Andra L. Blomkalns, MD, MBA

Member-at-Large Stanford University School of Medicine


Dear colleagues and members of the academic Emergency Medicine community,

I am honored to submit my candidacy for a role on the AACEM Executive Team to represent you and my colleagues in academic Emergency Medicine. I have a deep commitment to advancing our discipline and a proven track record of organizational leadership and advocacy for emergency medicine research and education. I am well-suited to serve in a capacity that will drive our specialty and academic mission into a new era.

My experience in academic Emergency Medicine is extensive, having previously served as the President of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), serving on the SAEM Board for seven years, serving as Chair of the SAEM Program Committee for the annual meeting for the last time we all went to Phoenix (2010) and Boston (2011). During my relatively brief 5.5 years as Chair at Stanford, I’ve experienced the challenges of building a young department to gain respect within the institution and actively participate in its academic mission. I am deeply committed to recognizing the academic excellence that our field deserves.

Look around us. Emergency Medicine stands at a unique crossroads with significant challenges. Roughly 50 years ago, our specialty was born and fought to be represented as Departments over divisions. Yet, half a century later, many of us still have the same conversations year after year regarding crowding, boarding, length of stay, and leaving without being seen. The corporatization of medicine ravages our autonomy and insults our intellect. I challenge any of you to find “creating new knowledge of how to save lives and educating the next, most capable emergency physicians” on a corporate board meeting agenda.

Half a century ago, we staked a claim with board certification, expertise in the emergent airway, point-of-care ultrasound, critical care, social emergency medicine, emergency medical services, global emergency medicine, and more. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion? No other specialty cares more about the systemic inequities in our healthcare system. We continue progressing with sustainability, digital health, climate change and health, palliative care, pain medicine, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.

Moreover, Emergency Medicine should not be seen just as a field to train for a minimum of three years to meet the challenges of student loans and enjoy a part-time medicine profession lifestyle. Emergency Medicine is a calling, a dedication to advancing the science and practice of emergency care. Saving lives! As the clinician- and physician-scientist become even more of an endangered species in Emergency Medicine, we are on the sidelines watching the diversion of students away from Emergency Medicine pipelines/pathways because of continued academic reputational challenges. Perhaps, during the period of our semi-centennial, can we come together for a refreshed strategy?

I am optimistic that Emergency Medicine can continue to emerge as a leader within the broader house of clinical and academic medicine. Many AACEM’s emeriti have ascended to leadership positions throughout healthcare, government, and industry. Our specialty holds a distinctive position as no other medical discipline is as adept at mastering the dialectical exchange of patients within the entire healthcare system.

However, our path forward is fraught with challenges. Academic medicine is under immense stress, with securing federal funding becoming increasingly difficult. We find ourselves in a time of crisis reminiscent of the inception of our discipline. Critical issues, such as academic integrity, funding, space, innovation, regulation, and assaults on leadership, threaten the very foundation of academic medicine. We must address the pathways and pipelines in undergraduate and medical school education to ensure the sustainability of academicians in our profession.

In conclusion, I am excited to serve you and academic Emergency Medicine, drawing upon my past experiences and commitment to transformation. Together, we can navigate the challenges ahead, champion the values and integrity of our discipline, and ensure a vibrant and diverse future for academic Emergency Medicine.

Thank you for your consideration.