDR, the Clinical Emergency Department Registry. Other projects will be available through this development process that will serve emergency physicians at the bedside and will offer the ability to improve the delivery of high-quality emergency care.
In my 30 years of practice, I have served in about every form of American emergency department that exists, from isolated critical-access hospitals to academic urban Level I trauma centers, and into the community through EMS. I’ve been a member of physician group practices that were academic in nature and those that are community-based. It has been a pleasure to participate in graduate medical education throughout my career. Many of my responsibilities have been in leadership positions, at The Joint Commission where I served as chair of the Hospital’s Advisory Committee, in the Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance where I have served for more than 20 years, and in the state of Ohio.
This is the time when we will develop new approaches to patient safety, quality, efficiency, and transparency. My background in data acquisition and analysis in emergency care will contribute to the ongoing decisions that the Board and the College will be making in fulfilling mandates for the American health system. This is essential for the future of our specialty.
John T. Finnell, MD, MSc, FACEP (Indiana)
Current Professional Positions: fellowship program director, Clinical Informatics; chair, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Academic Forum; member, AMIA Board of Directors; member, AMIA Education Committee; senior case examiner reviewer, item writer, and oral examiner, American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM); member, ABEM Case Development Panel
Internships and Residency: emergency medicine, UCSF Fresno
Medical Degree: University of Vermont (1991)
Candidate Question Response: We all wear many hats throughout our careers as physicians. My three hats would be emergency physician, educator, and research scientist in biomedical informatics. As an emergency physician, I’ve been practicing medicine since 1995 after graduating from UCSF Fresno as a chief resident. As an educator, I’ve found it rewarding to create and innovate within the fields of emergency medicine and, more recently, within clinical informatics. As a research scientist, I continue to explore and innovate with learners from high school to graduate programs. It is these unique attributes that will provide me with the skills to be your next ACEP Board member.
As a practicing emergency physician for more than 20 years, I will bring judgment and courage to help lead the Board. After graduating from residency, I moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, to work alongside Bob Knopp and Felix Ankel to create a new emergency medicine residency training program. I was assistant and then associate program director until moving to Indianapolis in 2002. I serve as faculty for Indiana University’s emergency medicine residency program, and I work clinically at a Level I trauma and burn facility that serves Marion County residents.
As emergency physicians, we utilize our best judgment every day. Who’s sick? Who can be safely sent home? Can I trust this learner with this patient or procedure? In the emergency department, we must have timely access to relevant clinical information on medications, allergies, prior visits and hospitalizations, diagnoses, and previous laboratory and radiology data. We must have courage to make the tough calls when the answer isn’t always obvious and when there are considerable consequences if the call is wrong.
As an educator, I will provide relevance with my expertise in informatics and mentorship to help lead the Board. An ACEP Board member needs to have relevant context to offer actionable and on-point advice. ACEP is building CEDR, the Clinical Emergency Data Registry, which will continue to require input from informaticians. My current role on AMIA’s Board of Directors would provide ACEP with access to national expertise in this area. If you desire to vote for a Board member who has “seen the movie before” and has a pretty good idea of what’s around the next few corners as the practice of medicine changes, I am that candidate.
An often undervalued role for a Board member is that of a mentor. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have great mentors who have allowed me to grow as a leader and as an educator. I’ve also been privileged to mentor a number of learners. A great mentor doesn’t tell you what needs to be done or how to do it; he or she is primarily a good listener. A great mentor asks you questions and poses challenges designed to help you see problems that you may not have identified, to look further ahead than you may be currently looking, or to encourage a different perspective. ACEP Board members should be good listeners, offering a sounding board to test your ideas and concerns.
As a research scientist, I will bring wisdom and motivation to help lead the Board. Wisdom is essential to make critical decisions and think strategically about the future. As a research scientist, I’ve led many projects and have learned many valuable lessons along the way. Scholarship, like the work of your ACEP Board, is hard work. There are many meetings, lots of homework, and times when very difficult, delicate, and challenging decisions must be made.
As your ACEP Board candidate, I will draw upon my judgment, courage, expertise, mentorship, wisdom, and motivation to help your ACEP Board navigate our future together.
Kevin M. Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP (Ohio)
Current Professional Positions: chief medical officer–emergency medicine, chief risk officer, and executive director–patient safety organization, TeamHealth; medical editor in chief, ACEP Now; member, NEMPAC Board of Trustees; member, Advisory Board, Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA); assistant clinical professor, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing
Internships and Residency: emergency medicine, Louisiana State University, Charity Hospital, New Orleans
Medical Degree: University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Science, Des Moines, Iowa (1992)
Candidate Question Response: Three skills or attributes critical to the effectiveness of a member of the ACEP Board of Directors are vision, unique knowledge, and collaborative thinking.
