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Wellness Section Newsletter - June 2008, Vol 12, #3

Wellness Section

circle_arrow Balancing Wellness demands—career wellness vs. personal wellness
circle_arrow Excerpts from the We Being Committee Report, presented to the October 2007 meeting of the ACEP Board of Directors
circle_arrow Letter from the Wellness Section Chair - May 2008
circle_arrow A Superior Scheduling Method
circle_arrow Searching for Insights into the Emergency Medical Marriage
circle_arrow In Blacksburg, An ER Physician Still Tries to Heal
circle_arrow "Wellness is a verb"
circle_arrow Evaluate Your Diet

Newsletter Index

Wellness Section




Balancing Wellness demands—career wellness vs. personal wellness

Vicken Y. Totten MD, FACEP
Letter from the Editor

My career is a major source of my identity. I don’t just DO medicine, I AM a doctor. Getting ahead in my career matters to me. The pressure isn’t just from outside – it is more from the inside. Unfortunately, keeping my career healthy seems to sometimes keep me from keeping myself healthy! A recent ACEP survey identified "balance" as a major concern for many members. Apparently I am not the only one who worries about the balance between personal and professional life.

Some of us are young and trying to grow a family. Working at all sorts of hours makes it hard to "be there" for our children. Families with two EPs have double the chaotic schedules to deal with. When your children are young and vulnerable is often just the same time your career is young and vulnerable. You want your kids along when you travel – you can share some of what you do that way. Others of us have vulnerable elder family members who remain curious and interested in what we, their children are doing. Through the combined work of AAWEP and Wellness, a family place at Scientific Assembly has become a reality! Please see the Chair’s letter for details.

As we get older, some of the demands of the profession become harder. Having a little trouble with your memory? Has arthritis interfered with your manual strength? Is it harder than ever to see #6 suture? How about with bifocals? Or Trifocals? How do you angle your head to look in an ear or through a vaginal speculum when your glasses only want you to look down for close-ups? It may be harder, but those over 55 also have a wealth of experience that shouldn’t go to waste. ACEP understands that physicians over 55 are valuable to the profession. The College randomly surveyed 1000 members over the age of 55 and found that these members wanted education on retirement-related issues, wanted ACEP to advocate for senior members by promoting policies that address problems of shift work and work load for older physicians and wanted ACEP to conduct additional surveys / studies on the topic of the aging emergency physician.

This Section and the Well-being Committee have also addressed some of the concerns of older EPs. The Annotated Bibliography for Physicians in Pre-Retirement Years is available on the Wellbeing Webpage; as is Information On Health Screenings For The Aging Emergency Physician and a List Of Resources For Emergency Physician In The Pre-Retirement Years. We are sponsoring a survey that should be ready by Scientific Assembly 2008 to further identify those characteristics that lead to career longevity in three domains: physician’s personal characteristics, shift characteristics and workplace attributes. We hope that when the survey is posted, you will participate!

Do you have wellness concerns? What would you like your section to work on? Please write to us and tell us. Address your letters to the editor to 

Finally, please enjoy this issue!




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Excerpts from the We Being Committee Report, presented to the October 2007 meeting of the ACEP Board of Directors

Mitchell B. Cordover, MD, FACEP
Chair, Well Being Committee

This Board really gets it! They understand the importance of physician wellbeing to the future of the specialty and to the members of the College. They were very enthusiastic about finding opportunities to serve emergency doctors "where they live and work."

Wellness impacts on the quality of patient care. A healthy, safe and rewarded physician is the sine qua non of the communication skills, professional relationships, and decision making abilities that are indispensable to this work. Even the most committed individual cannot maintain this attitude in a workplace that is capricious, or demeaning, or disrespectful of family, sleep, or personal needs.

Wellness has serious implications for the current and the future condition of the specialty itself. Physicians’ attraction into the specialty, their subsequent retention and loyalty to institutions and to the field and their tendency toward premature retirement or transition out of the Emergency Department are essential long term manpower issues. These issues in large part reflect the ability of those doctors to live a balanced and satisfying life in the context of a round-the-clock 365 day career that is stressful by nature.

