07 January 2010

In which I confess my ignorance

I know there are a lot of ER docs who read this, and some ER docs in training.  I'd be interested in your opinions on this:

There are two professional organizations in Emergency Medicine, ACEP and AAEM.  ACEP is bigger and older and better recognized.  AAEM is something of the insurgent group, and a big advocate for equity in physician management practices and for democratic group structures.

So, can anybody tell me what AAEM actually does that is of value?

I'm not saying they do nothing, just that I am completely ignorant of their actual current activities.  Fill me in in the comments.

BTW, I am not interested in a whole-bunch of anti-ACEP screeds, nor in an enumeration of why AAEM's principles are awesome.  I'm fine with ACEP, and I'm aware of and generally sympathetic to AAEM's ideology.  I want to know what they do that justifies their continued existence and/or the support of ER docs.

Thanks for enlightening me.


  1. Completely anecdotally, I think ACEP would be an EmCare/TeamHealth subsidiary now were it not for the agitation of AAEM. I think AAEM made ACEP run more to the center (if there is one).

    (One EM blogger, who I've forgotten at the moment calls ACEP "EM's Rich, Snooty Uncle" and AAEM "EM's Crazy Uncle", which is pretty close).

    I'm a member of both, though I haven't gone to eithers' SA's in years.

    AAEM files several briefs on behalf of members involved in contract losses/problems, and were it me I'd like that. They started a good idea called 'exceptional testimony' or somesuch, with the intent to expose goofy expert testimony, but so far as I know it hasn't been updated in a while.

    I think their (AAEM's) value is in giving ACEP grief over big CMG's, thereby making them stay more centrist than they might.

    (I could be wrong). (But I'm seldom wrong).


  2. I'm a member of both organizations. I would agree with GruntDoc's assessment. I've been a member of ACEP for 22 years and a charter member of AAEM.

  3. In addition to what GruntDoc mentioned, AAEM has been leading the fight against the effort of BCEM/AAPS docs to be considered/advertised as Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. Board Certification has traditionally meant certification by the board sanctioned by the American Board of Medical Specialties, of which ABEM is a member. All specialties include residency training as a requirement for board certification, except for the AAPS/BCEM model, which allows for on the job training.

  4. I echo those comments. They have generously supported legal efforts of small groups who were being forced out of hosptials in favour of corporate groups. They also have been involved with a lawsuit in TX against the corporate practise of emergency medicine in general.
    They also publish "questionable Testimony" of EM docs who act as expert witnesses and speak untruths for financial gain.
    And as the one post said, they are very against "boarding" of EM docs who don't pass ABEM's boards.
    And the best thing: Their annual conference is FREE to all voting members! Not the arm and leg that ACEP charges!
    Personally, Shadowfax, I always saw you as an AAEM guy anyway!

  5. AAEM puts on some awesome conferences. they have an Americas program collaborating with EPs in Central and South America, and a Mediterranean conference every other year. they are both great places to get CME, meet and network with people from other parts of the world, and take a nice vacation trip. I like their philosophy and activism and agree with GD above regarding their impact on ACEP.


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