Promoting the positives of emergency medicine

D.O. students at the EMRA residency fair
Attendees at the EMRA residency fair in Boston in October included DMU osteopathic medical students Austin Beck, Zachary Dalhoff, Mikalai Shulyack, Dan Kinker, Tommy Eales and Ross Christensen.

Working as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter in the Washington, DC, area gave Tommy Eales a passion for emergency medicine. “I saw a fair share of different medical calls. It was really fun working with the physicians,” says the third-year DMU osteopathic medical student.

His classmate Ross Christensen is drawn to emergency medicine for a different reason. “I had a lot of jobs in which every day was the same as yesterday and the same as a month ago,” he says. “I wanted something that would be different every day.”

The two students are acting upon their shared enthusiasm for emergency medicine by serving as regional representatives on the Medical Student Council of the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association, the “voice” of emergency medicine physicians-in-training. Eales represents the Great Lakes Region; Christensen, the Great Plains.

Founded in 1974, EMRA is the oldest and largest independent resident organization in the world, with more than 12,800 members.

EMRA leaders select 24 students to serve on its Medical Student Council to educate medical students about training and career options in emergency medicine and foster networking and engagement in the field. Eales and Christensen — past president and vice president, respectively, of DMU’s Emergency Medicine Club — are thought to be the University’s first students to serve on the council.

“Usually as medical students, we’re limited in how much we can get involved in national organizations,” Eales says. “But EMRA has a vested interest in getting medical students to work with its members, and it gives us an opportunity to have a voice.”

Members of the EMRA Medical Student Council plan an annual medical student forum and residency fair, which took place Oct. 24-25 in Boston. Council members also promote emergency medical practice on their campuses.

“We want to make sure that first-year students know the steps they need to take, the resources available, the people to talk to and the events to attend to become competent and competitive in the field,” says Christensen.

Eales hopes to “capitalize” on the quality of DMU students, faculty and alumni who specialize in emergency medicine, including those who mentor students and present on campus. “A big thing for me is for DMU to become a national player in emergency medicine,” he says.

The two students say the connections they’ve made through EMRA and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) are both professionally and personally rewarding. “It’s really impressed me how nice and kind their members are and how they’ve wanted to extend a helping hand to students,” Christensen says. “They want to help us succeed.”