Our research suggests that staying abreast of the field is a primary concern and one to which ACEP responds with a significant investment in education. Second only to this is the doctors’ concerns about balancing family and professional life.

In general, we have chosen to approach Wellness using a standard public health model. This includes:

  • Promotion (of healthful lifestyle, interactions, career design/choices, financial education and attitude),
  • Prevention (of injury, contagion, illness and burnout including circadian stress and practice environment),
  • Early Detection (of injury, stressed states, substance abuse and performance decline),
  • Intervention (into stressed states, disruptive behavior, psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, illness and burnout, including litigation stress, medical marriage, etc), and
  • Rehabilitation (from disability, substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and unhealthful states).

Questions on wellness were included in a recent national ACEP member survey. The final results are pending, put preliminary analysis indicates that the single biggest personal issue for all individuals surveyed is the balance between work and personal life.

A randomized survey of 1000 College members over the age of 55 was conducted in an effort to identify issues of concern to this population. The percentage of ACEP members over the age of 50 has increased from 28% to 31% in the past two years. The most common answers to the question "What can ACEP do to help members deal with issues regarding retirement and career longevity" fell into the following categories (in order of frequency):

  • Provide education content on retirement-related issues;
  • Advocate for senior members with policies that address problems of shift work and work load;
  • Conduct additional survey/studies on the topic of the aging emergency physician.

To immediately address some of these issues, the Well-being Committee and Wellness Section developed:

  • Annotated Bibliography for Physician in Pre-Retirement Years;
  • A list of resources for emergency physician in the pre-retirement years; and
  • Information on Health Screenings for the aging emergency physicians

Specific Board recommendations growing out of this work include convening a multi-section task force this year with the mandate to:

  • Produce an disseminating an information paper on the legal rights of physicians regarding discrimination based on age,
  • Researching the issue of cognitive and procedural decline and the feasibility of a self administered tool to monitor professional performance,
  • Design a long term strategy to address the needs of this group, with the intent to safely maximize the utility of our most experienced physicians.

This year, ACEP submitted questions pertaining to physician wellness and disability to be included in the American Board of Emergency Medicine’s (ABEM) longitudinal study. The issue of impairment and being able to sit for the recertification exam was also addressed with ABEM and the Federation of State Medical Licensing Boards. We were assured that provisions are made for the physician in recovery to take the recertification exam.




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Letter from the Wellness Section Chair - May 2008

Julia M. Huber, MD, FACEP

Early summer greetings! I hope this time of year over by you is filled with enough sunlight to treat the SAD many of us have. Around here in Kentucky we fondly refer to this as "trauma season," as the locals enjoy riding on ATV’s "sans" helmet and "avec" booze on board.

As for wellness, here is a brief update: Dr. Vicken Totten’s grant proposal for sending out a survey to analyze characteristics of experienced emergency physicians is still in the pending stage with ACEP. We will keep you posted as soon as we hear whether it has been funded or not. Unfortunately, Dr. Shay Bintliff’s proposal for distributing whistles to "blow the whistle" on violence was not accepted, but the letter from ACEP encouraged her to reapply next year, as there was a phenomenal amount of competition this year.

Many thanks to those of you who responded to the needs assessment survey regarding a potential Parents with Infants Lounge. After I assessed multiple other physician colleges and noted that the vast majority have such a location at their conventions, after checking with the McCormick convention center representatives in Chicago, and after completing the needs assessment, I forwarded a request to ACEP in February. Not only will there be a place for a caretaker to care for an infant, there will be an entire room set aside for this location! This is much more than I had originally requested, which was that the first aid station be designated as such.

These all seem like such baby steps, perhaps just a little token, but I think these steps are still significant because this type of a room, coupled with the meditation room that Dr. Cordover secured last year with the help of ACEP’s Marilyn Bromley, sends an overall message of wellness to the general membership.

