After more than 15 years as executive director of ACEP, Dean Wilkerson, one of only three individuals to hold the position, plans to retire in 2020.
“At this point in my life, I want more of what every person wants more of—time,” he said. “After 40 years of doing important but very stressful and time-consuming jobs, I want to step away and spend more time doing things that I never seem to have enough time to do. It just seems like the right time to let some other person come in and help ACEP continue to make progress.”
Mr. Wilkerson told the ACEP Board of Directors in early 2016 that he planned to retire when his current contract ended on July 31, 2020. Because it has had time to plan, the Board has retained a search firm and established a Search Committee that includes ACEP President Vidor E. Friedman, MD, FACEP. Association Strategies (assnstrategies.com) was selected to conduct a nationwide search for ACEP’s next executive director. A position specification should be available by early October. The goal is to have the new executive director start by June 2020.
A History of Accomplishments
When Mr. Wilkerson joined ACEP in 2004, the Board was looking for him to bring new approaches to advocacy for emergency medicine and emergency physicians. One of the first things Mr. Wilkerson did was reallocate $272,000 from other areas in ACEP’s budget to public relations and media advocacy.
The first 16 months on the job saw a whirlwind of activity in which he interacted with ACEP’s national leaders and chapters. Mr. Wilkerson attended the Michigan Chapter meeting and had dinner with ACEP founders John G. Wiegenstein, MD, and John A. Rupke, MD, listening to them regale the rapt dinner party with stories of the early days of ACEP.
“I fell in love with emergency physicians and their energy and enthusiasm,” he said.
At the 2005 annual meeting in Washington, D.C., ACEP held a Rally on Capitol Hill. More than 4,000 emergency physicians, nurses, and paramedics participated in the event and it is believed to be the largest public advocacy gathering of a medical organization ever. Just months later, the first National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine was released with strong media coverage on network television, radio, and in major news publications. ACEP followed this Report Card in years to come with releases in 2009 and 2014 that helped drive ACEP’s advocacy agenda.