[sidebar]ILLUSTRATION/PAUL JUESTRICH; PHOTOs shutterstock.com[/sidebar]
Between regulatory burdens of health care reform, the quality movement, and ICD-10—on top of increasingly busy emergency departments—it can be tough to look beyond the next patient and the end of this shift to think of the growth and future of the specialty. And that’s where the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) steps in.
EMF is dedicated to ensuring emergency medicine’s bright future through its grants and awards programs, which support both the career development of emergency medicine researchers and innovative research that ultimately improves the care that patients receive in the emergency department.
There are many ways that ACEP members contribute their time and money to the EMF, and one is through joining the Wiegenstein Legacy Society. Named in honor of John Wiegenstein, MD, one of ACEP’s founders, the Society recognizes individuals and their families who include the EMF in their estate plans.
Recently, Wiegenstein Society member and EMF Board member John Proctor, MD, MBA, FACEP, sat down with the Chair of the EMF Board of Trustees, Vidor E. Friedman, MD, FACEP, to discuss the work the EMF is doing for emergency medicine and why he chose to include the Foundation in his will. Here are some highlights from their conversation.
Visit Emergency Medicine Foundation to learn more about the Foundation’s activities and how you can get involved.
VF: Tell us about your service to the EMF.
JP: I’ve served the EMF Board for about five years, and I’m currently in my second year as Secretary Treasurer. It’s been an honor to serve the EMF Board. I’ve certainly gotten more from that experience than I’ve provided back to EMF.
VF: We appreciate your service. You’ve done a great job. How long have you been at TeamHealth, and what is your role there?
JP: I began my career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where I served as director of emergency department operations under Dr. Corey Slovis. I joined TeamHealth in 1996, serving as emergency department medical director for an urban emergency department in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve served as a regional medical director for over a decade, and my current position is president of TeamHealth, Emergency Medicine Central Group.
VF: Why did you decide to join the Wiegenstein Society at this time in your life?
JP: It’s something I considered doing a number of years back. I honestly procrastinated and then got around to it. The crux of the decision is that I’m simply giving something back to my specialty, emergency medicine, that gives so much to me. Most important, emergency medicine provides me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and in my community. It makes perfect sense that I plan a contribution to the EMF upon my death.
VF: It’s wonderful that you’ve done this, John. In my own case, I knew John Wiegenstein, and it seems appropriate that we do something in his honor. What is it about the work and the mission of the EMF that resonates with you in a way that you wanted to make this request in your estate planning?
JP: I’m a fan of the EMRAP [Emergency Medicine: Reviews and Perspectives podcast] series. (I have no financial interest in EMRAP.) In EMRAP, they have a regular paper chase and other segments that emphasize the lack of hard medical evidence to support many of our management treatment decisions in the emergency department in the course of a shift. EMF’s financial strength is growing by leaps and bounds, as you well know as a leader in EMF. Its growing financial strength positions it to fund research making important impacts on evidence-based emergency medicine practice and quality going forward in the near term and the far term. I encourage every emergency physician to join you and me and other Wiegenstein Society members in the inclusion of the EMF in estate planning.
“Most important, emergency medicine provides me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and in my community. It makes perfect sense that I plan a contribution to the EMF upon my death.” —Dr. John Proctor
VF: We’ve built an endowment over the last few years, and you’ve been instrumental in that. As we start to have some return from the legacy society, can you think of some topics or items of research or education that you think might be appropriate for these funds to be used for?
JP: Early in my career as an academic emergency physician, I was involved in some limited clinical research, but I want to point out I am not a researcher. The areas that I have seen EMF already begin funding are around what quality really means in emergency medicine. Operational efficiency and patient experience of care—what do those really mean to the quality of care that we provide? Where is that right balance between pure quality, as we view it and believe it to be, and those other measures that outside organizations label as quality? There’s a ton of work that can be done in those areas.
VF: What are one or two big takeaways from your time on the EMF Board?
JP: First, early on as a Board member of EMF, I was surprised to see the amount of research that had been performed. I felt like we weren’t broadcasting the work that we were doing well enough. The addition of Tanya Downing as our Director of Foundation Development has made big improvements in how public we are about the work that’s being accomplished. The second thing that I learned is that there’s a significant difference between “purist” research and research around the topics that I mentioned before, like research around workforce and other topics that matter in the operational world of emergency medicine. EMF is positioned to strike as close as possible to the perfect balance between funding both of those.
VF: I think you are right. It’s really important that we do both quantitative research, that bench research we need to do that proves things, but also the qualitative research to explore how emergency medicine interacts with patients, patient flow, and dynamics of the department. That whole qualitative aspect makes our lives and our patients’ lives better. If you were going to tell ACEP members one thing that they may not know or understand about EMF, what would it be?
JP: EMF is an organization that serves the practicing emergency physician. I’m confident that the mission and goals of EMF are to fund research that really matters and makes a difference in the quality that we’re able to provide and the means and methods by which we derive that quality.
VF: John, once again, we really appreciate your service on the Board of Trustees, and we’re very grateful for your joining the Wiegenstein Society and making a request in your estate. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today.
JP: Thank you. It’s an honor to be able to serve.
Donate a Brick and Be Immortal
Leave your mark on the specialty forever with a donation to the EMF Plaza at ACEP’s new headquarters (set to open in 2016). These personalized pavers could show your commitment to emergency medicine, recognize a mentor, or honor a colleague in memoriam.
Visit Emergency Medicine Foundation for sizes and pricing.