I can’t say how much I appreciate all of the help from the ACEP support staff! These are the "She’ll answer people," as I think of them: Marilyn Bromley, Julie Dill, Stephanie Wauson, and Susan Morris. They have gone to great pains to respond to members’ requests. It has been a true privilege to interact with such dedicated and supportive people. I would also like to thank Dr. Kathy Hall-Boyer , the AAWEP section chair, for her idea of conducting a survey and for backing me up on it.

Please be thinking of other ways that each one of you can contribute to an atmosphere of wellness. Several members had suggestions at our meeting last year regarding leading walks near the convention/hotel area at the end of lecture time each day, and there has also been talk about using the meditation room for yoga sessions. If you can assist me in suggesting and following through with these types of activities up for SA, I will relay our requests and availability to ACEP to see if that is a realistic goal for this year or not.

I would also like to encourage each one of you to do something, anything, however small at your workplaces to encourage wellness. In lieu of donuts, bring in fresh fruit; encourage staff to quit smoking; compliment the nurses on a job well done. Remember, we’re all in this together!





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A Superior Scheduling Method

Mitchell B. Cordover, MD, FACEP
Chair, Wellness Committee

"The schedule" is a perennial source of complaints among emergency physicians and can be a real threat to physician morale, and consequently to wellness. But the sleep disruption and inconvenience of having to cover 24 hours per day, 7 days a week is not the sole problem. The way the schedule is produced can contribute to resentment. A poorly devised scheduling method can be a divisive force among the doctors, when they ironically work in an environment where small group cohesion and team cooperation is essential to maintaining a sense of well-being. A good method should provide a sense of control, improve group interdependence and enhance the individual’s sense of responsibility to fill the shifts.

Prerequisites of a good system:
Having a reasonable scheduling process has certain prerequisites. There has to be enough doctors to put on the schedule so the emergency medical staff is not pressured into working more shifts than they can tolerate, or into making shift changes that are unhealthful. Under the right circumstances, that may mean a stable of regular part timers. It also takes a firm commitment to good circadian principles on the part of the people making the schedule, and even more so if those people are the doctors themselves. Emergency doctors are every bit as tempted to sacrifice anchor sleep and do switchback shifts as medical directors and schedulers are to ask them to do it. Lastly, because the best alternatives are inevitably somewhat democratic, these systems will need a group that is willing to engage in the process.

The advantage of a template:
Even in the hands of a very experienced scheduler, having to create a new schedule every month is daunting. One has to take into account how many shifts each person wants, how many they want to do in a row, which days each doctor regularly can or can’t work, then figure in all of the special requests in some priority order. Maintaining an eye for circadian rules and trying to insure the docs get adequate rest after runs of shifts often takes a back seat.

The scheduler is often the target of resentment when the doctors can’t get their requests fulfilled. The problem is made worse because the staff must make plans without regard to the schedule, since they have no way to know what it will look like. Worst of all, the schedule seems to be imposed on the doctors rather than arising up from them. The sense of loss of control is an important ingredient in work stress.

On the other hand, the ED medical staff can develop a template that takes all these factors into account. Since it is crafted once, it can take good physiological principle into account. Likewise, the doctors can plan vacations, family events, and projects well ahead of time to minimize conflict with the template. We’ll discuss special events later.

In an ideal example, the doctors themselves inform the template maker what their needs are. This is usually the medical director, but sometimes a volunteer doctor or an administrative person. This process is pretty simple and boils down to very few questions. How many total shifts? How many in a row? Are there special recurrent needs (eg, every second Wednesday, I teach EMT’s from 2-4 pm)? Do you work one shift (eg, night shift or late-swing shift workers)? A proposed template comes out and is refined by suggestions, objections and negotiations. The medical director is there to insure, in part, that biological needs are not ignored. You adapt a template and revisit it after a few months of trying it out. Everybody has made some compromise for the group or for their mates, everybody recognizes the reality that you need to fill the shifts and there is nobody else to do it. Your baseline needs are in the mix. There is no one to resent.

