Report to the Maimonides Board on Stepping Down as Chair of EM

Thank you for the opportunity to address you once again. Last September 2009 when I presented a status report on the Department of Emergency Medicine, little did I expect to find myself here again so soon.

15 years ago at a board meeting very much like this one you created a new Department of Emergency Medicine for Maimonides. I was fortunate to be selected as the Founding Chairman of that new department. I’d like to spend a few moments recounting a chronology of the department’s physical and program development and then share another aspect of the department’s development–one perhaps less apparent to you, yet a facet of the department’s development I hope you’ll come to view as significant as facilities and program.

The first step towards the construction of the Weinberg Emergency Department took place in May 1996 with the move of the Ambulance Department from a trailer on the corner of 49th and Ft. Hamilton parking area to a garage on 39th Street. Maimonides operated 6 tours daily in the NYC EMS System. At about the same time, the Department moved into its administrative home at 965 48th St.

June 1997 brought the opening of the adult ED in the newly constructed Weinberg Emergency Department and the following month, residents from the Kings County/Downstate Emergency Medicine Residency began rotating with faculty in our ED.

March 1998 brought the opening of the Sephardic Friends Pediatric ED and the Bruce Birnbaum Administrative Suite where our department leadership was housed through 2001 until the Cardiac Cath lab expanded in 2002. In 2000 we had our own CT scanner installed in the suite on the main hallway.

In late 2000 we began developing an application for our own Emergency Medicine Residency, an application that was approved in 2002, leading to the graduation of our first class of EM residents in 2005. In February 2004, the MMC Ambulance department moved to its present location on 38th Street operating 12 (8ALS/4BLS) tours daily in the FDNY EMS System.

The Department initiated both a 3-year Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship and a 1-year Emergency Ultrasound fellowship training program in 2008. Our sixth class of EM Residents graduates tomorrow evening.

As a capstone, the hospital opened the new ED in January 2009 and installed a 64-detector/dual-source CT scanner in August of 2009.

I’d like to turn to the other development that I mentioned earlier. Over the past 15 years the staff of the Department of Emergency Medicine have truly incorporated the many communities we serve as partners in improvement and incorporated improvement into the daily work of patient care.

The staff of the department, whose roles as clinician, technician, administrative and operational support are centered on individual patient care, have also incorporated into their core work improving how patient care is delivered at the bedside. Particularly in this latter role, the hospital’s community partners have been invaluable for their ready advice. Partnering with community representatives hasn’t always been easy and neither we nor our community partners have always gotten it right in our initial efforts, yet much of the improvements accomplished can be attributed to the interdisciplinary team in the department of EM and to effective collaboration with the community and its representatives.

I’ve experienced a thrilling and challenging 15 years.  As your steward for the department of emergency medicine I’ve done my utmost to fulfill your vision for program development supported by the facilities and resources you’ve invested. I trust you can equally value the extant culture of the department of EM which fully engages the necessity of continuous improvement in caring for patients as a fundamental element of daily work. The creation and existence of this culture is a source of considerable satisfaction to me.