AAEM Proposes Merger with ACEP

…where their interests are similar:

At its board meeting on May 26, 2005, the AAEM board of directors passed the following resolution to promote unity in organized emergency medicine.  It is recognized that much common ground exists between the two major EM organizations regarding federal and state legislative issues such as the malpractice crisis and ED crowding.  It is also evident that each national organization has important activities that are best carried out by that organization alone.  It is the belief of the AAEM board of directors that the described steps will be good for the specialty of Emergency Medicine while preserving the integrity of the original AAEM mission.  We are interested in your feedback and will keep you informed as to progress related to this matter.  Thank you for your support.

Then to the actual proposal:

Proposal to Promote Unity in Organized EM Passed by the AAEM Board of Directors on May 26, 2005

Whereas, there now exists two competing general professional societies, the AAEM and the ACEP, in the specialty of Emergency Medicine; and

Whereas, at the federal and state level there exist certain issues where the specialty and the organizations would mutually benefit from a cooperative effort; and

Whereas, there exist other issues mostly internal to the specialty of EM that are best handled by one or the other organization; therefore be it

Resolved, that the AAEM board of directors approves of the below steps and will request of the ACEP that the two organizations take the following steps towards greater unity between these societies:

1.      The organizations will unify federal political efforts by contributing on a per full member basis equal funds to federal legislative action that will be pursued out of a unified Washington, D.C. office.
2.      The organizations will establish one government affairs committee with membership proportionate to the number of full members.
3.      The organizations will unify their political action committees with that board’s representation on a proportionate basis to the number of full members and each organization will recommend this as the preferred vehicle for PAC donations by their members.
4.      The organizations will institute by-laws changes to allow for the restructuring and renaming of the state chapters of ACEP and AAEM to allow for unified state ACEP/AAEM chapters that will require national membership in at least one of the organizations.

Machiavelli could learn at the feet of Robert McNamara, who basically invented AAEM, and who was their first president.   (Full disclosure: I’m a fellow of both AAEM and ACEP, but beyond general membership I’m just a grunt; I don’t go to special meetings or sit on committees, though I’m on email lists for two ACEP interest groups).  Also, I’ve had a nice dinner with Dr. McNamara and a bunch of colleagues when I was a resident, and he’s very passionate about EM docs not being taken advantage of (there’s a heck of a long story there).

As I see it, the spider has invited the fly to dinner; I expect the fly to demurrer.  AAEM, the underdog (and the one I like a little more,  as they have taken firm stands for EM docs against The Machine) has invited the very much bigger ACEP to join in Federal legislative initiatives.  Though I’m sure they have a lot of goals in common, there is so much acrimony between the two leaderships this has to be a political move to show, ‘hey, we’re trying to be colleagues’.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.  I’ll tell you when I know.

Update: fixed spelling.


  1. TheNewGuy says:

    yep… our specialty has certainly had its share of robber barons.

    Personally, I’m a fan of the small, democratic group, which is why I would lean toward AAEM over ACEP. And yet…

    My conscience has prevented me from joining ACEP, for the same reasons that I refuse to join the AMA. The AMA in particular has a tendency to attract politicos, who seem more interested in politics than in improving the lot of the individual practitioner and patient. Some of their crusades are on divisive issues that frankly have little to do with medicine. There is a good reason why the influence of the AMA is waning.

    ACEP in general seems too close to the corporate EM world, and has position statements on all kinds of tangential issues… including such far-flung topics as nuclear disarmament and land mine bans. At least the AAEM seems focused on issues that matter the individual ER docs, instead of issues more appropriate to Greenpeace.

    Just my opinion.

  2. NewGuy,
    I guess I have similar concerns, which is why, though I’m a fellow of both, it’s AAEM that goes on my lab coat.