SAN FRANCISCO—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is pleased to announce the election of Christopher S. Kang, MD, FACEP, as its next president. Dr. Kang is based in Tacoma, Washington and practices emergency medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center and Providence St. Peter Hospital.
Dr. Kang intends to focus his one-year presidency on addressing the range of mental health challenges facing emergency physicians and patients.
“There’s no doubt COVID is leaving permanent marks on emergency medicine and society at large,” said Dr. Kang. “Many emergency physicians are tending to invisible injuries from years of sustained stress, grief, and burnout. Others must heal physical wounds as they are literally getting battered on the job. I look forward to leading ACEP on collaborative efforts to help make sure that emergency physicians can prioritize their mental health, safety, and wellbeing.”
ACEP efforts to address mental health will include support for initiatives related to the multitude of contributing factors and related challenges, such as violence in the emergency department.
It is worrisome that the vast majority of emergency physicians believe the rate of violence experienced in emergency departments is increasing, according to a recently released poll by ACEP and Marketing General Incorporated (MGI). Further, 85% of emergency physicians report emotional trauma and an increase in anxiety because of emergency department violence.
Despite the stress of the pandemic, many emergency physicians are hesitant to seek treatment for their mental health and do not feel they can address mental health concerns without risking their jobs.
“We must make sure that state and federal legislators, health system leaders, and others support initiatives that encourage emergency physicians to lead care teams and meet the rising demand for emergency medicine across the country,” said Dr. Kang.
Dr. Kang is committed to programs and policies that allow emergency physicians to rejuvenate, innovate, and advocate for the specialty and their community.
“ACEP will mobilize the unified voice of emergency physicians to strengthen protections for emergency physicians and empower each of our members to take better care of themselves, their careers and their patients,” said Dr. Kang.
Dr. Kang was first elected to the ACEP Board of Directors in 2015. He is a past president of Washington ACEP, served on ACEP’s Chapter Relations Committee, and previously chaired the ACEP Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee. Dr. Kang earned his medical degree and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
The views expressed do not reflect the official policy of Madigan Army Medical Center, Defense Health Agency, Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.