By Teagan Lukacs, DO, MPH, MBS

This year, ACOEP’s Scientific Assembly provided a platform for the Women’s Committee to raise awareness and celebrate some great causes.


We had the privilege to work with PATH, Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans, to explore the complexities of identifying patient who are victims of human trafficking and how best to help them. The organization provides information on the scope of the problem, tools for screening, intervention strategies, and resources for physicians.
Many victims are drawn into the lifestyle around the time of puberty and are not kidnapped but drawn in by empty promises. Screening is critical because we, as physicians, are on the front lines for identifying people who may be in dangerous situations. Remaining compassionate and non-judgmental can go a long way for these patients. A good place to start is by asking if they are lacking basic needs like food and clothes, or starting with simple questions like, “Are you okay?” It’s vital to build trust and ensure their confidentiality; for example, you can offer to use an alias in the electronic medical record.
While speaking to your patients, it’s important to provide information without pressing them, with the goal of empowering them.
The physicians who attended this training session with PATH left feeling empowered. They are now equipped with the skills and materials to train the course at their home institutions and communities. Knowledge is power, and PATH provides links to many state-specific resources as well.

Please see their website for more information.


Dr. Kass and Dr. Tintinalli were guests of honor at the Spring 2019 Women’s Committee Luncheon

The Women’s Luncheon was a great success this year with inspiring words from trailblazing women who continue to pave the way for women in emergency medicine. The 2019 recipient of the Willoughby Award is Dr. Dara Kass, the founder of FemInEM, a platform for female emergency physicians that provides professional development opportunities, resources, and other forms of support. FemInEM provides an online and in-person arena for women in medicine to connect, to tell their stories, and to have productive conversations.

They have been able to start rectifying, or at the very least drawing awareness to, common problems such as underrepresentation on panels at national conferences, maternity and paternity leave, wage equality, resilience, mentorship, sponsorship, and professional promotion.  Dr. Kass has done amazing work in breaking down unconscious bias, promoting women’s professional development, and achieving gender equity in emergency medicine, making her the perfect recipient of this year’s Willoughby Award.

Our other guest of honor, Dr.Judith Tintinalli, has had a robust career promoting emergency medicine as a specialty and advancing womens’ roles in the field.

This year, Dr. Tintinalli was awarded the Janice A. Wachtler Educator of the Year Award, given to a physician who has achieved a pinnacle level in education and is considered a consummate role model to the EM community. Dr. Tintinalli has served in many educational positions, including as editor-in-chief of the world’s largest selling emergency medicine textbook,, and Emergency Physicians Monthly. She is the deputy editor of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, president of the Council of EM Residency Directors, and past president of the Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine.

Equally as important as her leadership and author positions are the lectures and presentations she’s given. Dr. Tintinalli has spoken on topics including the future direction of emergency medicine, international emergency medicine, and women in medicine. Dr. Tintinalli has directly affected the state of our specialty in the US and globally through her educational materials and guidance. She continues to be a leading voice to make medicine, and specifically emergency medicine, all that it is today.

Over 100 people joined the Women’s Luncheon to celebrate with doctors Kass and Tintinalli, and all the remarkable female pioneers at Scientific Assembly.

More than 100 people attended this year’s luncheon.


This season ACOEP’s Women’s Committee has launched sales of custom clothing and merchandise. We have also designed pink versions with the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons and proceeds from this line of merchandise will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Foundation has spent over 25 years researching breast cancer preventions and treatments with a recent focus on metastatic breast cancer.

Be sure to purchase some ACOEP’s Women’s Committee gear and join us for our educational sessions at the Spring Seminar, April 14-17, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. See you there!