A Decade of Section Growth

 By Dickson Cheung, MD, MBA, MPH, FACEP

It seemed like yesterday.  As I walked out of the Washington Convention Center several weeks ago, a déjà vu moment from six years earlier flooded my mind:  Chris Beach limping out onto the street on crutches due to a recent knee injury, Shari Welch’s high energy talk on ED flow, Karen Crosby leaving to catch a flight to an annual patient safety conference that always seems to coincide with Scientific Assembly.  I had the feeling then as I do now that QIPS is a very special group of people dedicated to the cause of improving quality of care.

On the corner of 7th avenue and Pike now sits a restaurant called the Daily Grill.  Six years ago, a bar used to occupy that location.  It was there that David John, David Myers, Helmut Meisl (some of the founding fathers of QIPS) and I shared a traditional “after section meeting” drink, reminiscing over the accomplishments of the past year and strategizing how we would like QIPS to develop in future years.  The only memory I have of that discussion was how we needed to bolster the quality of our newsletters.  Back then, the newsletter was one of the main benefits of being a QIPS member.  I never finished my glass of cabernet because I had to rush out to meet a friend who stopped in traffic honking her car horn. 

Two years earlier, I attended my first QIPS meeting in Washington, DC.  I brought along one of my chief residents at the time named Drew Fuller.  He later would become not only a close colleague but future QIPS Chair.  It all seemed like yesterday.

Fast forward to 2013.  Drew Fuller is author and champion of Safer Sign Out (SSO), a national initiative to improve patient handoffs. The eternal bachelor is the proud new father of a baby boy.  Chris Beach is the current chair of QIPS.  Helmut Meisl has retired to Bellingham, WA and David Myers looks amazingly the same.  QIPS has won the last six newsletter awards, published five papers, secured numerous section grants and awards and is arguably the most active, productive and important section within ACEP.  A decade ago, QIPS meetings consisted of a dozen members in a near empty room.  Last month, we had so many attendees in the penthouse suite overlooking the Seattle harbor that our annual section meeting was standing room only.  We are represented in government, industry, academics and numerous national committees as we help define the national quality agenda.  QIPS and its members have grown in stature and prominence.  We are living in an age of quality giants: Bob, Jay, Jesse, Brent, Sue, Shari much like the era of basketball greats Michael, Magic, Kareem and Larry.   The incredible numbers of talented folks on our rosters make QIPS the community it is.

It is encouraging to me that so many of you have made quality/safety your area of academic or administrative interest.  We share a brotherhood that transcends institutions.  I am particularly excited for the new generation of leaders we are helping to identify from the resident pool.  Every year, the leadership of QIPS sifts through scores of resident projects and award applications in hopes of verifying a young graduate’s calling to pursue a career in safety and quality.  May we continue to inspire one another whether we are in the beginning, middle or twilight of our careers.

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