Inspired by Medelita’s H.I.P. (Honoring Inspiring Professionals) program, we sought applications from female emergency medicine residents. We asked potential HIPster awardees to tell us about a problem affecting physicians, patients or their communities that they identified and implemented a project to address. We are delighted to say we had nearly 50 extraordinary women apply and we were blown away by their incredible applications!
Meet these amazing honorable mentionees!
Breanne Jacobs, MD, MA
Dr. Breanne Jacobs received her medical degree from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, after which she completed an internship at the Irish Health Service and is a current third year resident at Emory University School of Medicine. Inspired by the hurdles she faced while applying for residency as an international medical graduate (IMG), Dr. Jacobs has worked to promote inclusion and diversity within emergency medicine and to ensure the residents know their rights as employees. She published about her residency interview experience in EM Resident to create awareness regarding the struggles IMGs face while applying to residency. Additionally, as a member of the AMA Resident and Fellows Section she is advocating for fair work and hiring practices within graduate medical education.
Samantha Jeppsen, MD
Dr. Samantha Jeppsen received her medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine and is a current second year resident at the University of California – Davis. Concerned that patients with substance use disorders and sex workers have many of their needs overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the emergency department, Dr. Jeppsen has focused her research on these patient populations. Her sex worker project implements an identification tool for physicians to provide treatment options for patients of the sex worker population while her naloxone treatment kit project will attempt to identify if medical care providers’ perceptions regarding substance-use disorder patients are affected by the implementation of a treatment. With two distinct projects, Dr. Jeppsen is working to improve the care of these often underserved patients.
Elizabeth Johnson, MD
Dr. Elizabeth Johnson received her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine and is a current third year resident at Lincoln Medical Center. Dr. Johnson has been concerned about the worsening opioid epidemic for several years, becoming first involved in public policy work surrounding the issue while a Health Policy Fellow for Congressman Raul Ruiz. She is currently the Clinical Director of the Lincoln Hospital Opioid Overdose Prevention Program where she works closely with representatives at the NY Department of Health, addiction specialists at the hospital, and various other departments, to acquire and distribute intranasal naloxone kits. Most recently, they have begun training ED physicians and the mobile response employees so that they can distribute the kits to their own at risk patients. Through this project, Dr. Johnson hopes to empower a vulnerable population and ultimately, to save lives.
Alicia Kurtz, MD
Dr. Alicia Kurtz received her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine and is a current Chief Resident at UCSF – Fresno. Dr. Kurtz has been particularly concerned with resident wellness and the high rates of burnout experienced by emergency physicians. She felt the culture in which physicians are not adequately encouraged to discuss their experiences and share their feelings was a major contributor to that burnout. To address this, Dr. Kurtz has implemented a new lecture series within her program in which a fourth year resident shares a story about a meaningful experience from their time in residency. The story is then followed by facilitated small group discussions to encourage sharing and communication. By implementing this lecture series and other projects directed toward resident wellness, Dr. Kurtz works to improve morale and strengthen the residency community.
Stephanie Louka, MD
Dr. Stephanie Louka received her medical degree from Easter Virginia Medical School and is a current third year resident at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. Concerned about the mental, physical and emotional toll of medical practice, the concerning rate of burnout and the tragedy of physician suicide, Dr. Louka worked to implement a peer support system for residents struggling emotionally or academically. In this program, each class elects a representative for his or her approachable and trustworthy nature to serve as an outlet for those who fear repercussions or stigma of exposing their struggles to program administrators. Ultimately, she hopes to create a model that other residency programs can implement easily to benefit emergency medicine residents at all programs.
Allison Luu, MD, MS
Dr. Allison Luu received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and is a current fourth year resident at Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center. While working in the LAC+USC Medical Center’s emergency department, Dr. Luu became quite concerned with the length of patient wait times that often resulted in patient’s leaving prior to being seen or leaving against medical advice in the middle of their evaluation. Along with ED attendings, residents, nurses, advanced practice providers, financial service workers, and medical students, Dr. Luu has worked to create innovative solutions to their workflow. Through identifying areas of bottleneck and redundancy, the team has implemented changes that have decreased wait times and ED length of stay despite an increase in patient volume. Inspired by this project, Dr. Luu plans to pursue further work within hospital administration.
Alison Marshall, MD
Dr. Alison Marshall received her medical degree from Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and is a current Chief Resident at Northwestern University. Personal experiences inspired Dr. Marshall both in her journey to become a physician and in her passion for the palliative care of cancer patients. Her project, “Addressing unmet palliative care needs of cancer patients through ED-based Palliative Interventions (EPIs),” is simple in its mission, to systematically connect cancer patients with existing ED services that address their unmet palliative care needs. It expedites the delivery of palliative services and ensures that patients who lack sufficient access have an alternative conduit to care. Ultimately, she and her colleagues seek to extend the reach of palliative care by utilizing the ED as both a novel arena for the delivery of multidimensional palliative interventions and a palliative care safety net.
Meghan Maslanka, MD
Dr. Meghan Maslanka received her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine and is a current fourth year resident at Louisiana State University Health System. Even prior to medical school, Dr. Maslanka worked extensively in disaster preparedness and management. After working through two mass casualty incidents (MCI) as a resident, she became inspired to create a MCI protocol for her emergency department. She created a MCI protocol and then gathered a multidisciplinary group of personnel representing EMS, nursing, residents, and faculty to review the plan by applying it to various MCI scenarios at a table top exercise. Her plan will then be presented to the hospital-wide MCI Task Force and may become the new official policy. Additionally, she is planning exercises that will be opportunities for her colleagues and co-workers to get hands on experience with handling an MCI in the ED so they are all better prepared and more confident in the event of another disaster.