GEMA Candidate Statements

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President-Elect Candidate(s)


Megan Rybarczyk, MD, MPH


University of Pennsylvania

I am honored by the nomination for Present-Elect of GEMA. I have led and/or served on several GEMA committees over the years, and I have also served as Treasurer of GEMA and Fellow Representative, Secretary, and, most recently, Chair of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship Consortium (GEMFC) Committee.

I believe this work, along with serving as the Global EM Fellowship Director of the University of Pennsylvania Program, has given me the necessary experience to take the next steps to serve GEMA as President-Elect. If elected to this position, I will work over the next year to prepare for the role of President by upholding the vision of GEMA and by advancing its mission to improve the delivery of emergency care globally through research, education, and mentorship. In my role as Treasurer, I worked to increase membership, especially among our global colleagues, as well as to support additional opportunities for members. I plan to continue to contribute to – and expand – these efforts as President-Elect. Finally, given my interest in and passion for education, I hope to work to increase educational opportunities for and by GEMA members.

Thank you for the nomination and for your consideration of me for the position of President-Elect. It would be a privilege to continue serving GEMA in this role.


Secretary Candidate(s)


Torben "Tom" Becker, MD, PhD


University of Florida

I am hoping to serve the Global Emergency Medicine Academy (GEMA) members in the role of Secretary on the GEMA Executive Committee.

I believe that my unique experiences support my candidacy. I am currently the Director of the Section of Global Health at the University of Florida where I also serve as the Founding Program Director of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship program. I have had the privilege of serving as the former Editor-in-Chief of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group, and I was part of the GEMLR group for fifteen years. I currently serve as the Chair-Elect of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship Consortium. I am also the current Development & Grants Officer on the GEMA Executive Committee. In this role, I had the opportunity to support multiple upcoming workshops focused specifically on the needs of our members from LMICs.

Furthermore, my role as President of a non-profit organization, Global Health Coalition, which supports EMS and ultrasound work with partners in Ghana, reflects my passion for addressing pressing global health issues. Over two decades of global health work experience have provided me with a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges associated with international healthcare efforts.

My vision for this role is to leverage my diverse background to enhance the operations of the GEMA Executive Committee. If elected, I am committed to fostering transparency, effective communication, and collaboration within our organization. I will work diligently to ensure that our committee functions smoothly, enabling us to better serve our members and advance our mission.

In conclusion, I am excited to offer my candidacy for the position of Secretary and to contribute to the continued success of the GEMA Executive Committee. With my qualifications, dedication, and passion for global health, I am confident that I can make a meaningful impact in this role. I humbly ask for your support and the opportunity to serve our organization to the best of my abilities.

Thank you for considering my candidacy. Together, we can drive positive change and further our mission within the GEMA community.


Treasurer Candidate(s)


  • John Austin Lee, MD, MPH


    Indiana University Health

    I am grateful to be considered for the position of GEMA treasurer, and would be glad to serve the academy in this role for the next year. I've been an active member of GEMA for the past six years, and have served on a variety of GEMA committees including the grants and development team and the basic emergency care initiative. I have relevant experience as an active member on the IFEM finance committee and a leading member of the IFEM revenue generation working group. I have also been GEM member of the SAEM fellowship approval committee for the past 5 years. I appreciate your consideration and the opportunity to serve!


Member-at-Large Candidate(s)


  • Sonya Naganathan, MD, MPH


    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    My name is Sonya Naganathan, and I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. I received my MD from The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Toledo, OH, and completed my emergency medicine residency at Washington University in St. Louis. I graduated from the Global Emergency Medicine fellowship at Brown University and its School of Public Health with my MPH in 2021. I joined the faculty at UTSW in October 2021. Over the last few years, I have been involved in various aspects of global health including research in resource-limited settings, large-scale development and delivery of COVID-19 response curricula, and domestic preparedness efforts. More recently, I have been working with colleagues in India and Nepal in the development of novel applications to bolster healthcare system resilience with regard to pediatric respiratory illnesses secondary to air pollution.

    Thank you for your nomination for Member-at-Large. SAEM is a wonderful organization that truly encompasses what we do as academic emergency physicians. GEMA’s role in advocating and furthering the role of global healthcare delivery is an important part. It is equally important that we maintain our membership base and double our efforts for global engagement to carry out the mission of this Academy. In the last two years, I have held two different GEMA Executive Committee positions and feel that my experience in these roles will help support GEMA's mission over the next year. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Chathuri Kaushila Thilakasiri Modarage, MD


    Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust

    I am writing to express my strong desire to join the esteemed Society for Academics in Emergency Medicinem, Global Emergency Medicine Academy. It is with great enthusiasm that I present my candidacy for this prestigious organization, and I believe that my background, experiences, and dedication to the field of emergency medicine make me a valuable candidate.

    As an emergency physician from Sri Lanka currently pursuing a combined fellowship in simulation and emergency medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, I have had the privilege of working in diverse healthcare settings and collaborating with professionals from around the world. My commitment to the advancement of emergency medicine is reflected in my active participation in various international organizations and committees.

