January 10, 2022

Letter from the Chair

Dr. John Wipfler, MD, FACEP
Chair, Tactical Emergency Medicine Section

Hello, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to fellow Section Members,

This is a happy time of the year for most of us, and I send my sincere best wishes to each of you for happy and healthy times this season with loved ones and friends.

It's a good time of the year to count our Blessings, and take a moment to thank and extend our appreciation to those we work alongside.

Many of us are fortunate to count amongst our friends the women and men who dedicate their lives and careers towards the simple goal of maintaining that thin blue line.  In fact, many of you do this very thing yourselves.

These strong individuals strive to keep us and our communities safe and ward off the lawless persons.  For those of us who have taken time and energy to support law enforcement officers and agencies, I'd like to thank you for being there.  To teach LEOs, to educate yourselves, to get trained up and geared up and for keeping your skills sharp and your mind and body well-honed and prepared to provide medical care for those in need located in some remarkably dangerous and high threat locations in our sometimes not-so-safe world.

This past year was full of challenges for many of us, and many happy times and a few sad ones perhaps.  Overall, we made progress, we have learned and chosen to proceed forward with a goal of doing things better and with more wisdom and experience to help us adapt and continue to help others; to wake up tomorrow and think about how we can do things better.

I'd like each of our Section members to take some time to think and reflex about three topics, and perhaps try to figure out what YOU can do, as an individual and also likely as a team member, to make a credible difference.

1) In your chosen specialty, what talents are you gifted with that you can better utilize to make this world a better place, and what is the best way for you to use those talents in a positive and uplifting way?
2) Take the time necessary to talk with your local community's law enforcement professionals and ask them what they think would make sense if you were to volunteer your time to help out?  How can they best utilize your talents as a medical expert in law enforcement medicine (LEM) as well as tactical medicine, K-9 medicine, bomb team support, mobile field force (riot response), search and rescue, mass casualty response, patrol, crime scene investigation, and others.
3) Choose to narrow your focus and specifically target your efforts in one or two keyways as a citizen or sworn officer for your local law enforcement agencies.  Start out small, promise them a little, but deliver a lot.  Do this while keeping a good balance in your life, taking time to first square away your family, career, and personal life.  

This coming year, starting in January, our Section leaders would like to join with you as we open up our fundamental support of Law Enforcement Officers to include not only tactical, but also the other many subspecialties of law enforcement, including patrol / street officers and deputies who statistically contain the largest group of LEOs who are likely to sustain serious injuries and deaths.  Many of these injuries and deaths are preventable, while a few are simply not preventable.  

We will take the initiative to reach out to those LEOs who can use our medical support and guidance, in a way that we walk together alongside and help each other.

Our leadership team will be reaching out to you and our other fellow Section Members in January to get your input and suggestions, as well as ask a few of you to commit to being a leader of a specific topic in a group of task forces that we will be forming to achieve exciting and rewarding goals.  These goals include helping to collect data so that we can help make informed decisions about which areas of preventive medicine and LEM (Law Enforcement Medicine) that we can get the biggest return for our efforts and time and money.  We will work with state and national and international LE organizations, especially now that we have some key physician representatives that are increasingly networking and supporting each other.  

We have a Section online meeting and educational lecture coming up soon (January 18, we will send more specific information very soon) where we will further explore these concepts, followed by an interactive session where we want to hear your ideas and suggestions.  Following this online meeting / discussion, we will use our Sections' feedback to make recommendations for small specific task forces who can focus on and achieve goals together.  

I'd also like to take a moment to congratulate and announce the two physicians who were selected by our ACEP Tactical EM leadership team to serve as representatives from ACEP to the C-TECC - Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care.  There were multiple physicians who submitted their request / application, and it was a very difficult decision due to the tremendous talent our group includes.  The positions include a primary representative, and also a 2nd person who will serve in the role as an alternative representative for meeting days when the primary rep cannot attend.  Please extend our appreciation and applause for two experienced physicians who have been involved in tactical / operational medicine for many years:  Dr. Ackerman will be attending the next C-TECC meeting on January 11, 2022, in San Diego.

1) Primary representative x 2 years:     Dr. Jeremy Ackerman - Emory University, Georgia  

2) Alternate representative (will become Primary rep in 2 years):  Dr. Florian Schmitzberger - Univ of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Congratulations gentlemen.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the newsletter and the articles that are chosen and written for you and our other Section members.  Special thanks to Director Rick Murray, Deanna Harper, Chair Elect Dr. Brian Springer, and Secretary Dr. Keegan Bradley, and our excellent editor Dr. Dominique Wong, who continue to contribute greatly.

With warmest regards, and Best Wishes to you and yours for a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Very Happy New Years.


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