What about CME courses and kid’s soccer games? Of course, you will never be able to live by a template cast in stone. In this ideal system, the doctors put in requests if they need a templated shift off and that month’s template is distributed with the empty shifts in it. At a monthly staff meeting, you go over the schedule and the docs fill in the shifts. If no one will fill the shift, the original person owns it. But the process provides an essential opportunity for team sentiment: trading favors. It is hardly surprising that the doctors will volunteer to fill the empty shifts, since they will soon enough depend on the reciprocal good will of their partners.

Moreover, nothing about this precludes the common practice of "emergency" shift trades. On the contrary, it makes them it more likely to succeed, since exchanging favors is now a predictable part of the system. Except in the most extreme cases, what you want to avoid is handing the need to drop a shift over to some third party who is outside the circle of exchanges and who then imposes an inconvenient change onto a doctor who can’t foresee any return of the favor.

This process is not entirely mercenary. Trading favors makes people into work-friends, attaches them to the practice and allows them to face the need to fill the shifts first hand. You don’t have to beg the doctors to try to understand some distant scheduler’s dilemma. They own the schedule.

Can good circadian rules be broken in the switching process? Yes, but less than if you have to reinvent the schedule every month. Less still if the staff takes what they know about it into account at the meeting.

Can a disengaged, resentful or self-serving staff make this system unworkable? Of course! Everybody can just refuse to take any of the empty shifts, although that is awkward if the person requesting time off is right there. Or they can request an unreasonable number of their templated shifts off, although their partners will have to pick up the slack. They can fail to show up for the meeting, but at the risk of being put into shifts they might not have volunteered for. In fact, there are any number of ways to sabotage the system. However, this iteration of the template system gives the doctors such a balanced degree of predictability and flexibility that there seems little motivation to do so.

In the past there has been resistance to the use of template schedules because it was commonly held that they were too ridged. In fact, it is it this vaunted idea of flexibility and prerogative that has kept many emergency physicians locked into a system of scheduling that is often uncomfortable and unhealthy. This version of a negotiated monthly template neatly answers the flexibility objection in a way that may help inject better circadian practices into our lives.



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Searching for Insights into the Emergency Medical Marriage

Brad Peckler, MD, FACEP

Introduction by Mitchell B. Cordover, MD, FACEP; Chair, ACEP Well being Committee

This is an invitation to contribute to the science that must come to stand behind good wellness advice and practice. Emergency Physicians married to other doctors are a special sub-group, and those married to other Emergency doctors even more so. Understanding our relationships within duel-professional marriages is important and could provide insights which reach far beyond this unique set of our colleagues. If you are in a "Medical marriage" please contribute to this study by taking a few minutes to answer the simple check-box questions through the hyperlink below. The College is very enthusiastic about the expanding role of research in the area of wellness, but we can only claim to be a science if you take the time to provide us with the facts.

I’ve often said that marriage and medicine are the two most challenging things I’ve ever done. Both endeavors have also earned the distinction of being the most rewarding. And we do them at the same time. So do many other emergency medicine residents and practicing physicians. We come home to our partners, who have often weathered similar emotional and intellectual challenges during their shift or their day at the office. Then, we attempt to slide into our roles as husband, wife or partner, confidante and support system. None of us would begrudge our partner the request for affection, time, or encouragement. But we also realize that sometimes it is a Herculean task to provide them.

Although much insight has been gained into medical marriages, emergency medicine is a relatively new specialty, and dedicated research has yet to be published to examine issues within the Emergency Medicine marriage. Other specialties have identified differences in gender, income, and willingness to relocate, among other common characteristics within the medical marriage.

Our goal is to elucidate some of the unique challenges within a dual physician relationship containing at least one emergency physician. We believe this could be used to develop a body of useful recommendations and practices. At the very least, we hope our research will give us a sense of camaraderie with other physicians carrying similar joys and obligations. Beyond the data collection, we would like to form a network of physician couples from which we can all gain additional insight and fellowship within the community of emergency medicine. The possibility of a longitudinal study is also appealing and could easily grow out of such connections.