Jonathan Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” I believe that organizations benefit greatly from directors who have individual vision crafted by their unique professional experiences. Sharing of individual vision provides synergy to gain organizational insight and clarity in direction and mission. Vision should be rich in well-informed, relevant experience, with sufficient breadth and depth to provide historical perspectives and generate future insight.
My leadership experience with ACEP began 23 years ago and includes my most recent service as ACEP Council speaker. I have served on nine different national committees (excluding Council committees) for a total of more than 30 years of service (serving on multiple committees simultaneously), and I served as chair on five of those committees for a total of 13 years. In addition, I have served on the NEMPAC (ACEP’s political action committee) Board of Trustees for the past six years and served two terms as president of Ohio Chapter ACEP. My experience includes multiple task force appointments, including the current ACEP Diversity Task Force.
My ACEP leadership experience and duration of service, along with a diverse professional background, help to inform and guide my vision. Board members don’t think or work in isolation. Their perspectives, combined with a variety of other opinion sources, should be a catalyst to unification of thought and direction for the College.
My professional and educational background would complement the current Board well and is timely with the current challenges facing our College, our specialty, and our members. Although I have considerable experience with leadership, academics/education, and emergency department operations, I want to highlight two important unique knowledge areas for the Board of Directors: legal expertise and patient safety. My legal degree, combined with work in patient safety, provides me with unique perspectives. I have focused on risk management for more than 15 years and have published three risk-management books. In addition, I have developed and currently administer the largest clinical risk-management program in the nation. I have been the executive director of two patient safety organizations (PSOs) listed with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Thirteen of the 82 current AHRQ-approved PSOs are participating in the national common formats reporting data project, which includes both of the PSOs I have worked with. This project is designed to aggregate national data to identify opportunities to improve patient safety in the US health care delivery system. Complementing patient safety is ACEP’s work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) $3 million grant, which includes the Avoiding Unnecessary Imaging Initiative. I serve as co-chair of the initiative, as we use clinical and utilization data to inform and educate our members how to reduce imaging without sacrificing quality. These experiences led to my recent CMS appointment to the MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) Episode-Based Resource Use Measures Clinical Committee.
I have always believed that individual opinion serves the greater good by informing others of new perspectives and stimulating further thought to reach a better, more well-informed conclusion than any one individual may reach on their own. Many hands make for light work through collaborative thinking and, quite honestly, better work and outcomes. In representing you as ACEP’s representative to ABEM for CME (continuing medical education), LLSA (lifelong learning and self-assessment) and maintenance of certification (MOC) since 2010, ACEP and ABEM have collaborated to provide CME for all LLSA modules, select LLSA articles relevant to current practice, and develop performance-improvement modules to meet the Part 4 MOC requirement.
ACEP Now reflects collaboration between the ACEP staff, the executive director, John Wiley & Sons publishing house, and the ACEP Now Editorial Advisory Board to achieve our shared goals of producing a high-quality monthly publication targeting the needs of our members.
Finally, our great work together as a Council reflects perhaps the most impactful but complex example of organizational collaboration. Our deliberative body is of far greater value than the sum of its councillors and component bodies. Listening and learning from one another guides our thinking, which results in well-considered guidance for the Board of Directors.
Vision, unique knowledge, and collaborative thinking are all qualities of an effective Board member. I have vision for the College and our specialty, unique knowledge that will complement the Board’s current talents, and a collaborative approach to all that I do.
Debra G. Perina, MD, FACEP (Virginia)
Current Professional Positions: professor, regional quality director, and EMS fellowship director, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; director, Division of Prehospital Care, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Internships and Residency: emergency medicine, Richland Memorial Hospital/University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia
Medical Degree: West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown (1983)
Candidate Question Response: This is a hard question for me, as I find it difficult to be self-promoting. First and foremost, I strive to be a servant leader. I’m a humble person, preferring to let my actions and work speak for my dedication and effectiveness. A Board member should represent the interests of the membership and stand for the values of the organization. I never forget that I was elected to represent you, our members, and do this to the best of my ability at all times.
Others have described me as an innovative and creative problem-solver. I do approach issues from many angles and will not stop until a solution is found. I’m diligent and persistent until the job is done. I strive to be respectful, transparent, open, and honest in dealing with others, as I think we all would like to be treated this way. I’m dependable: If I make a commitment or say I will do something, I will follow through. I have a passion for helping others, which goes to the core of values instilled in me from an early age. Having previously served on several boards, including ABEM’s, I have a true working understanding of how a board functions. This definitely helped me hit the ground running during my first term on the ACEP Board. Having been a Board member for the past three years, I’m very familiar with the Board’s goals and direction, and I am currently intimately involved with several ongoing projects. This experience will allow me to be an even more effective and productive Board member in service to ACEP going forward.
