Written by Ryan Bachman, MD, University of Missouri – Kansas City
The annual ACEP Leadership and Advocacy Conference (LAC) was earlier this month from March 12-15 in Washington, D.C. With the generous support from MOCEP’s Bill Jermyn Advocacy Grant, this was the first year in the recent past that each of the four residency programs within Missouri had representatives in attendance. This year’s conference was a great success for MOCEP and the delegation that went to the nation’s capital.
As a resident member attending for the first time, it was an amazing experience to go to a smaller conference with about 600 attendees (although the largest attendance for the LAC to date) that were representing the leadership from every state, the ACEP board, major emergency medicine groups, and dozens of residency programs. This year, they had lectures varying from the struggle against the opioid epidemic to leadership resiliency. Our current elected ACEP president, Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, gave remarks on our political stance of the changes in healthcare at a national level. There were also discussions on diversity by our very own Douglas Char, MD, FACEP, and an open discussion by Karolyn Moody, DO, MPH, about the EMdocs Facebook group that highlighted tips for a successful online presence.
For resident members, there was a leadership breakfast where EMRA leadership brought in influential ACEP council and board members, allowing us to discuss networking tips and the importance of presenting yourself strongly on a personal and professional level. Entertainment consisted of receptions held each evening.
The members who contribute to NEMPAC, the emergency medicine political action committee, were able to attend a dinner at the Top of the Hay, an event space atop the Hay Adams Hotel that overlooked the White House. One of the highlights of the conference this year was the special guest speaker ZDoggMD, who performed a part musical, part comedy and part educational talk about the state of our current health care system and defeating physician burnout.
This year’s conference was held a few months earlier than it has been in the past, which caused some challenges on Capitol Hill lobby day due to freezing weather conditions. Even with the setbacks of dealing with a major winter storm, the U.S. Government delaying opening their offices for several hours and the transportation to the Capitol being cancelled, we were able to meet with advisors from nearly all of Missouri’s Congressional leadership. MOCEP worked hard to have the opportunity to advocate for our profession and our patients, and we were united on the Hill when we discussed issues of care ranging from the health care reform efforts, balanced billing, and efforts to extending tort reform coverage to care provided under the EMTALA mandate.
Next year’s LAC (May 20-23, 2018) should be even bigger and better, and I would strongly encourage attendance from any member interested in strengthening their leadership skills, bolstering their networking opportunities or advocating for our patients during this time of health care reform. MOCEP continues to encourage resident involvement on a state and national level helping to provide leadership opportunities to grow our skills moving forward.