The initial data collection will take place via an online survey. Please take approximately 5 minutes to help with this important work by linking to: If you think you might be interested in becoming part of an informal physician couple community, please complete the survey and email us width your contact information at We welcome any feedback regarding the survey, additional suggestions, or any other relationship wellness and medical marriage pearls.

As the specialty of emergency medicine continues to thrive, we will continue discovering ways in which we, too, can thrive as individuals, both within and beyond the context of our committed relationships. We thank you for your gift of precious time to help us to enrich the lives of all emergency medicine physicians.




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In Blacksburg, An ER Physician Still Tries to Heal

By Holly M. Wheeling
Special to The Washington Post

Wednesday, April 16, 2008; C01 Reprinted by permission.

Forceful winds whipped down from the Appalachian Mountains on the evening of April 15, 2007, gusts lashing through Blacksburg. I slept poorly. The wailing winds unsettled me.

The next morning launched a seemingly normal day in the emergency room at Montgomery Regional Hospital, where I am an emergency physician. I had downed a much- needed cup of coffee and completed a few patient evaluations when suddenly the radio crackled with a strange and uncharacteristic call to the rescue squad at Virginia Tech. Someone was injured. There were vague reports of blood near a dorm room, a student who did not answer the door, who might have fallen off her loft bed, who might be lying inside unconscious.

It has been a year now, and parts of what happened that awful day still keep piercing my thoughts like a splinter. I'd trained in ERs in Richmond and in Albany, N.Y., and had learned to handle the urban tide of injuries from gunshots, stabbings, falls, fistfights and motor vehicle collisions. I knew trauma.
But I could not know the trauma that would rush in that April day to fill our small-town emergency room with horror and grief. We listened to the radio in stunned silence. The rescue squad was able to enter the dorm room. They found two students, both shot. One would not live. The other would be arriving in just minutes.

We called a trauma alert so that auxiliary staff would be ready and present. An anesthesiologist and a general surgeon were on hand as that first victim arrived: a student shot in the head. We worked to protect her airway and breathing, to control the bleeding. Urgently, we transferred her to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, the nearest trauma center. But the helicopter could not transport her. The wild winds were too strong. We transferred her by ambulance instead.

Night-shift nurses were off duty at 8 a.m. but had stayed until the transfer was completed. We were shaken and tearful. We'd thought our town was safe. But here we were in the midst of a shocking emergency, with police flooding in to ask questions.

We had just settled back into a normal routine when a voice shouted over the radio: "Active shooter at Norris Hall! Active shooter at Norris Hall!"

We launched our disaster plan. The night-shift staffers who had just left heard the news and returned to the hospital. Thankfully, three general surgeons, two anesthesiologists, two orthopedists and our ENT surgeons all quickly arrived to assist, as well as additional emergency physicians and other medical personnel.

Most of the students had been shot several times; others were injured while fleeing out the windows. After triage at the scene, they began arriving at Montgomery Regional -- 17 in all. The ER was jammed and frantic, everyone focused on saving lives.

The students were remarkable -- in shock but still able to talk to us, to answer questions. Their eyes were dilated in fear; primal flight-or-fight adrenaline still surged through them. And yet there was a spirit of almost calm cooperation among them, even amid the chaos and pain.

Time passed quickly. We did our job. We care for the sick and injured. But we do not often see gunshot wounds or stab wounds, not here in Blacksburg, where I'd moved two years earlier. A colleague working alongside me begged me to wake him up from this horrible drill.

It felt almost dreamlike. There could not have been this many injured. Even working in areas with high homicide rates, I did not see this volume of trauma in such a short burst of time. So many healthy young adults shot in the chest, abdomen, head and extremities. Bullets penetrated their strong bodies, shattering organs, bones and vessels in their path. One student was so injured she could not speak; her jaw was shattered and blood pooled in her mouth.

I tried to encourage the staff, particularly the younger nurses. The tears I struggled to hold back sneaked down their cheeks as they cared for the injured.

Finally, things slowed down as some victims were diverted to nearby hospitals. We were relieved and went to grab a bite to eat in the break room. Many local businesses had sent food to us. We turned on the news and realized just how many had died. The number of victims continued to rise steadily as we stared at the television, transfixed.

