On June 9, 2015, Steven J. Stack, MD, FACEP, will make history as the first emergency physician to be named President of the American Medical Association (AMA). He will be sworn in for his one-year term as the 107th President of the AMA at the association’s annual meeting. Dr. Stack recently spoke with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, about the challenges of serving as the second-youngest AMA President. He also commented on efforts to repeal use of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula to determine physician payments via bill H.R.2, which had just been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives at the time of this interview.
Here we present part one of the conversation. Part two appeared in the June issue.
Dr. Kevin Klauer: You’ve spent the last year as President-Elect of the AMA. How do feel about the year ahead?
Dr. Steven Stack: It’s obviously a great privilege and honor in any sense to be able to serve in that role. It’s also really cool to be able to be the first emergency physician to have ever had that position. This is something of a complete cycle for our specialty since our journey toward the formal political process of recognition began on the floor of the AMA House of Delegates. John Wiegenstein, MD, and others had to fight very, very hard in that venue to persuade a dismissive and unconvinced medical profession that there was a need and a value for the specialty that you and I clearly know there’s a value and a need for. It’s really neat to close that circle. Just for your information—because I know this more clearly than I did before—at the age of 43, I will be the youngest president of the AMA since 1854, and I will be the second youngest of the 170 presidents. The youngest was Dr. Charles Pope in 1854. He was 36 years old. So to paraphrase whoever singer that was—Vanilla Ice?—“can’t touch that,” but it will be pretty cool to be so young in over 160 years of that position.