David Pigott, MD, RDMS, FACEP, and Kristi L. Koenig, MD, FACEP, FIFEM, were honored by ACEP in May for their outstanding efforts to communicate about the 2014 Ebola scare as well as other national public health crises. The 2015 Spokesperson of the Year Award and the Communications Lifetime Achievement Award were presented during this year’s Legislative Advocacy Conference and Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.
“These two remarkable emergency physicians have served as voices for emergency medicine and for ACEP, providing critical information to the public at a time when our country needed it most,” said ACEP President Michael J. Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP. “They continue to educate the public and engage in developing policies to help protect people against outbreaks of infectious disease and in preparing our nation to respond effectively to disasters.”
Dr. Pigott, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Alabama and an infectious disease expert, was named 2015 Spokesperson of the Year. Dr. Pigott became ACEP’s point person for talking to the news media about the recent Ebola crisis this past fall. He handled scores of media calls during the height of the Ebola scare, including with Fox Business News, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Discovery News, and the Associated Press, among others.
Dr. Pigott also spoke with dozens of reporters at ACEP’s annual conference in Chicago in October 2014. Many of them were registered at the conference and specifically went to cover two Ebola-related courses that he taught.
Dr. Pigott provided invaluable help in developing ACEP’s public messages regarding Ebola and set a gold standard for rapid-response crisis communications.
Dr. Koenig, professor of emergency medicine, director of public health preparedness, and director of the Center for Disaster Medical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, took home the 2015 Communications Lifetime Achievement Award. For more than a decade, she has served as ACEP’s expert when national crises, such as the 2001 national anthrax scares, the SARS epidemic in 2003, bird flu in 2006, and the most recent 2014 national Ebola crisis, have occurred.
In 2014, Dr. Koenig spent hours at ACEP’s national meeting in Chicago conducting interviews about biologic and chemical weapons, including anthrax. When Ebola became a significant news issue recently, Dr. Koenig offered her expertise to assist in developing ACEP’s talking points and do press interviews leading up to and during ACEP14. She conducted interviews with all the local Chicago news media, usually against the backdrop of InnovatED, and she handled press calls with news organizations, including The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and Bloomberg News.