September 27, 2023

Pamela P. Bensen Trailblazer Award - Amish M. Shah, MD, FACEP

Shah headshot - Bensen Trailblazer.jpg

For years, Dr. Amish Shah traveled all over Arizona working in various hospitals facing staffing shortages as an emergency room physician. It was during his time crisscrossing the state that Dr. Shah fell in love with Arizona and the people he served. Dr. Shah saw the consequences of a broken health care system and the state’s crumbling infrastructure up close. After years of doing his best to serve patients with inadequate resources and limited access to care, Dr. Shah discovered a renewed sense of purpose while on a trip to India. He visited the home of Mahatma Gandhi and left feeling deeply inspired by his words: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. 

Dr. Shah decided to turn lessons from treating patients in the emergency department into broader public service. In 2019, he became Arizona’s first Indian-American elected to the Arizona House of Representatives, and has been representing his community at the legislature ever since. Despite a demanding schedule treating patients in the emergency department and serving as a legislator, he has never strayed from his dedication to connect with the voters he represents.

Dr. Shah has made a name for himself with his unique brand of door-to-door campaigning, having visited over 15,000 households. He maintains these relationships through regular communication. It is through doing this work engaging the community that Dr. Shah has found many of his legislative priorities. Dr. Shah has had more bills signed into law than any other member of his party in over a decade. In doing so, Dr. Shah has built strong relationships with his colleagues, reaching across the aisle wherever he can to find common ground that will help better the lives of all constituents, regardless of party or background.

About This Award

The Pamela P. Bensen Trailblazer Award is presented to a current College member for seminal contributions over time to the growth of the College and to the specialty of emergency medicine. The award is named after Pamela P. Bensen, MD, a charter member of ACEP and the first woman resident in emergency medicine (1971). She was also the first woman elected to the national ACEP Board of Directors and served from 1982-88. Dr. Bensen pioneered innovations in ACEP’s governance, developed the first emergency medicine group and the first paramedic training program in Maine, and was an early adopter of data analysis to improve clinical care in the emergency department (1980s).

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