Chair's Report to the Board

International Advisory Board Chair: Dr. Brian Rowe

Welcome to the Third Annual Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute (SREMI) International Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting. Once again, 2017 has been a very busy year for the leadership team and staff of SREMI and I would like to provide an overview of these accomplishments.

Last year, we announced the Re‐Appointment of Dr. Bjug Borgundvaag as the Director of SREMI for a five-year period. This followed a rigorous process of feedback from SREMI staff and collaborators, leadership from Mount Sinai and North York General Hospital (NYGH) Departments of Emergency Medicine, SREMI IAB members and external stakeholders from the hospital and university.

This year, Dr. Howard Ovens ended his term as the Chief of the Schwartz-Reisman Emergency Medicine Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital after 30 years of impressive accomplishments, program expansion and academic leadership. His career was recently celebrated (but none of you were invited) at University of Toronto’s Hart House. This hasn’t meant he is just biking, sipping wine in Provence, and relaxing (although he is doing more of those things now). He is now the Chief Medical Strategy Officer for Sinai Health System and Medical Advisor for the Sinai Health Foundation. Howard will remain on the IAB, and his skills will continue to be needed and valued on the SREMI IAB.

On behalf of the Board and SREMI, I am pleased to say that the IAB membership remains stable. This role is critically important to the function and the accountability of SREMI and we greatly appreciate their contributions. To paraphrase the comments made by our benefactor, Gerry Schwartz, after our first IAB meeting, ‘we have an excellent IAB that’s already providing important contributions to SREMI.’

Building on the strong NYGH brand in continuing medical education, a very successful two-day conference was held in November 2016, co‐chaired by Dr. Kuldeep Sidhu and Dr. Howard Ovens. The conference featured several members of the IAB, and was a successful summit of national and international leaders in emergency medicine. Using the same format, the 2017 conference (November 28 and 29) is planned to follow the IAB meeting and will focus on current issues facing emergency department administration. A second full day dedicated to “managing risk while driving improvement” will occur on November 29, which will cover medical-legal and quality improvement issues in emergency department operations. Kuldeep will be providing an update from the NYGH perspective at the IAB meeting.

Another important activity of the SREMI team is the continued success of EM Cases ( Under the leadership of Dr. Anton Helman of NYGH and with SREMI support, EM Cases has had widespread dissemination within the EM community, with literally millions of global downloads of their monthly podcasts. Anton will be providing an update of EM Cases at the IAB meeting.

SREMI has had a busy year of research activities for the SREMI scientists and their collaborators. The focus areas include geriatrics and the ageing population, alcohol and other substance use disorders, mental health, shared decision-making, transitions of care and emergency care equity. SREMI’s Research Director, Ms. Shelley McLeod will be providing an update of research activities at the IAB meeting. We will also hear from two of SREMI’s clinician scientists, Dr. Catherine Varner and Dr. Aaron Orkin.

The leadership of SREMI has worked hard to develop a Strategic Plan for the Institute. I feel confident the direction is innovative and will expand the SREMI brand. Most importantly, it has a robust plan for career development, recruitment, research focus and knowledge translation that will help direct activities over the next five years. We look forward to discussing this document with you at the IAB meeting.

I have been in contact with the SREMI team and met with Dr. Ovens, Dr. Borgundvaag and Ms. McLeod throughout the year, and I am impressed with the progress achieved to date. Now entering its fourth year, SREMI continues to make major contributions to emergency medicine science and medical education, career development and knowledge translation. Following the second SREMI IAB meeting, I was able to participate in the EDAC meeting, and attend the mental health and addictions workshop, led by Dr. Ovens and Dr. Sidhu.

I am participating on the eCTAS Research Subcommittee where SREMI staff are taking leadership roles and the project has important national implications. I was witness to the productivity of SREMI at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) and other research meetings in 2017. The SREMI staff and products are rapidly becoming recognized as authoritative and trusted research partners in the national and international community.

My first appointment as the Chair of the Board has come to an end and I am saddened to inform the Board that I will not be seeking re-appointment to the Chair position. My appointment to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has consumed more of my time than expected, I have moved away from active emergency medicine research, and conflict of interest guidelines at CIHR preclude my further involvement. As you will see, SREMI has strong leadership, increasing prominence and excellent pipeline activity, so this is a good time to seek new leadership. Innovative thoughts, networking, and skills are needed now more than ever.

On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank Dr. Ovens, Dr. Borgundvaag, Ms. McLeod, and the entire SREMI team for their hard work, dedication and commitment to improving the lives of patients seeking care for acute illness, injury and mental health problems in emergency departments around the globe. It’s hard to communicate how important this work is, especially in these times of severe emergency department overcrowding, the emerging federal health issues (e.g., opioid crisis, pending cannabis legislation, suicide epidemic) and the special populations we serve (e.g., disadvantaged, new immigrant, and Indigenous people). The IAB members look forward to working with the leadership team to accomplish the important goals ahead.

Thank you for your participation in the third SREMI International Advisory Board Meeting!

Respectfully submitted,

Brian H. Rowe, MD, MSc, CCFP(EM), FCCP, FCAHS
Chair, SREMI International Advisory Board
Scientific Director, Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory, CIHR
Scientific Director, Emergency Strategic Clinical Network, AHS
Tier I Canada Research Chair in Evidence‐based Emergency Medicine
Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Alberta

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