I needed to talk to my family again. I wanted to talk to my son, the last one to make it home from school.
Relief washed over me when I heard his high-pitched "Hi, Mommy!" over the phone. Knowing my own brood of four young children was safe and sound with my husband gave me a sliver of peace. It was what I needed to finish the rest of this shift.

The worst of it had passed almost blindingly fast, in a little over an hour. I was left with a series of searing images imprinted in my mind, loosely connected by a thread of disbelief.

Fatigue hit when I arrived home. My own adrenaline was depleted, but I could not sleep. I kept seeing their eyes. I struggled to comprehend.

My husband turned on a fan to drown out the noise of those awful winds, which now seemed ominous and menacing. Again, I slept only fitfully.

The following day, I worked a night shift. It did not occur to me to change my schedule. The day after that, my infant son was sick, pulling me back to reality. He was wheezing loudly, so I took him for treatments to ease his breathing. I felt guilty for waiting to get him evaluated. Was I too caught up in my own grief to notice my son's plight sooner? But he rapidly improved and was back to his cheery self.

A good friend called to ask how I held up, how the hospital held up. At least I have that comfort: We did all we could. That was of some solace. Cards poured in from emergency departments all over the country.
Most simply said thanks for being there.

It felt strange for us to be thanked and publicly recognized for just doing our job the best we could, as we try to do on a smaller scale every shift we work.

I opened an e-mail from a friend with three simple words: "Are you O.K.?" And I really didn't know. Even for a fairly seasoned veteran of the emergency department, I had been really shaken up.

I had nightmares, rerunning the scene in my head, seeing the wounded students. I kept seeing their eyes, dilated with fear. Submerged in the drone of daily life, the images resurfaced at night -- and continued for months. So did the grief.
I recently walked into the trauma room to assist with a very young infant who had been shaken, allegedly abused, and I felt such a physical reaction of shock and grief that I came close to vomiting. I saw his tiny body lying on the stretcher and I desperately wanted to take him home and protect him. It is the same grief sensation I still feel when I think about the shootings.

Those of us who work in emergency rooms must be able to function and make objective decisions even in the most horrific cases. We must strive to create order out of chaos. We have to be able to call out the right medicine, the right amount of fluid, the right size tube to assist breathing as we resuscitate young and old alike. We have to stay distanced and process the relevant details so we can best treat the patients, give them the best outcome.

I know a part of me has changed, though. I have become more prone to expect that something violent has happened.

Shortly after the shootings, a man arrived at the ER gasping for breath, his arms draped around a fellow police officer. I ran to grab gloves to assist him to the trauma room, jumping to the conclusion that he was injured, possibly shot. But he was short of breath from pneumonia and exhausted from all the long hours spent working in the aftermath of the massacre. I had overreacted.

The fear lives with me. I even have to admit that I almost dread the strong winter and spring winds now. Though I know they are not inherently evil, I find them disquieting. I worry they could unsettle disturbing thoughts in people's minds, that they may herald the breakdown of a human mind and the fallout that results.

I chose not to talk to the crisis counselors, although maybe I should have. I felt I had to stay strong. I continued to work hard and take care of my family, not taking time to sort out my own reaction for months to come.

I don't think I have post-traumatic stress disorder, though sometimes I feel caught between survivor's guilt and the constant fear of being stuck down by disease or violence.

And so I struggle to come to terms with the random unfairness of living. Through my dealings with people as they face illness and their own mortality, I must, to some extent, face mine.

Moments of joy carry me on: Seeing the peaceful expression on my infant son's face as he nurses himself to sleep. Watching my toddler spontaneously dance to music that touches her. Seeing my feisty, curly-headed daughter master a new skill in gymnastics. Watching my shy older son learn to read his favorite book about airplanes.

On a windless day that promised the return of the warmth of spring, my husband and I walked my baby boy, now an energetic toddler, down a mountain trail. I watched him delight in the simple pleasure of running, of throwing pebbles, of dipping his hands in a cold mountain stream, and I couldn't help thinking we should all be like him, innocently unaware of the evils that may befall us.



