2020-2021 RAMS MEMBER-AT-LARGE CANDIDATE STATEMENTS
Candidate statements are listed in alphabetical order.
Timothy J. Barbosa, MD
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School
Adrian A. Cotarelo, MD, MHS
St. John's Riverside Hospital
I am a PGY-1 at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, NY. I graduated from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and attended Johns Hopkins University for both my undergraduate degree in public health studies and a master’s degree in epidemiology. I first became involved with SAEM as a medical student, when at the urging of my mentor, I served as a SAEM Medical Student Ambassador (MSA). Through that experience I found a strong sense of community within the organization, and quickly knew that I would remain a part of SAEM throughout my career. I went on to reprise my role as an MSA and became a lead MSA the following year. This past year I remained involved in the SAEM Program Committee as a veteran MSA, and became involved with the EMS Interest Group, as well as the RAMS Membership Committee.
During my prior involvements with SAEM, I had the opportunity to work closely with medical students from around the country. Through this work, I saw that a number of students are not aware of the breadth of resources available through RAMS because of its relatively recent founding. Even among the medical student ambassadors, who are more likely to be familiar with the resources available through the greater SAEM, there was still a significant gap in the knowledge of what RAMS has to offer. If chosen to serve, I will focus on these core areas: 1. raising awareness of SAEM among medical students and residents; 2. outreach and communication with EMIGs and residency program leadership regarding the opportunities and resources available to students and residents; and 3. preparation of formal materials/resource sheets for new and interested RAMS members.
I believe that one area in which RAMS can improve is outreach to medical students and residents. Over the last year, the membership committee has promoted further outreach to students via frequent communication with EMIGs, and I believe that this trend can be further extended. More formally prepared materials for interest groups to present and distribute to their general body would provide something tangible for potential future SAEM members. Furthermore, I believe that more outreach to residency and medical school leadership could be established to promote regional SAEM meetings. These are valuable opportunities for students and residents to network and promote their research and projects, and there is much potential for improvement in attendance at these meetings. Increased medical student awareness of RAMS, as well as early involvement of both residents and medical students within SAEM as a whole, is a way to foster lifelong engagement with academic emergency medicine.
I am driven, tenacious, and have maintained demonstrable dedication to SAEM and to the fields of emergency medicine, public health, and medical education. I am well-equipped and would love to serve on the RAMS board. Thank you for your consideration.
Alexis del Vecchio
University of South Carolina
I am a fourth-year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, with clerkships completed at Prisma Health Upstate (formerly Greenville Health System or GHS). I will be starting my emergency medicine residency next July. Prior to medical school, I attended Yale University for my undergraduate degree (BA) and then spent five years in Los Angeles, where I worked as an associate producer of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, acted in film and TV, and founded three companies in the education field, one of which provides accessible materials to blind and visually-disabled students at universities across the nation.
I firmly believe that my varied and diverse professional experiences are highly transferable to a member-at-large position on the RAMS Board. In my previous position as a producer, I served on numerous committees, learned to seamlessly navigate complex hierarchical structures, interface with individuals from highly diverse backgrounds, and negotiated the needs and expectations of different individuals and member organizations and administrative bodies.
Just as I am an advocate for my patients in the emergency department, I seek to be your advocate, and will put the needs of the membership-at-large first in any decision, opinion, or input requested of me, should I be elected to this position. I wish to be your voice, defend your interests, and advance academic emergency medicine, keeping in mind the specific mentorship, learning, and advising needs of medical students and emergency medicine residents.
My specific goals for the duration of my tenure include to:
- Expand and improve contacts and networking between medical students and EM residents. Especially with having just gone through the residency interview process myself, I have found that the best, most reliable source of information and informal advising actually comes from residents who have recently gone through the same process. That knowledge cannot be gained from a website or the Internet. I hope we can establish new and innovative ways—whether virtually via one-off or regular audio/video group meets or through existing and additional “med student/resident” meetups at SAEM and the regional meetings—to foster these valuable interactions.
- Bring a unique perspective to fulfilling my duties. I bring diversity to the position in many ways: I am French-Canadian, born and raised in Montreal, worked in the movie business, have lived in multiple regions in the United States (Southeast, Northeast, and West Coast), and have an educational background rooted in the humanities. Diversity comes in many forms, and I believe and hope that these various experiences can help influence and fashion my approach to this position.
- Increase mentorship opportunities for medical students and residents. Some medical students attend institutions where there is no or a limited EM advising office, or where there is no emergency medicine residency, lacking the advising that some of their peers at other institutions benefit from; I hope I can help find ways to fill that gap.
