May 19, 2020

A Note from the Section Chair

Dear colleagues,

First, I want to take this moment to tell you all what an amazing group of doctors you are. In addition to the frontline work as emergency medicine docs and the everyday challenges of emergency medicine, so many of you have placed yourselves at significant personal risk and have made tremendous sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of you have become ill with the virus yourselves. My sincere sympathies to all those who have become ill, and I wish you all speedy and full recoveries. Thank you so much for your efforts and sacrifices. I want to also acknowledge the loss of family members, friends, colleagues, and co-workers -- including our nursing and ancillary staff. During the pandemic, for those working on the frontline, it may be difficult to take time to grieve. 

On that note, many of you have jumped into additional projects in your community to help ensure access to care for patients with substance use disorders during the pandemic and the lockdown. Kudos to all those efforts. Please share your stories with this Section. Tell us what you have learned.

Apologies for relative silence from the section leadership in the engagED forum over the last few months. A quick note on a lesson learned: if your physician group or hospital renews your ACEP dues for you, be sure your section memberships are getting renewed, as well. I have learned the hard way that that may not necessarily happen. Turns out that for the last few months, while I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing any communication in this forum (and assuming all was due to the distraction of COVID-19), I was not a dues-paying member of this section! Embarrassing! Duh!

Please read the informative articles from our newsletter editor, Jessica Oswald, from UCSD. Very helpful instructions to improve success with a few nerve blocks and trigger point injections for headache and muscle spasm relief. I suspect her article on acute pain management for patients taking buprenorphine, from the perspective of a pain management specialist, will spark some debate. I encourage the debate.

Thank you to those who participated in the ACEP Stigma Summit  See the recent post from Margaret Montgomery sharing a summary and a video produced at the summit. Thanks to Don Stader for leading the video effort, and to Kate Hawk, Sam Shahid, and others for organizing the summit. Very insightful discussions have come from it. Great work!

A note of thanks to those who are conducting the ACEP EM X-waiver courses around the country, educating your colleagues, increasing engagement in your EDs, and improving access to buprenorphine treatment. Keep up the great work! Hopefully someday there won’t be a need for a special X-waiver license – but that is a topic for another time.

Many of you are very engaged in conducting educational programs for residents and medical students about opioid use disorder. Please share your experiences and lessons learned.

Multiple EDs (including non-academic centers) are engaged in opioid use disorder and pain management research. Among several NIDA CTN trials, CTN-0099, a 30 site, injectable buprenorphine trial, will soon begin enrolling patients. How awesome to see the growth of multi-center trials for opioid use disorder in emergency medicine. Please use the engagED forum to inform members of our section about your studies.

More and more of you are involved in advocacy efforts at the state and federal level, advising and educating government -- and you have becoming leading voices! Please use the engagED forum to update us on your work.

Lastly, while I am encouraging our members to use this ACEP engagED forum to keep us all abreast of the amazing things you all are doing out there, I acknowledge that there are some limitations to this forum, and there may be a need for additional communication venues. Jessica Oswald and Don Stader have setup a Facebook group for this section - please sign up here.

Again, thank you for all your great work!

Be careful! Stay safe!

Eric Ketcham, MD, FACEP