President's Message - January 2008

By Joel Schofer, MD
Naval Hospital Okinawa

Here's the update on the latest news in USAAEM . . .

LTCOL Ben Harrison, the Past-President of USAAEM, worked extremely hard to create a full-day preconference course of military CME. We plan to unveil this program at the 2009 Scientific Assembly in Phoenix, AZ.

CDR John Love, the Vice-President of USAAEM, is organizing a social event to be held during the Scientific Assembly. Similar to last year's successful event, you can anticipate a little food, drink and socializing courtesy of SonoSite. It is currently scheduled for 1630 to 1830 on 7 February 2008 at the Falcon's Nest, which can be viewed here:


In addition, the USAAEM board of directors recently added a Medical Student Representative and should be naming an individual to fill this role soon. This will allow us to better focus on meeting the needs of our student members.

Finally, and least importantly, I am now board certified and I look forward to 10 years without any tests that aren't "open book." Congratulations to all those EPs who recently passed their boards as well.

The importance of proper board certification in EM has been a hot topic lately due to ACEP's decision to open a loophole for attaining FACEP status to those who aren't board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) or the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM). AAEM has always had a strong stance on board certification and the evidence that ABEM/AOBEM certification leads to improved patient outcomes can be found at:


What you will not find there, though, is "ANOTHER IMPORTANT" reason that board certification by ABEM/AOBEM is vital. It only took me one day to realize this, and, frankly, I am shocked that it isn't mentioned on AAEM's website.

This reason has nothing to do with improved patient care or outcomes, more money, better reimbursement, or anything related to medicine. It has to do with something that has united fathers and sons, friends and competitors for decades and has annoyed my wife for almost that long. I am, of course, talking about golf.

Board certification by ABEM/AOBEM will immediately improve your golf game.

I received the board certification letter on December 19th. I went golfing December 20th at Banyan Tree Golf Course, the local Okinawan Air Force course. It is a par 72, 6300 yard course from the white tees. My previous best score was 82 (+10), which I had shot twice.

As a board certified emergency physician, I immediately improved my game by 4 strokes and shot a 78 (+6). Of course, I've been afraid to golf since then because the law of averages indicates I'll shoot a 104 the next time and lose more than a dozen golf balls. I, therefore, look forward to a life of ABEM board-certification where I can say that I shot a 78 during my last round of golf.