Katherine Heilpern, MD, acting chair, Department of Emergency Medicine in the Emory University School of Medicine, has been named president-elect of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.
The mission of this 5,700 member society is to improve patient care by advancing research and education in emergency medicine. These advances will promote ready access to quality emergency care for all patients, promote emergency medicine as an academic and clinical discipline, and set the highest professional standards for emergency healthcare providers across the continuum of clinical care, research and education.
"It is a great personal and professional honor to be elected by my peers to serve as president-elect of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine," says Dr. Heilpern. "I have been proud to serve as a board member for the past five years, representing the Society and its members, and working hard to advance the Society's vision of excellence in emergency care. This position will allow me to continue my efforts to promote research and education in emergency medicine as we seek new and more efficient ways to provide state of the art, quality emergency care to our communities."
Dr. Heilpern received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and her medical degree from Emory School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate training at Temple School of Medicine in internal medicine and received board certification in internal medicine and emergency medicine. After residency training, she served as a medical officer for the Indian Health Service and was stationed on the Navajo reservation.
She returned to Emory in 1996 advancing to assistant dean of medical education and student affairs and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She is a recipient of the American College of Emergency Physicians National Faculty Teaching Award and the Emory Medical Dean's Teaching Award. She serves as a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians Academic Leader Program and is a board member of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Heilpern recently was selected to serve on the Institute of Medicine Board on Military and Veterans' Health. Regionally, she serves on the State of Georgia Pandemic Influenza Planning Task Force and the Board of Directors of the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians.
The focus of her research is the study of the interface between emergency medicine and infectious diseases. Since 1995, she has been a site investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's EmergeIDNet sentinel surveillance project on emerging infectious diseases. Recent federally funded research has focused on the evaluation of emerging pathogens, such as West Nile Virus, community-acquired drug-resistant staph infections, and the presentation and management of agents of bioterrorism and drug-resistant pathogens in the emergency care setting.
Dr. Heilpern has been an active educator with a focus on novel curriculum design and teaching methodologies for faculty and students in the health sciences. She is a co- principal investigator with Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing on a federal training grant that teaches state-of-the-art didactic and procedural skills in emergency care to masters' level nurse practitioner students. The grant also focuses on emergency care of underserved/vulnerable populations.