KK: So you were board certified as a surgeon?
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 01 – January 2018
JR: Correct. Yes, board certified in surgery. I was supposed to begin a surgical oncology fellowship in Illinois, and I had to call them and say, “I can’t do this. This isn’t right for me,” and so I stepped away from all of that.
KK: Well we’re glad you did, John. You said you were elected by the ACEP Council because you’re the right person for the right time. Well, we’ve come a long way in almost 50 years. Tell us why someone who trained in surgery and was board certified in surgery is the right choice to be the President of ACEP next year.
JR: I think the particular skills that our President needs, that I believe the Council recognized in me, are the ability to speak and persuade and to represent the organization, the specialty, and those that practice it. The 50th anniversary marks the end of the first 50 years. The 51st marks the beginning of the next 50. I clearly see the value and benefits of residency training and board certification that I didn’t have the honor of experiencing. Because of that, and many other reasons, I strongly support residency training and board certification in emergency medicine, and most importantly, I always strongly support and advocate for our specialty. This symbolic passing of the torch provides an opportunity to reflect on, acknowledge, and respect our past, while securing a bright future for the next 50 years for those who represent what the gold standard is today and what the future should be tomorrow.
KK: What I’m hearing in your words and what I see in you as a great leader, John, is that you have experienced, and come from, a time where emergency medicine wasn’t fully developed, and you are a legacy member of the organization that sees the future and the vision of where the specialty absolutely should go. We can’t evolve appropriately as a specialty if we do not recognize, but also embrace, our past.
JR: There were no emergency physicians, and certainly none board certified, when I was in medical school or during residency. There was no one for me to model myself after. People that came closest were the surgeons, but there was not a board-certified surgeon in my community until 1989. In Augusta, the emergency medicine program here in Georgia didn’t get started until the late 80s, and the one at Emory didn’t get started until the early 90s.
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