Due to a genuine interest in helping others, I have spent my entire career building relationships. I’m an active listener, trying to learn what’s most important to others to effectively address their needs and desires. This has been especially helpful to achieve win-wins in negotiations, which also promotes collaboration. This is probably one of my greatest strengths. I tend to focus, when possible, on achieving positive results for all involved. This approach allowed me to effectively negotiate with other specialties in the House of Medicine to create the subspecialty of EMS medicine. I have put this approach to work for ACEP, networking with other organizations such as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, and helping ACEP enter into a new era of cross-organizational cooperation. I am deeply committed to doing all I can to represent you, the members, and continue to further ACEP’s mission.
Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP (Government Services)
Current Professional Positions: associate professor and associate program director, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; emergency physician, First Choice Emergency Room, San Antonio
Internships and Residency: emergency medicine, University of North Carolina
Medical Degree: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago (2004)
Candidate Question Response: My unique background, leadership experience, and skills set will make me an effective leader and Board member. As a member of the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) Board of Directors, I was hooked early in my career on organized medicine and the impact I could make on my patients and my specialty.
National ACEP has always been my true “home” as my family has moved across the country for the military. I have been honored to be a member of several different state chapters, a committee member for the Texas chapter, and president of the Government Services Chapter. Nationally, I have served the College as chair of the Young Physicians Section (YPS), chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, and subcommittee chair for the Medical-Legal Committee and have participated in numerous ACEP task forces.
The Board should reflect the clinical background and diversity of its members. I have had the opportunity to work in emergency departments in the Midwest, the East Coast, and the West Coast and am now in San Antonio. Over the past 10 years, I have primarily worked in academics, but I have also had the experience of working in a military emergency department, a community emergency department in an urban environment, a rural emergency department, a freestanding emergency department, and a small democratic group. I can represent ACEP members from all different backgrounds and work environments because I have worked in just about every type of emergency department that exists. I can guide the transition from volume-based care to high-value patient-centered care. I can use my work and life experiences to help improve coordination of care and explore different options for health care delivery.
With more than 10 years in graduate medical education (GME) leadership, I’ve led committees and teams whose objectives span across several different emergency medicine organizations. I’m a strong advocate for collaborative work and will promote the skills and strengths we bring as a team. As a national speaker for ACEP, I have learned to effectively communicate, engage my audience, and promote our message to advocate for our specialty and our patients. I will fight to preserve GME funding and support residency training.
As an engineer, I was trained to problem-solve. As an emergency physician, I have spent hours on the phone trying to get a patient’s medical records and have struggled with the inefficiency of my EMR system. My vision is to create a national information exchange. We need systems and processes that support our workflow, not disrupt them. We should be able to access discharge summaries from other hospitals and view recent CT results rather than repeat unnecessary tests, drive up costs, and prolong wait times.
I will support physicians undergoing litigation stress and fight for malpractice reform. As YPS chair and a member of the Medical-Legal Committee, I created a series of podcasts on medical malpractice issues. I created online resources and lectured at ACEP and across the country to educate physicians about preparing for depositions, understanding the lawsuit process, avoiding plaintiff attorney traps, and coping with litigation stress.
ACEP is what energizes me and gives me a sense of purpose. The College has invested so much in me, and now is the time for me to give back.
Matthew J. Watson, MD, FACEP (Georgia)
Current Professional Positions: medical director, staff physician, and customer service coordinator, Northside Hospital Forsyth, Cumming, Georgia
Internships and Residency: emergency medicine, Geisinger Medical Center
Medical Degree: Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia (1998)
Candidate Question Response: I am uniquely qualified to be an effective Board member because my entire career, every stage thus far, has been dedicated to service within and for our College.
I first joined the College as a medical student and later served as a member of the EMRA Board of Directors. I continued my involvement at the state level, serving as president of the Georgia chapter from 2011 to 2013. I have also served on several national College committees and have been active with advocacy at state and national levels. After serving as the chair of the Georgia PAC, I was selected to the NEMPAC Board of Trustees and the Emergency Medicine Action Fund (EMAF) Board of Governors.
Since completing residency, I’ve been a member of a fully democratic group. I have also been the medical director for a department that has grown from eight to 34 beds in a single hospital system with three clinical campuses and a combined census of more than 170,000 patients. The integration of a cardiac cath lab, stroke center certification, and the country’s largest OB center has provided me with leadership opportunities that have enhanced my clinical and administrative expertise. Even with these responsibilities, two-thirds of my time is still spent caring for patients. These experiences allow me to remain a practicing emergency physician and to collaborate with other services to help the emergency department grow and evolve—just as I would do for the College if elected to the Board of Directors.