    I am honored to serve as the European Resuscitation Council Young representative for Basic Life Support and as a member of the Science and Education Committee of Basic Life Support in ERC since 2021. Additionally, I contribute my expertise to the ILCOR task force on first aid, furthering the cause of emergency care on a global scale. My dedication to professional growth is evidenced by my membership in the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and my role as a council member of the Sri Lankan Society of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine. In addition to the MBBS degree and MD in Emergency medicine I hold a diploma in Disaster Management from faculty of Medicine University of Colombo. I am currently pursuing a Post Graduate Certificate in Simulation at Brighton and Sussex University.

    My research publications in the field of medical education and resuscitation reflect my commitment to advancing knowledge and improving patient outcomes. Notably, I have worked with the Society for Academics in Emergency Medicine (SAEM), contributing to the publication of "A toolkit for decolonizing global emergency medicine education." This project underscores my commitment to fostering inclusive and equitable education in the field.

    Furthermore, my teaching commitments span a wide range of educational programs, from being a visiting lecturer at the University of Moratuwa to serving as a committee member of the Simulation Center at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. I am deeply involved in training healthcare professionals, including emergency nurses and ambulance service personnel, in life-saving skills such as BLS, ILS, and ALS. Moreover, I am proud to have contributed to the development of the National Ambulance Service's curriculum, "Suwaseriya."

    One of my key passions is creating opportunities for women in emergency medicine, and I am proud to have been recognized with the global travel award of the Academy of Women in Emergency Medicine in 2020. I believe that diversity and inclusivity are essential for the continued growth and success of our field, and I am dedicated to fostering an environment where all voices are heard and valued. As a member of the IFEM Special Interest Group in Gender, I actively contribute to the global efforts to promote gender equality and inclusivity in emergency medicine.

    In conclusion, I am deeply committed to advancing the field of emergency medicine through research, education, and advocacy, both locally and on a global scale. My extensive experience, combined with my passion for the field and dedication to inclusivity, makes me an ideal candidate for membership in the Society for Academics in Emergency Medicine Global Emergency Medicine Academy.

    I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the academy's mission and collaborate with fellow members to further advance emergency medicine worldwide. Thank you for considering my application.

  • David Rudolph, MD


    Johns Hopkins

    My name is David Rudolph, a current PGY4 and incoming International Emergency Medicine and Public Health Fellow at Johns Hopkins. I graduated from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine with Global Health Distinction in 2020 and in residency have fostered passions for HIV prevention and treatment in domestic and global settings. I am running for Member at Large because as I get more involved with global health, it impresses on me the importance of continued engagement and advocacy for equitable global health work. As a former chief resident who has done global health rotations in 4 continents, I have acquired skills in being a reliable ambassador while empathizing with the needs and mediating the goals of multiple stakeholders.

  • Katie Wells, MD, MPH


    The University of Vermont

    My name is Katie Wells. I am running for the GEMA Member-At-Large position to get more directly involved in GEMA’s mission. I have been involved with GEMA since matriculating into Emergency Medicine residency, and I currently serve on the Decolonizing Committee and the Global Engagement Committee. My original journey in medicine had been geared toward a career as an international trauma surgeon. I matched into an academic seven-year general surgery program and was asked to join a WHO Global Surgery committee as an intern. That soon developed into being the first fellow for the University of Utah’s Center for Global Surgery, the first global surgery fellowship in the country. I spent two years working in Mongolia, focusing on surgical and trauma system development and research with the Mongolian Ministry of Health and the national hospital system. During my fellowship, I obtained an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, focusing on disaster medicine and refugee health. During that time, I switched my focus to emergency medicine. While I loved operating, I realized that I loved learning about and developing elements of health systems more and felt that emergency medicine was a better fit. After applying to a GEMA showcase in Dallas, Texas, I found my people in Global EM. I met many people who advocated and networked for me at that event while applying for residency. GEMA was my launching pad as I went back into the match for Emergency Medicine. I have always felt indebted to this organization and to SAEM for giving me my first systems of support to build a career in Global EM. Therefore, I want to be more directly involved in its development and leadership. Since first joining GEMA, I have finished my global health fellowship, completed my residency in EM, and was recruited to the University of Vermont to start the first program in International Emergency Medicine, where I am currently the Director of International Emergency Medicine, as well as the University of Vermont Health Network Emergency Department Director of Health Equity. I was also recently selected as the inaugural Director of Social Medicine for the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. I am responsible for building curriculum and research in health equity and social justice while overseeing student involvement in social medicine programs. Since joining Vermont, we have built partnerships working alongside our Ugandan colleagues, and supported the development of the first Ugandan curriculum for emergency care nursing for the country, built a Rural Emergency Care Systems (RECS) rotation built for practitioners working in the international context which we piloted this year with Ugandan partners with the plan to expand this for our other international partners, built a partnership with AFEM and South African partners to explore equitable GH partnerships, built our first institutional multidisciplinary Global Health Equity fellowship starting this year, amongst many other initiatives.