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"Wellness is a verb"

Sheryl L. Heron, MD, MPH, FACEP
Chair – Wellness & Well-Being Committee
Department of Emergency Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine

"Wellness is a verb." That is the motto of the Wellness and Well-Being Committee of Emory University. (the Committee) The Committee was started in 2003 in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. The goal of the Committee is to improve the wellness and well being of faculty, residents, and staff within the Department. The Committee is comprised of faculty, residents, associate providers and staff within the Department.

The overarching Committee objectives are to:

  • Address Faculty, Resident, and Staff morale and well-being.
  • Provide consistent social events for faculty and their family to promote camaraderie and a sense of inclusiveness.
  • Discuss, review and provide resources for deleterious behavior among faculty, residents and staff such as about substance abuse.
  • Promote wellness within the community through outreach, charity contributions and education.

The Committee, which is an official standing Committee within the Department of Emergency Medicine, meets every other month, has agenda items, and serves as a forum for discussion on issues that affect faculty, residents and staff. Sheryl Heron, MD, MPH, chairs the Committee and oversees the meetings, ensures dissemination of minutes, encourages educational expansion, and serves as a liaison to the Faculty Staff Assistance Program’s (FSAP) Wellness Subcommittee. Dr. Kate Heilpern, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, is committed to the work of the Committee. She has allocated seed funding to the Committee in order to build on its effort to meet the aforementioned goals and objectives and has included Dr. Heron as a member of the Department’s Executive Committee.

A few accomplishments to date include:

  1. The creation and maintenance of a wellness tab on the emergency medicine intradepartmental website. The wellness tab is rich with information on "things to do in Atlanta" and includes links to numerous websites such as FSAP, Georgia state parks, and enterprises that focus on sustainability initiatives. This is in line with the University’s dedication to sustainability and our Department’s alignment with this concept.
  2. The creation of a sustainability statement within the Department which reads "The Emory Department of Emergency Medicine supports the Emory University Environmental Mission Statement and its initiatives on recycling, conservation and alternative transportation. The Department’s Wellness and Well Being Committee will lead the departmental implementation plan for environmental policy and promote and participate in Emory University-sponsored environmental stewardship programs." From this, we have included recycling bins in our office space and encourage adherence to our sustainability policy.
  3. The creation of a Faculty Wellness and Well-being Survey which will be used to examine issues that affect faculty wellness and morale.
  4. The inclusion of FSAP on a consistent basis in faculty meetings to discuss resources for faculty, residents and staff and
  5. The inclusion of Wellness and Well-being as a priority in our recruitment and orientation efforts of faculty, residents and staff.

Indeed, the Department of Emergency Medicine has taken the lead on issues of Wellness and Well-being within the School of Medicine, continues to expand in their efforts and hopes to include scholarly activity as outcome measures of their work. Wellness is indeed a verb. It takes action, it takes collective energy and it takes commitment.




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Evaluate Your Diet

Richard M. Goldberg, MD, FACEP

Have you ever wondered how healthy your routine diet is? An easy way to find out is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s interactive website, You will be asked to enter all foods you eat on one day, as well as your age, weight, and other personal data. The program scores the overall quality of your daily diet as compared to the government’s Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid. Other information provided includes the number of calories consumed, number of calories needed to either lose or maintain weight, and percentages of dietary fat, cholesterol, vitamins, and minerals. The website can also analyze daily physical activity, providing an estimate of how many calories you burn. For best results, try entering more than just a single day’s food intake. This could be your first step to a healthier lifestyle!




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This publication is designed to promote communication among emergency physicians of a basic informational nature only. While ACEP provides the support necessary for these newsletters to be produced, the content is provided by volunteers and is in no way an official ACEP communication. ACEP makes no representations as to the content of this newsletter and does not necessarily endorse the specific content or positions contained therein. ACEP does not purport to provide medical, legal, business, or any other professional guidance in this publication. If expert assistance is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. ACEP expressly disclaims all liability in respect to the content, positions, or actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this newsletter.

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