ACEP Recognizes Excellence in Emergency Medicine

DENVER, Colo.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recognized leaders in emergency medicine during the organization’s annual meeting in Denver, ACEP19, the largest gathering of emergency physicians in the country. The awards honor excellence across a range of activities, including leadership, policy, education, advocacy and research.

John G. Wiegenstein Leadership Award
This award is ACEP’s highest award and is presented for outstanding contributions to the organization. It is named after the late John G. Wiegenstein, MD, a founding member and the first president of ACEP.

Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, is currently the Associate Executive Director for Clinical Affairs at ACEP and Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. She remains clinically active as a part-time attending with Integrative Emergency Services at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. Dr. Schneider is a past President of ACEP, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine. She is also a past Chair of the Residency Review Committee for Emergency Medicine and Past Chair of the Emergency Medicine Foundation. Dr. Schneider is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and board certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine.

James D. Mills Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine Award
This award is for significant contributions to emergency medicine. The award is named after the late James D. Mills Jr., MD, second president of ACEP.

Ramon Johnson, MD, FACEP, currently practices emergency medicine at a level two trauma center in Mission Viejo, California. He has been in practice for 35 years and has been involved both in the state and nationally in organized medicine throughout his career. Dr. Johnson is a past president of the California Chapter of ACEP and also served on the national Board of Directors, and as Chair of the Board from 2010–2011. Dr. Johnson has been an emergency medicine board examiner for almost two decades and is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He also serves as the liaison to the Pediatric Emergency Medicine sub-board. Dr. Johnson completed his healthcare MBA in Paris, France five years ago and completed a dissertation that evaluated the readiness of hospitals in Europe to care for children. Dr. Johnson completed his residency training at UCLA in Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine and is double boarded in Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine.

Colin C. Rorrie, Jr., PhD Award for Excellence in Health Policy
This is award is for significant contributions to achieving ACEP’s health policy objectives, or for demonstrating outstanding skills, talent and commitment as an administrative or political leader. The award is named after Colin C. Rorrie, Jr., PhD, who served as ACEP’s Executive Director from 1982 to 2003.

Peter J. Jacoby, MD, FACEP, is the Chairman of Emergency Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT and is a member of its Board of Directors. He is a past Council Speaker of ACEP, currently serves as Dr. Jacoby currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEMPAC (National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee) and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and at the Department of Medical Sciences of the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Dr. Jacoby is a past winner of the Phil Stent award given annually to the Emergency Physician of the Year in Connecticut, and the 2005 recipient of the ACEP Council Meritorious Service Award as well as a “Healthcare Hero” by the Connecticut Hospital Association.

Award for Outstanding Contribution in Education
This award recognizes a member who has made a significant contribution to the educational aspects of emergency medicine.

William Ken Milne MD, MSc, CCFP-EM, FCFP, FRRMS, is the Chief of Staff at South Huron Hospital Association in Exeter, Ontario, Canada. He has been conducting research for over 30 years publishing on a variety of topics. He is passionate about skepticism and critical thinking. He is the creator of the knowledge translation project, The Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine. Dr. Milne is also part of the faculty for Emergency Medicine and Acute Care Course series and EMRAP.

Award for Outstanding Contribution in Research
The award is presented to an ACEP member who has made a significant contribution to research in emergency medicine.

Gail D’Onofrio, MD, MS, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale University and Physician-in-Chief of Emergency Services at Yale New Haven Hospital. Boarded in emergency and addiction medicine, Dr. D’Onofrio, is internationally known for her work in substance use disorders, women’s cardiovascular health, and mentoring physician scientists in developing independent research careers. She has received multiple clinical, leadership, and mentorship awards including the Excellence in Mentoring award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (2008), Advancing Women in Emergency Medicine award (2016), and the Department of Emergency Medicine Advancement of Women Award (2018) from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. An advocate for individuals with opioid use disorder, she is one of the architects of Connecticut Governor’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Opioid Deaths, working with multiple agencies regionally and nationally to change policies and introduce interventions to combat the opioid crisis.