    Additionally, during COVID, I worked supporting local infrastructure building here in Vermont with the development of the first collaborative immigrant health program called the Immigrant Health Initiative (IHI), bringing in members of over 20 different University of Vermont Health Network departments, over 50 community partners and created the first salary funded hospital network immigrant community liaison position held explicitly by a member from our refugee community. We have also been working collaboratively with community and medical center partners to change statewide policy focused on immigrant health. We are growing our faculty exponentially, as well as our research capacity and our international collaborations with three other countries. I have had the privilege of learning from so many mentors and leaders in the Global Emergency medicine space, and I feel that my skill set in advocacy, network building, and strategy could serve GEMA well as it continues its growth into a group to meet the moment of change and sustainability in this decolonizing period. I would love to work directly as part of GEMA leadership to facilitate collaboration with other international EM organizations to create consensus and systems of accountability toward building equity in global EM partnerships.

    If elected I would love to work with GEMA to push forward more research and scholarship focused on building equitable global health partnerships. I would like to lead GEMA in these efforts and liaise with other international EM organizations to facilitate building systems of accountability and change in current global EM practices.


Medical Student/Resident Representative Candidate(s)


Kaitlin Rose

Medical Student / Resident Representative

University of Michigan

I went to Oakland University for my undergraduate education and then Central Michigan University for medical school. Currently, I am a PGY-2 at the University of Michigan. I was introduced to global health after participating in a Global Medical Brigade trip to Panama where we provided medical care to a community with limited access to health care. Since that time, I have been learning how to maximize health care access and humanitarian aid to low-resource communities. Additionally, during residency, I have been working with one of my mentors to research direct medical and surgical support and emergency medicine curriculum development in association with the war in Ukraine. Overall, I believe I am a good fit for the Resident Representative position for GEMA because I want to make a profound global impact in health care and I am passionate about involving learners at all levels, from medical students to residents, in these activities. I am also in the SAEM Climate Change and health interest group and have learned with my participation there how to effectively be involved as a resident in an interest group/academy.


Development and Grants Officer Candidate(s)


Florian Schmitzberger, MD, MS

Development & Grants Officer

University of Michigan

I am applying for the development and grants officer position, having been on the executive board in the last year as a member at large.

Specifically for this position, I believe I bring a significant background from my global health and humanitarian work, as well as multiple large grants in this space, including review experience.

In the global health environment in particular, I applied for and was medical director for a WHO grant for roughly $900,000, for implementation of an emergency medicine curriculum in Ukraine. Additionally, I received funding for an evaluation of trauma protocols project in Ukraine by the Department of Defense (DoD). I strongly believe in helping others in exploring funding venues for both humanitarian or research work and hope I can help in this area.

Regarding GEMA, I have been active on the executive committee, predominantly as member-at-large in recruitment as well as within the GEMA EMS track, program and development committee. I feel very strongly in supporting others in this venue as well as supporting the mission and members of GEMA.


IT Chair Candidate(s)


Vinay Kampalath, MD, DTMH

IT Chair

University of Pennsylvania

I am interested in the role of IT Chair for the Global Emergency Medicine Academy Executive Committee because I would like to support increasing the visibility of GEMA’s work. GEMA itself is growing in scope and membership, and this growth reflects the increasing interest in global emergency medicine among emergency medicine faculty and trainees across the world. I currently serve as Program Committee Liaison, where I am currently working on planning GEMA-related events at SAEM24. I am also Co-Chair of the Humanitarianism Taskforce, where we have invested in expanding the reach of our programming and diversifying our membership base. As IT Chair, I would continue these efforts by increasing the visibility of GEMA members’ work on our social media channels, with the aim of doubling our current social media following. My goals would be to advertise the breadth of our GEM work that reflects our diverse subcommittees and membership, and to specifically engage in outreach to emergency medicine communities in LLMICs. I hope these efforts will in turn contribute to GEMA's growth in membership.


SAEM Program Committee Liaison Candidate(s)


Emma Cortes, DO

SAEM Program Committee Liaison

Jefferson Northeast

I am a dual-specialty physician in emergency medicine and family medicine. I work in emergency departments with Indian Health Services in Arizona and South Dakota, and I am currently clinical faculty with Jefferson Northeast in Philadelphia, PA. I am the founder and director of the nonprofit organization the Migrant Health Collaborative of South Jersey, and I am also the co-chair of the AI/AN Committee within GEMA. GEMA has made a significant impact on my career and helped me discover where my true passions lie. I continue to be inspired by the incredible work done around the world in emergency medicine, which has motivated me to pursue a fellowship in global emergency medicine. I will begin as a fellow next summer with Brown University. My goal is to ensure GEMA continues to be a source of education, collaboration, and support for all of those in global emergency medicine whether you’re a student or an experienced clinician or researcher. I will work hard to ensure that the annual meeting is an experience that fosters new ideas, insightful discussions, and connections that help advance this field. As new challenges develop in global health, GEMA must continue to listen to and support the voices of all of its members in order to be a catalyst for positive change. I am running for this position because I strive to help GEMA keep these principles true in its mission to promote emergency medicine worldwide.