April 2, 2020

Letter from the Chair

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Hello ACEP Disaster Section!  This is my first newsletter as Chair and I want to take the time to thank you all for the tireless work you have done, and will do for the ACEP Disaster Section.  I also, however, want to thank you for the daily dedication and effort you give at your own institution.  Emergency Medicine and healthcare in general are rapidly evolving worlds.  I want to acknowledge that what you do, matters.  We are the front lines at our workplaces, and we are required to constantly be adapting to not only our patients’ needs but also our institution’s demands.  As new dangers arise, we as Emergency Medicine physicians must not only educate ourselves on what these dangers are, but then immediately devise an approach and possible solutions.  What can I say?  I am incredibly honored to be a Chair over a group such as this. 

Last year’s Scientific Assembly was hosted in the snowy Denver, Colorado but before we had the winter weather conditions arrive, we did manage to have the first ACEP X-treme Wilderness event.  The feedback received reflected this was a very fun and valuable experience.  We are currently in the works to see if we can offer another ACEP X-treme event for next year in Dallas, Texas.  There will be more information to come, but if you think this is something you may want to serve as a Station Leader for then please either reach out to Pat Elmes, Lillian Lockwood or myself.  For those looking for opportunities to enhance their CVs for future promotion, this is functioning as an educator/leader for a national educational event. 

We will continue to work with ASPR and Dr. Richard Hunt as they develop the new Medical Response to Overwhelming No-Notice Trauma training course at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama.  In addition, we will keep the ACEP Disaster Section updated when the course gets officially posted and ready to receive participants.  Prior to this, please remember the other numerous courses that are available at CDP (Healthcare Leadership, Coalition, Pandemic Planning, etc).  If you have never been to Anniston, then make this year the year!  You will not regret it.  The training is incredibly valuable, and it is free. 

And last but not least, with the novel Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) rearing its ugly head please remember that good Disaster response involves pre-planning and thoughtful mitigative actions.  We all know that Influenza has killed more people this year than COVID-19 but unfortunately a potential or actual case of this novel virus at your institution will likely cause more panic and chaos than the entire Influenza season has caused your Emergency Department (ED).  If you have not developed a plan as to how your ED will Identify, Isolate, and Inform with possible and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients, then now is the time. 

I look forward to working with you all this year and seeing you in Dallas next Fall!

Kathy Lehman-Huskamp, MD, FACEP

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