Improving diversity within our specialty and the House of Medicine is an opportunity and priority for our College—and it starts with our leadership. I’m a member of the generation that has been raised by the College—from medical school to EMRA to state and national service. I represent democratic groups and independent practice. I am an ardent advocate of member involvement and leadership at every level. I am committed to defending the practice and promoting the evolution of emergency medicine.
James M. Williams, DO, MS, FACEP (Texas)
Current Professional Positions: attending emergency medicine physician and member of the Physician Quality Review Board, Covenant Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas; clinical assistant professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock; attending emergency medicine physician, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southlake, Dallas; advisor, clinical and player development, United States Lacrosse Association
Internships and Residency: general surgery, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio
Medical Degree: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (1991)
Candidate Question Response: First, I would like to thank the ACEP Council for the honor of being a candidate for the Board of Directors. Though I know most of the councillors, let me make a few introductory comments for those who may not know me. I’m a husband and a father of three sons: My oldest is attending Colgate University in New York, my middle son will attend Tufts University in Boston, and my youngest is starting eighth grade. If you’ve seen my postings on the Physician Wellness Facebook page, you know how important wellness is to me. I appreciate how Jay Kaplan and K Kay Moody have highlighted this critical issue that all of us face.
Last year during my candidacy, I mentioned my father, who was the quarterback for the University of Notre Dame’s 1949 championship football team. Even if you don’t follow Notre Dame, you may have seen the sign players tap as they head for the field. It reads, “Play Like a Champion Today.” We have a similar sign in our house for inspiration that we tap every morning going down the steps. When I was in grad school, I asked my dad if he thought there was ever a time in life when you reach a plateau—when everything is steady. He laughed and, of course, said, “Never—you always have to keep reaching and setting new goals.” That’s one of the reasons I’m seeking your vote for the ACEP Board. I want to lead emergency physicians and our specialty to overcome the challenges we are facing and achieve new goals.
My background includes serving in the US Army in Germany and Bosnia. As a major, I served as a commander, established the first EMT course for medics leading to civilian licensure, and addressed population health issues. I also served as chief of staff of our hospital and worked with physicians across specialties and non-physician groups inside and outside of the hospital. In addition, I served as president of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, the third largest chapter in the country. This role gave me valuable understanding of how ACEP and its chapters work. I’m involved in research and speak to physicians across the country including groups at national conferences such as SEMPA, ACEP, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and American Heart Association (AHA). I understand firsthand your concerns and know the issues. Brahim Ardolic of New York recently complimented me, saying that he judges how well a person will serve on the Board based on how well he campaigns. I hope you’ll see my commitment, dedication, and unique skills set that qualifies me for this role and differentiates me from other candidates.
Our president-elect, Becky Parker, is highlighting diversity this year, so I want to address what I would bring to the Board. First is generational diversity. I bridge the baby boomers and Gen Xers and therefore bring a combination of institutional memory of issues and fresh perspectives. Geographically, I am the only candidate and Board member who represents the middle two-thirds of the United States. In addition, I’ve worked in diverse settings—for example, in Maryland, where a single-payer model exists, and in Texas, where freestanding emergency departments are growing. I also bring the diversity of practice environments. For the past seven years, I’ve worked for a private independent democratic multispecialty group at a regional referral center in Lubbock, Texas, but I also am a clinical assistant professor at Texas Tech University. I bring business experience through working with corporations as an advisory board member.
How do these skills sets translate into helping you and ACEP? Let me give two examples. I’ve served on the Public Relations Committee with Steve Anderson, Ryan Stanton, and others for more than 10 years. I’ve given hundreds of interviews—TV, radio, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Women’s Health, to name a few—promoting the value of emergency medicine and advocating for you and our patients.
I’ve also been active in the state legislature in regard to tort reform. Texas is largely held as the standard as a result of our work in 2003. But make no mistake—we are constantly under attack by trial lawyers. Last year, I mentioned a case in which a New Mexico patient was treated exclusively in Texas but attempted to change the venue to New Mexico, a plaintiff-friendly venue. I was able to help form a coalition of more than 20 organizations that demonstrated how this case would impact patients’ access to care. As a result of our work in Texas, New Mexico changed its laws to help ensure patient care.
These are of some of the qualities I bring to the ACEP Board—diversity, unique service and experience, dedication, and commitment—and what differentiates me from the other candidates. I appreciate your consideration and ask for your vote so that I can continue to be an advocate for you and our patients and help ACEP “play like a champion today”!