...and the world of pediatric emergency medicine

Over a week ago I let you know that I was headed out for a number of important medical society and continuing education meetings.

I was planning to write at least every other day or night to share what I was learning and doing; to give you a behind-the-scenes view of how some of these organizations work and what they do. I am sad to report that I have been so busy, and so tired I neglected this blog in favor of more meetings, sweet dinners with old friends, and sleep, when I could manage to get some. Now, as I sit in the airport lounge waiting to make my last connection before I arrive in Roanoke, I finally have a few minutes to catch my breath and catch you up on the week's activities.

The first week I was in San Diego at the Society of Critical Care Medicne's annual meeting.

 The SCCM was celebrating its 40th birthday so things were quite festive, and steeped in the hisotyr of our founding members, those individuals who had the foresight, 40 years ago to start what would become the largest multiprofessional medical society in the world.  Today in medicine we think "team" all the time (or at least we should) and we teach medical students that doctors can accomplish very little on their own, that they need a team of dedicated professionals to each contribute what they do best to helping the patient get well, treating pain, and enhancing comfort.  The team approach to patient care is part of what attracted me to pediatric critical care to begin with.

Well, any way, my first full day in San Diego was spent at the Council meeting of the SCCM. The Council is the elected equivalent of the board of directors. We reviewed our financial situation, which is the responsibility of any board--to ensure that the organization's resources are being used in a way that is consistent with the by-laws, and in the best interests of the membership. We did a bunch of "routine" business, and then turned our attention to issues and items that will have importance in guiding the direction of the society for years to come. We considered topics a diverse as "maintenance of certification," (I can't explain this now, but this is a "hot"  topic that is creating challenges for physicians in all specialties, since the rules are still in evolution--I think this would be a great topic for me to try to explain in the future) to resident duty hours, quality and safety, improving long term outcome following a stay in an ICU.  Quite meaty stuff, and I have to say that by the time the meeting ended (about 9 hours after we began) we were all quite exhausted. This was my last Council meeting, and I was sad to see my official stent with this leadership body come to an end after 8 years.

The next day could have been a rest day, as there were no official SCCM duties for me to perform,

 but another organization, for which I sit on the Executive Committee--the Section on Critical Care of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) always holds one of its 2 meetings in conjunction with the SCCM annual meeting. This allows the members of the executive committee to be more efficient in their travel and time away from home, since most of us would attend the SCCM annual meeting for CME any way.  This group leads those pediatricians who belong to the AAP, and practice critical care, along with nurses, NPs, PAs and fellows and residents. It is focused on education of the membership as well as advocacy for patients and those who care for them. At thismeeting we also discussed issues of patient safety, maintenance of certification, and how to grow our membership, as well as planning educational activities for the next two years. Although most of the education we plan is for ourselves--in other words pediatric intensive care providers, we also have the opportunity to educate the general practitioner in issues of critical care that pertain to primary care practice.

I am very excited that next October, our very own Dr. Kayrouz will be a speaker at the AAP annual meeting in Boston, and will present interactive cases. The title of his presentation is "Are you smarter than an intensivist?" and I think it will be GREAT.

Yesterday and today I attended a meeting of the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine (COPEM), which is part of the AAP. This is a national committee that helps to set policy related to care of children in emergency situations. There is much to report about what we discussed over these last two days, but I suspect if I write much more, you won't read it. I have already surpassed my self-imposed limit of around 500 words per post.

So, more to come in the next few days, as I update you on some other exciting issues that these national groups have been contemplating and acting up0n.

Please leave a comment, so I know you are there (well, I do have other ways to know if anyone is reading this blog, but I LOVE to read your comments)

Recent Comments


I very much appreciate your keeping us all informed on these national meetings and current discussions across many topics. This is very useful and helpful at staying current and we are lucky to have you out there on the frontier of so many pediatric issues.
I am both honored and excited about presenting at this years AAP annual meeting.
Thanks again for keeping us informed.

You are right, having a team is key! I am always looking forward to what you will talk about next...thank you for sharing.

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About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

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