October 26, 2017

Letter from the Dr. Pamela Ross, Section Chair

Fascinated by remarkable totems I saw during my recent travel by ship to Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan, Alaska - I appreciate the concept of spirit connection between humans, animals and objects. Totem is briefly defined as a symbol serving as the spirit emblem of an individual or group of people. Our Facebook social media group, EMDocs (established and facilitated by Dr. K. Kay Moody) is an incredible connection of over 15,000 Emergency Physicians across the world. Scrolling through various posts – I noticed frequent reference to our collective presence as “tribe” or “hive.” While I could easily connect with identity as tribe - hive was a little more challenging. While visiting Martha’s Vineyard, I picked up a publication with a couple of sentences that resonated… “The word for community in Hebrew is EDAH, which also means beehive. This word conveys the way a hive of bees live and work together with a common identity." There it was defined in Hebrew and it soundly resonated with us. We are the safety net of health care, the providers of unfunded healthcare mandates, a presence for all - regardless of ability to pay, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year – even in the face of dwindling support and resources. Together, we work tirelessly to improve health outcomes in a broken healthcare system. This is the light of our common identity – and with our light exists the darkness where many of us are falling… to personal illness, burnout, suicide, impairment, addiction, abuse and premature death.

The grassroots ACEP Wellness Section and Board Appointed Well Being Committee work together in positive, meaningful collaboration to bring physician wellness to a prominent and pertinent existence among Emergency Physicians. I believe we are making a difference and I am pleased to report the Wellness Section has been selected to receive the Promoting Section Membership Award in recognition of the highest overall increase in total section membership in ACEP. It encourages me that Emergency Physicians are making the connection with the crucial value of wellness in their professional and personal lives. Not only would I like to see every member of ACEP as a member of the Wellness Section, I would like to clearly establish Emergency Physician Wellness as a core value of Emergency medicine. As best stated centuries ago by the ancient Greek Physician, Herophilus - “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” We all need optimal health and wellness, not just for our personal benefit, but for the benefit of the patients we tirelessly serve.

In considering wellness offerings for ACEP 2017 Scientific Assembly, we found that many physicians have access to medical laboratory screening exams through their primary care physicians and other networks. We also found that Emergency Physicians were using lab services at ACEP considerably less. The decision to no longer offer the lab services traditionally offered at ACEP was not an easy one. We have responded by creatively expanding activities with a host of wellness focused education, presentations, and even an idea lounge that invites you to share your vision for Wellness – personally, professionally and in our work environments. These activities will take place through out the conference as a part of the Wellness and Resiliency Center run by the ACEP Well Being Committee.

Our Wellness Section will specifically host a “Yoga/Meditation/Exercise” Room through out the course of the conference. Things you can look forward to in the Wellness Section Room at ACEP 2017 include:

  • Core De Force Early Morning Workout – Start at 6am each day of the conference with a serious workout. It is just YOU and the floor! Core De Force is a zero-equipment, core-defining workout that conditions your body with boxing, kickboxing, martial arts combos, bodyweight training, and explosive cardio intervals to max your calorie burn. You are guaranteed to leave the morning work out ready for the DAY! Dr. Charmaine Gregory, MD and Dr. Archana Reddy, MD, FACEP will lead work out sessions. They are both Core De Force certified live instructors.
  • Guided Heart Meditation – Following the Core De Force Workout at 7am, there will be teaching, reflecting and sharing a focused heart meditation that expands on concepts of compassion for others and self. Join us with open heart and expanded consciousness.
  • Guided and individual Yoga – Come in and do your own thing or sign up to lead!
  • Individual and Collaborative Other - Engage in quiet meditation/prayer, throughout the day according to your desire. You are free to drop by and make positive, constructive use of this room for your wellness benefit.

A wine and cheese reception hosted by the American Medical Association will precede our 2017 Wellness Section Meeting on Monday, October 30 from 4 – 6pm. We continue to highlight the writings and research of Katherine Sanders, PhD to increase your exposure to her material as our upcoming-featured speaker for the ACEP 2017 Wellness Section meeting. While historical wellness perspectives have placed emphasis on the INTERNAL practices, skills and mechanisms of the individual Emergency Physician, Dr. Sanders will share insightful research and resources that look at the EXTERNAL forces of Emergency Physician work environments and their impact on Physician wellness. Her presentation will be recorded and provided as a podcast to the entire ACEP membership. All in all, the days leading up to our Scientific Assembly are exciting and bursting with potential.

While I could go on for thousands and thousands more words, I will end here by simply asking you to JOIN US! Join us for all the incredible activities that will take place during ACEP 2017 Scientific Assembly and join us by becoming members of the ACEP Wellness Section for added value and multitude of online resources for your wellness routines, education, projects, collaboration and research. It is definitely worth the investment in YOU.

Be well,

Pamela Ross, MD, FACEP, FAAP
Chair, Wellness Section
American College of Emergency Physicians

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