The Kids Are Alright

Published on October 10, 2014
Global emergency medicine counts numerous sages among its leadership. But for IFEM to help take global emergency medicine to a new level, a new generation will need to be welcomed to the table, and then actively mentored.

When I attended the International Conference on Emergency Medicine (ICEM) in June, I had the opportunity to sit in on a number of IFEM executive meetings. Time and again I would smile as I looked around each conference table and saw the same wise, familiar faces from recent conferences... if not from the meeting 30 minutes prior. IFEM can feel a bit like a family, and at these meetings you can feel good knowing that the founding fathers of global EM are still at the helm.

But then I began to wonder. What will happen when these men and women retire? Who will take their places leading the next critical phase of emergency medicine development? As that question began to gnaw at me I looked around the Hong Kong Convention Center and couldn’t help but feel that there was a noticeable lack of young blood. I had to wonder: which young physicians were being mentored to lead?

But then I began to wonder. What will happen when these men and women retire?... Which young physicians were being mentored to lead?

This issue, we take a look at a few of these new faces. In Europe, Pieter Jan and Riccardo Leto started a Young Physician Section within the European Society for Emergency Medicine. The group – for those under 35 – has thrown educational events, but resources and mentorship from outside the section are limited. EPI supports what the section is doing and would like to see it expanded and replicated in other societies.

Young EPs are making their mark outside of Europe as well. In Tanzania, 33-year-old Hendry Sawe has become the president of the Emergency Medicine Association of Tanzania. In South Africa, 32-year-old Bhakti Hansoti recently conducted a Fogarty-funded project to test a pediatric triage system in Cape Town. In Liberia, Adam Levine is serving with the International Medical Corps at the world’s largest Ebola clinic.

Even younger – but no less vital to the future of EM – are the folks behind the newly minted International Student Association of Emergency Medicine. To truly change the trajectory of emergency care, exposure to emergency medicine needs to happen as early in medical school as possible. And the global EM community needs to be active enough in medical education to guide this exposure.

Global emergency medicine counts numerous sages among its leadership. But for IFEM to help take global emergency medicine to a new level, a new generation will need to be welcomed to the table, and then actively mentored.

This letter originally appeared in Issue 14 of Emergency Physicians International.

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