It was my great honor to work and learn beside James Roberts, MD, FACEP, FACMT, FAAEM, CMRO, who left us too soon on July 22, 2022. Jim was my teacher, mentor, and friend for more than 20 years. I am humbled to be asked to write a few comments to memorialize Jim.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 41 – No 10 – October 2022
Jim’s list of accomplishments and accolades in our specialty is truly massive, but his personality and character are what made him such a unique and memorable human being. He was constantly curious, kind, generous, endearingly quirky, and always brimming with pride for his family. In emergency medicine, Jim carried himself with the swagger of learned experience and earned confidence without ever losing his trademark humility and empathy.
You didn’t have to spend much time with Jim to recognize that he had a heart of gold, which is what drew so many to him. Those of us who worked for JR came and stayed because we trusted him. He was relentless about providing the highest quality emergency care for the underserved and ensured his team was appropriately recognized, valued and compensated for the difficult job we performed with limited resources under challenging circumstances. On a personal level, in addition to clinical excellence, he consistently stressed the most important outside-of-work-priorities for his team and mentees: family, friends, humility, and wellness.
As a pioneer in our specialty, Jim’s jaw-dropping CV was filled with firsts. He was one of the first board-certified emergency physicians in the country, helping forge a path for a fledgling specialty of forward-thinking physicians who first recognized the clear need for the emergency physician. He pioneered and formalized the concept of EM physicians performing the many procedures we now take for granted as ‘ED procedures.’ Among countless other accomplishments he co-authored one of the premier texts of the specialty (Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care) and helped found the Emergency Medicine Residents Association. Jim trained thousands of EM physicians along with thousands more medical students, medics, nurses, advanced practice providers, and administrators.
Jim was a bedrock of clinical competency whose breadth of expertise was staggering. He spoke and wrote on countless clinical topics with a wisdom and charisma that earned him deserved icon status within our specialty. Even as Jim pulled back from practicing bedside EM in his later years, he continued to influence emergency medicine through his prolific teaching and writing. Jim’s writings helped to steer course of emergency medicine for decades.