How does one know when it’s time to step down from a position that has meant so much—particularly when you are so passionate about a cause such as emergency medicine?
For Mary Ann Reinhart, Ph.D., who is retiring as the American Board of Emergency Medicine’s (ABEM) executive director effective April 1, 2010, the answer is surprisingly simple.
“I truly believe that I’ve given ABEM the best I can give it, and no one should stay on longer than that,” she said. “I’ve accomplished the goals I set for myself, and I’m happy with what I’ve done. It’s time for me to build new goals and take on new challenges and new ways to have fun.”
Having fun is a common thread that Dr. Reinhart has woven throughout her every initiative during her 10 years as ABEM’s executive director and her previous 5 years as its deputy executive director—and it’s a powerful way to motivate busy emergency physicians to volunteer their time for ABEM.
“I believe there are two keys to that success,” Dr. Reinhart said. “First, make certain that they have challenging, rewarding work in which they have an interest, and help them achieve lots of success in that. And second, treat them warmly, respectfully, and help them have a good time.”
Dr. Reinhart deserves far more credit, said Dr. Brooks Bock, chief executive officer of Colorado Mountain Medical in Vail, Colo., and a past ABEM president.
“The entire ABEM board is a volunteer group, and I think it’s Mary Ann’s commitment to excellence, her hard work, and her genuine passion for emergency medicine that cause people to step up their own work product and really give a significant effort,” Dr. Bock said.
A Passion for Education
Perhaps Dr. Reinhart’s greatest passion is the development of standards and the ongoing education and evaluation of emergency physicians.
“I firmly believe that board certification and physician self regulation are critical to a well-functioning health care system,” she said. “I’ve always believed in education and training. While I realize that many exceptional people can come to talent and skill in an area through their own resources, I also believe that all of us can do better if we have experts teaching us and marking our progress along the way.”
The board and Dr. Reinhart led ABEM as it accomplished a number of important changes during the past decade.