American Academy of Emergency Medicine

How do I get involved with AAEM?

Date: December 17, 2003
Subject: Re: How do I get involved with AAEM?

I am 4 years out of residency. Upon graduation, I ventured into academics for several years, but became somewhat disillusioned with the integrity and inequality of my group structure. The old guard seemed to have a great life...working 1400 hrs/yr while getting paid for 2000 hrs/yr. That 600 hrs was supposed to be "protected" time to pursue academic, scholarly and teaching responsibilities. In reality however, there was little of that being done. Almost zero publications, no teaching, old recycled lectures with no new effort. It seemed that my work and income was funding their leisure. It had similarities resembling a mega-group structure, only we disguised this "skimming" with several catch phrases like "democratic" and "academic".

After hearing you speak about the "rape of EM" here at our program, I decided to make a change. It was difficult because several of my friends are still there being used or abused there. It was odd to hear you speak of "skimming" style contracts when we did (and still do) skim at 2 of our 4 contracts. Not only that, but we are telling our residents that they shouldn't join a group that does that, yet we are recruiting them to stay at the very facility where they will have little say in their financial futures. It seems that the "rape" is going on everywhere even in academics. I refer you to a recent job opening that I interviewed for at Tampa General's new residency program. As you may know, this is run by some great guys, but is controlled by TEAM Health. I assure that the $159,000 salary they are offering with absolutely no benefits (start subtracting health, dental, retirement, and CME) is not what they are earning from the contract. You are right, it is a crazy profession we have joined. Where even our colleagues are part of the problem.

I am now in xxxxxx and have joined what I believe to be more realistically a democratic group. I am now more convinced than ever that we must not accept anything less than a true self-guided, democracy style work situation in EM. We must stand together on this principle or we will be "blood let" separately in defeat....it sounds a little Shakespearian, but I believe this to be true.

I salute your stick-to-itiveness with your principles and that of AAEM. We certainly need folks in EM that sincerely support the practicing individual doctor. Individually, we are not a source of power, but seem only to be dispensable items. Compositely, we can work for these inalienable rights. Ok, I guess that I am all fired up now. Having just left a job that I enjoyed out of principle still gets to me somewhat. In any case, I am eager to join AAEM as I am embarrassed to say that I have previously not been a member. I hope someday to see you again and introduce myself formally.