Rebecca Cunningham, MD, FACEP, is Director of the CDC-funded University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center, Interim Vice President of Research for the University of Michigan, Professor for the University of Michigan’s Department of Emergency Medicine, and Professor in Health Behavior & Health Education, U-M School of Public Health. Dr. Cunningham has a distinguished career in researching injury prevention, particularly of youth and young adult populations. Her focus on brief interventions in the emergency room and health systems has included using technology to overcome barriers to reaching youth to prevent substance use and violent injury and longitudinal studies of youth seeking emergency care with assault injury. She is the primary investigator of the 2017 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded Firearm-Safety Among Children & Teens Consortium (FACTS). This grant brings together firearm researchers across the country to build capacity in this field.

Award for Outstanding Contribution in EMS Award
This award is for outstanding contributions of national significance or application in Emergency Medical Services. The award is not limited to ACEP members.

Robert E. O'Connor, MD, MPH, FACEP, is Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia and clinically practices at University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. O’Connor is a past Chair of ACEP’s Board of Directors. His primary research and professional interests are in resuscitation, pre-hospital care and EMS systems. He has served as a State EMS Medical Director, Department Research Director, Medical Student Clerkship Director, EMS Fellowship Director, and Residency Program Director. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed residency training in emergency medicine at the Medical Center of Delaware.

Disaster Medical Sciences Award
The Disaster Medical Sciences Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions of national/international significance or impact to the field of disaster medicine

Richard C. Hunt, MD, FACEP, is an Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, and currently serves as Senior Medical Advisor for National Healthcare Preparedness Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Dr. Hunt served as Director for Medical Preparedness and Response Policy on the National Security Council Staff, The White House from 2013 to 2015. He served as Chair of ACEP’s Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee, and was ACEP’s first liaison to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. He is a Past President of the National Association of EMS Physicians and was Vice Chair of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. Dr. Hunt is board certified in emergency medicine, holds a Master of Science degree,

Council Meritorious Service Award
The award recognizes consistent contributions to the growth and maturation of the ACEP Council.

John Proctor, MD, MBA, FACEP, FAAP, is Clinical Executive Consultant for Sound Emergency Medicine and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine for the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. He is a member of the American Medical Association Reimbursement Update Committee and the Joint Commission Ambulatory Accreditation Professional Technical Advisory Committee. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, with sub-board certification in Pediatric Emergency Medicine,

John A. Rupke Legacy Award
This award is for outstanding lifetime contributions to ACEP. In recognition of longevity and unwavering dedication to the ACEP the Legacy award is given in honor of John A. Rupke, MD, one of the initial founding members of ACEP.

Juan A. González Sánchez, MD, FACEP, is currently Professor and Chair of the Emergency Department of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. In addition, he’s a member of the Board of Directors Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina de Emergencias y Desastres (ALACED), the Puerto Rico Stroke Registry Advisory Committee, Scientific Committee, Urgentia, Revista Internacional de Medicina de Emergencia, and a reviewer for Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/ Pan American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Sánchez has been a member of the Puerto Rico Chapter of ACEP since 1985 and has served as Chapter President, as well as the Chair of their Academic Committee. In addition to his numerous published articles, Dr. Sánchez has received several awards including the Chapter Special Recognition Award, the Dedicated Service Award and the Doctor Choice Award (multi-year awardee). Dr. Sánchez received his medical degree and emergency medicine residency training from the Puerto Rico School of Medicine and conducted his teaching fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Pamela P Bensen Trailblazer Award
The Pamela P. Bensen Trailblazer Award is presented to a current College member for seminal contributions over time to the growth of the College and to the specialty of emergency medicine. The award is named after Pamela P. Bensen, MD, a charter member of ACEP and the first woman resident in emergency medicine (1971).

Andrew Bern, MD, FACEP, is currently an independent contractor working in the fields of Healthcare Emergency Medicine, Disaster Medicine and Telemedicine where he participated in the creation of an educational program for the State of Florida working through and with the Florida College of Emergency Physicians. Prior to that, Dr. Bern served 23 years as an emergency physician for TeamHealth. Previously, Dr. Bern was a Board Member of ACEP from 2007–2013 and is an active member of ACEP’s 911 Advocacy Network. Dr. Bern was instrumental in pioneering the concept of Sections of Membership within ACEP with the first section formerly established in 1988. Dr. Bern received his medical degree from The State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.