- Maintain an open-door email policy. I invite you to email me, should you elect me to this position, with your thoughts/concerns/ideas for improvement, and I shall bring this to the attention of the appropriate individuals in a timely fashion and discuss in the appropriate forums with the leadership.
Hamza Ijaz, MD
University of Cincinnati
Hello everyone! I am a first-year resident at the University of Cincinnati. I completed my undergraduate studies at George Mason University and received my medical degree from The George Washington University. My interest in academic emergency medicine initially grew when I had the opportunity to present at SAEM17. Then, having served as an SAEM Medical Student Ambassador during SAEM18, I knew I wanted to get more involved within academic EM. I’ve made it a priority to seek out additional opportunities by publishing manuscripts in research journals, contributing to SAEM Pulse on topics such as wilderness medicine, creating FOAMed content for the University of Cincinnati’s residency blog, and by serving on the GME Education Committee at UC.
None of these opportunities would have been possible if I didn’t have the support of incredible mentors. I’ve come to realize that mentorship is essential to succeeding in academic medicine. It is my hope to serve on the RAMS Board and enhance the mentoring opportunities for its members. Fostering a strong network of mentors and mentees would benefit both RAMS and SAEM because its members would be encouraged to get more involved. Additionally, I hope to curate content for medical students and early interns that facilitates the transition to residency. RAMS’ presence within SAEM allows it to leverage the numerous leaders in EM to benefit residents and medical students alike. As a RAMS Board Member, I would ensure communication and collaboration with our various committees so that we continue to offer high quality resources.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our statements and for your consideration. I look forward to serving the SAEM and RAMS communities!
Daniel Nicholas Jourdan
Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
After completing my bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill, I am now a 4th year medical student at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine and applying for emergency medicine residencies. I have prior leadership experience as an non-commissioned officer within the United States Army Special Operations Command including two wartime deployments. As well, I spent five years as a paramedic leading EMS responses in a busy urban environment. My previous board experience includes acting as a founding member of the Durham MedicOne Foundation, a joint effort between Durham City and Durham County governments to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates where I was successful in recruiting, organizing, and leading CPR instructors in the education of more than 5,000 citizens in compression-only CPR. I am currently completing my term as the Southeast 1 Regional Representative to the EMRA Medical Student Council (MSC) where I helped create three new state MSC’s, guided students in becoming leaders, and advocated for student concerns within the field of emergency medicine. I served on the RAMS Education Committee for two years where I produced the education track for RAMS Roadmaps, a guide for medical students, residents, and fellows about different fields within academic emergency medicine. As well, I’ve served for the past year on the SAEM Membership Committee collaborating on initiatives to produce more useful education products for SAEM members nationwide.
I am honored to be running for the RAMS Board member-at-large position. As a young organization, I believe RAMS should focus on expanding their membership numbers and medical students are a largely untapped group as opportunities available for students have thus far been largely unseized. I believe many openings exist for SAEM/RAMS to extend their outreach and support specifically for medical students; as a potential RAMS board member, I see many avenues where we can expand upon that. My goal would be to improve the outreach, communication, and utility of SAEM/RAMS to medical students interested in academic emergency medicine with the hope of increasing membership by medical students. I would work to improve outreach by establishing a communication network between SAEM/RAMS and EMIG leadership at individual schools that can help propagate messages regarding SAEM/RAMS events and opportunities as well as better understand how SAEM/RAMS can help meet their needs. I would create a centralized database of research opportunities within emergency medicine for first year medical students to pursue during their open summers between first and second year. I would look to expand outreach of SAEM/RAMS by providing an available curriculum of educational initiatives medical students can lead and participate in with a strong focus on simulation and ultrasound. I would work to expand the grant offerings from SAEM/RAMS available to medical students conducting research and novel education initiatives in emergency medicine. Lastly, I would work to create a vibrant mentorship program between SAEM/RAMS members and students which could act as an avenue to grow interest in both organizations and emergency medicine research. I appreciate your time and consideration of my candidacy.
Vytas Karalius, MD, MPH, MA
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
I was born and raised in Chicago, in a first generation Lithuanian-American immigrant family. After completing my undergraduate education at Michigan State University, I received my MPH and Master of Medical Science at Loyola University Chicago. I then had the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a physician at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. I am currently a second-year resident at Northwestern University.
