BH: I was lucky enough to have been in a traditional rotating internship, with one month in obstetrics, neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and so on. I say I was lucky because I think the loss of opportunities to see all these different disciplines significantly complicates the decision to choose a specialty in today’s environment. After several months working on different services, I came to the emergency department, and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the many aspects of emergency medicine that make it so attractive to all of us. Furthermore, the role models I encountered in the ED, people such as Bob Rothstein, MD, our first emergency department chair [at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California], made an even bigger impression and convinced me that this specialty was the best match for me.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 12 – December 2015
My initial impression of ABEM was when I took the oral exam; it was a remarkable examination. I was impressed with the sophistication of the examination structure as well as the logistics of its administration. It was clear to me that ABEM was focused on quality, and I wanted to learn more about the Board. I also wanted to give something back to the specialty that had served me so well. I had two great mentors who encouraged me, Howard Bessen, MD, and Bob Hockberger, MD. They are two great leaders in our field, and both served on the ABEM Board of Directors. My connection with ABEM started in earnest when I became an oral examiner. Advancing through the organization has been a professionally rewarding experience.
Where do you see ABEM heading?
BH: As medicine changes, especially in the area of physician quality reporting, ABEM needs to create a relevant, sensible way to help physicians stay current and to assure the public that emergency physicians are doing so. One attribute that I bring to ABEM is the perspective of the community physician. I’ve been clinically active at the same community hospital for 32 years. ABEM has over 32,000 diplomates, and most of them do not work in a residency program. It is important to remember the challenges that all of our diplomates face in trying to deliver the best care possible and demonstrating their continuing competency and commitment to improvement.
I see ABEM continuing its refinement as the gold standard in certification and applying best practices to every type of physician assessment. The transition from an episodic physician testing organization to one of continuous physician assessment will be ongoing. The most important goal for ABEM is to be true to our mission statement: to ensure the highest standards in the specialty of emergency medicine. I also hope that we can continue to improve our specialty so that, in addition to being the best in our field, we can always end our shifts with the feeling that we have done something useful. By listening to physicians and creating better links with the tremendous organizations supporting our specialty, I think we can achieve our mission.