November 8, 2023

Letter from the Chair


Dear Wellness Section Members,

I would like to start with a huge thank you to everyone who made it to our Section meeting at ACEP23. We have a big year ahead and look forward to getting started on several initiatives.

As we know, ACEP23 coincided with the terrorist attacks of Hamas on innocent men, women and children in Israel. Since then, a war has begun and the world seems to be turned upside down. This past month has been emotionally draining for many of us. I lie awake at night, imagining how it would feel to have my children sleeping in captivity, wondering if they’re hungry or cold, if they have bruises that need my kisses, if they are afraid; imagining how it would feel to rush my children out of our home to be shuttled away from their known existence, narrowly escaping bombs and imminent death...the innocent lives destroyed and lost on either side are devastating and tragic, and unfortunately, with no end in site.

Despite the pain and uncertainty caused by this horrific conflict, we continue to push forward. We continue to hope for positive days ahead. We continue to care for every single person who walks through our doors without hesitation, and this is our beautifully valiant contribution to the human experience. While we cannot control what is happening in many parts of the world, we can continue to fight to make our EM world a better one for ourselves, our colleagues and our patients.

To this point, I’d like to highlight the amazing achievements of the past year. First, our CWO White Paper is now published and available: The Chief Wellness Officer: A long overdue catalyst for systemic change in Emergency Medicine – congratulations to the entire team and shout out to Dr. Shabana Walia for taking the lead! Second, we had a very successful wellness week in May in collaboration with the Wellbeing Committee, complete with Peloton workouts, mindfulness tips and on shift wellness activities. Third, we have debrief badge buddies available to anyone who’d like them – ACEP Wellness Badge. And finally, another big shout out to multiple members of our team, particularly Dr.’s Rita Manfredi and Diann Krywko, for completing a fantastic, all-encompassing wellness guide – From Self to System: Being Well in Emergency Medicine.

We’ve also had the opportunity to congratulate the University of Cincinnati for winning the “Wellness Center of Excellence Award” and welcome new members of our leadership team. Dr. Diana Savitzky will be taking over as Chair-Elect and Amanda Pairitz-Campo as our community engagement manager. Welcome to these stellar new team members. We continue to be in need of a section Secretary/Newsletter Editor and five alternates. If you are at all interested, please message me via engagED or by email for more information by November 10th.

Moving forward, we want to continue to use this section as a space to engage, share and heal. As part of this goal, we are introducing quarterly wellness themes, based on the concepts delineated in the above “From Self to System Being Well in Emergency Medicine” guide. Our hope is to use these themes to share resources, questions and advice on ACEP engagED, dive into discussions at the Coffee Shop chats, guide our newsletters, and spread the word across various virtual platforms. Our first four quarterly themes are as follows:

  1. Quarter 1 (Oct-Dec 2023): How to Get Started with Wellness Initiatives
    1. Chapter: Ice Cream Socials to Improve Wellness…
  2. Quarter 2 (Jan-Mar 2024): Safety in the ED
    1. Chapter: How Safe is Safe in the Emergency Department
    2. (To coincide with LAC Meeting – April 14-16, 2024)
  3. Quarter 3 (Apr-Jun 2024): Social Media
    1. Chapter: The Pearls of Social Media – Parts 1 and 2
    2. (To coincide with ACEP Wellness Week – May 2024)
  4. Quarter 4 (Jul-Sep 2024): Shift Work
    1. Chapter: Emergency Medicine & Sleep…

Please do not hesitate to start sharing immediately.

If you note, we set Quarter 4 to focus on Shift Work, given we hope to have information from our next project to share at that time. So what is our next project? We would like to use our incredible network of members to collect qualitative data on shift work from ED physicians at various hospitals and systems across the country. We want to know in their own voices, what they like and don’t like about their scheduling systems, what impact it has on their sense of autonomy, time with family and friends, flexibility, sleep and beyond. What works and what doesn’t work, in the simplest terms. Ultimately, we will use this information to tell a story about shift work to supplement existing guides suggesting best practices and consider what the future should look like for our specialty. Thank you to those who signed up to work on this at ACEP23, you will be hearing from me soon. For anyone else interested in participating, please email or send me a message through engagED before November 30.

Finally, we want to use the upcoming year to build more transparency around awards like “Wellness Center for Excellence” so that folks understand the process behind choosing the awardee. Further, we want to share the stories of all our “runner ups” and make sure everyone who applies and demonstrates the hard work they are doing receives appropriate acknowledgement.

I look forward to working together to improve our daily work lives while thinking outside the box about how (emergency) medicine is typically practiced. We are a creative and innovative bunch...let’s apply it to our own well-being!

Thank you for the enormous work you do. Please be well.

Lara Vanyo, MD

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