In medical school, I was involved in medical education as a member of the Admissions Committee, Science of Healthcare Delivery Executive Committee, and the Basic Science Curriculum Committee. I also led several projects devoted to curriculum development and “flipped classroom” learning, as well as clinical research and community outreach programs. In residency, my focus has been on graduate medical education: pursuing a two-year mini-fellowship Medical Education Clinical Scholars Program, becoming a member of the RAMS Education Committee, participation in FOAMed as an editor of our residency’s NUEM Blog, developing our department’s Social EM Academy, and being a member of the ALiEM Wellness Think Tank.
As a RAMS Board Member-at-Large, I plan to focus on resident/student wellness and resilience. We have all seen the increasing evidence of how resident/physician wellness impacts patient safety, as well as resident burnout and mental health. Emergency medicine is one of the specialties at highest risk of burnout and poor wellness. It is almost unanimous that as trainees, we have had peers in medical school and/or residency who have struggled with mental health and wellness. As an organization that represents our specialty’s residents and medical students, we have an obligation to advocate, study and improve the current state of EM resident wellness and burnout.
While the evidence is alarming, I see an opportunity for significant improvement. I think we are in an exciting time where multi-disciplinary work is being done in wellness, equality and resiliency, and these concepts are becoming an expectation, not an ideal, at many institutions. Together, I think residents have an exciting opportunity to facilitate change and forge a new direction in medical education to improve the wellness of residents/physicians for generations to come.
Aaron R. Kuzel, DO, MBA
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Thank you for the opportunity to run for the SAEM member-at-large position on the 2020 RAMS Board. I am an intern at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to medical school I had the privilege to serve with the United States Department of Justice as a forensic scientist where I worked on forensic exploitation of terrorist explosive devices and worked closely with units responsible for hostage negotiation and violent crimes coordinating with EMS and disaster response. This experience fueled my passion for emergency medicine and through SAEM I could assist with policies and opportunities to effect improvement in the specialty, especially in rural health and medical student mentorship. During my medical school tenure and now during residency, I have had the privilege to serve on SAEM’s Ethics Committee, SAEM Program Committee, RAMS Education Committee, and Career and Mentorship Committee. I have enjoyed the opportunities to work with the education committee on the Roadmaps project and develop educational materials on contract negotiation, increasing mentorship opportunities for medical students, and resources on the ERAS updates and the combined ACGME Match.
If honored to serve on the RAMS Board, I intend to work with my colleagues in developing opportunities for students and residents to engage in mentorship activities at the annual meeting, but also outside the yearly meeting. By serving with RAMS, I hope to help guide students and residents to be involved early in their careers, increase networking opportunities, assist them in meeting their research goals, and assist mentors to improve their mentorship skills. Additionally, I would continue working with the RAMS Education Committee in completing the Road Maps for all fellowships and academic career tracks as well as developing new resources addressing life after residency and the transition to attending physician. As a RAMS member-at-large I will work to develop information and resources regarding employment, academic contributions from a community setting, job searches, and contracts including contract negotiations. Finally, if elected, I intend to work with my colleagues in creating online informative lectures and discussions on topics that are of interest to our members such as leadership development, developing strong lectures for resident conference, initiating research projects with limited resources, and more.
Thank you so very much for your consideration as you cast your ballot for this position. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents and medical students of RAMS and, if selected, I look forward to the continued opportunity to serve the many emergency medicine residents and students in our wonderful profession. Thank you again for your consideration!
Wendy W. Sun, MD
Yale – New Haven Health
Hello! I’m currently a PGY-1 at Yale – New Haven Health. I went to Virginia Commonwealth University for medical school and studied biomedical engineering at Columbia University for undergrad. I’ve been involved with RAMS since its inaugural year and currently serve on the RAMS board as well as co-chair the Speed Mentoring event at SAEM20. I was also previously a medical student ambassador at SAEM17 and SAEM19.
It has truly been a joy to serve on the RAMS board this past year, furthering diversity and inclusion through the creation of the diversity and inclusion subcommittee, two medical student ambassador scholarships, and fostering new collaborations with SAEM academies. If re-elected, I hope to continue advancing diversity and inclusion by listening to members on what they believe is important and making those initiatives a priority. In addition, I hope to connect RAMS members with opportunities so that the experience will enable them to not only better EM but become future leaders. Lastly, one of the most unique things about RAMS is its ties with the larger SAEM community. I hope to take advantage of that special connection for RAMS members by piloting a mentorship program. It would be such an honor to serve on the RAMS board again.