Honorary Membership Awards
This award is for outstanding service to ACEP or to the specialty of emergency medicine.

Lowell W. Gerson, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus of Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He has a particular interest in emergency care of older patients, and he is regarded as one of the founders of that specialty. The Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine recognized this when it created the Gerson-Sanders Award for outstanding achievement in geriatric emergency medicine. Dr. Gerson was a member of the original Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Geriatric Task Force. In 1999, he was appointed an Associate Editor of Academic Emergency Medicine. He subsequently was promoted to Senior Associate Editor, a position he held until 2019. He is a member of the MEDICC Review Editorial Board. He has researched and written more than 250 published articles. He received his doctorate from Case-Western Reserve University

Laura Gore served as the Public Relations Director for ACEP for more than 20 years. During that time, she significantly raised ACEP’s public profile among its external audiences, and tripled profile of its media coverage. She grew ACEP’s Spokespersons’ Network to more than 500 media-trained emergency physicians across the country led ACEP’s evolution into social media, producing professional video for ACEP’s YouTube Channel and growing the external Twitter feed to nearly 20,000 followers. She also oversaw ACEP’s branding process and development of the organization's tagline “Advancing Emergency Care.” Prior to joining ACEP, Laura previously worked in the Executive Office of the President communicating articles about the President's National Drug Control Strategy. She also served as a press aide to two Governors of Florida, editor of a science journal, and editorial director for a social science research firm.

Diane K. Bollman Chapter Advocate Award
The Diane K. Bollman Chapter Advocate Award is presented to a current or recent (within the past 12 months) ACEP chapter executive or chapter staff member who has made a significant contribution to advancing emergency care and the objectives of an ACEP chapter and the College. The award is named after Diane K. Bollman, who served as the executive director of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians for 25 years and was an honorary member of ACEP.

Elena Lopez-Gusman has been the Executive Director of California chapter of ACEP since 2007 where she directs the Chapter’s advocacy efforts and oversees the Chapter’s two sponsored political action committees. She first began her collaboration with California ACEP when staffing legislation to ensure that California’s tobacco litigation settlement funds would be spent on health care. Prior to working for CalACEP, she spent 10 years working in the California Legislature for Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and Senator Joe Dunn. Prior to her service in the legislature, she was a legislative staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and supervised their Sacramento office. Elena earned her B.A. in Sociology and her J.D. from the University of California at Davis and is a member in good standing of the California State Bar and the American Association of Medical Society Executives.

Community Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
Recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution in advancing emergency care and/or health care within the community in which they practice.

Andrew G. Southard, MD, FACEP, is the Department Chair of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director for Saint Alphonsus Regional Trauma Center in Boise, ID. He works clinically both at the trauma center as well as the community and rural Emergency Departments throughout the Treasure Valley in the Saint Alphonsus System. He is also the owner of FireDoc, which provides medical direction and training to EMS personnel and serves as the medical director for the Boise, Salmon-Challis, and Sawtooth National Forests. Before medicine, Dr. Southard worked as a wildland firefighter, EMT-B and wilderness guide throughout the west and Alaska. Dr. Southard attended medical school at the University of Colorado and completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico

Innovative Change in Practice Management Award
This annual award is given to an emergency physician who has developed an innovative process, solution, technology or product to solve a significant problem in the practice of emergency medicine.

Edward N. Barthell, MD, FACEP, has been an ACEP member for over 30 years and was the founder and first chair of the ACEP Informatics Section. He is currently CEO for EmOpti, a company focused on improving acute care through advanced analytics and telemedicine technology. EmOpti’s technology has been used for over 250,000 remote video consultations for tele-triage, resulting in marked benefits in patient flow. Dr. Barthell served for many years as a leader of a regional emergency medicine practice based in Wisconsin, served as Vice President and Medical Director Americas for Caradigm, and before that he served as Director of Connected Health for Microsoft Health Solutions Group. Dr. Barthell was also co-founder of EMSystem, a successful start-up that provided resource and ambulance diversion management software in emergency medicine. In the spirit of “pay it forward” he has been an advisor to and active angel investor in a variety of other healthcare and technology start-ups.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit and

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