Dr. Maura Kennedy knows there’s more to emergency medicine than what makes the headlines.
Through her work with ACEP's Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) program and ACEP's Geriatric EM Section, she’s able to focus on the insights that inform the best practices for care involving older patients.
“I love hearing from emergency departments that aren’t typically published or on the front page for doing amazing work in their communities,” said Dr. Kennedy. “I love having the opportunity to promote voices we often don’t get to hear.”
By volunteering in a leadership role with GEDA Board of Governors, Dr. Kennedy was able to build the curriculum for geriatric emergency care education during ACEP22 and contribute to the development of point-of-care tools for geriatric patients focused on minimizing the use of anti-psychotic or sedative medication. She's also chair of ACEP's Geriatric EM Section, a very active group within the College.
Her involvement with ACEP during some of the most challenging peaks of the pandemic was a source of energy and inspiration.
“During the pandemic, some of these very rewarding moments gave us an opportunity to come together and support each other during a difficult time and help each other drive improvements across all of our emergency departments,” she said.
One meaningful example during the pandemic sticks out for Dr. Kennedy. When many facilities established visitor restrictions to protect everyone at the hospital, it was often hard to distinguish between a caregiver for someone with a cognitive or physical disability, and a visitor who was there to provide emotional support.
“Through ACEP, we were able to work with AARP to revise policies to support caregivers at the bedside for older adults,” she said.
Dr. Kennedy’s advice to ACEP members is to seize the opportunities that ACEP makes possible.
“Volunteering with ACEP provides opportunities to work in so many domains; education, administration, advocacy, and patient care, locally and nationally,” she said.
“You have opportunities to learn from physicians in diverse clinical settings. And then because of the reach of ACEP, the impact that you can have is tremendous. ACEP touches so many emergency departments and so many patients.”
Related: There are more than 35 ACEP committees with volunteer opportunities. Apply by May 15 to be considered for the 2023-24 rosters.