Post by Rick Dasilva

In this episode of EM Over Easy we are coming from the ACOEP 2021 spring seminar with our hosts Andy, John and Drew with our special guest Rick Pescatore. Our hosts in this episode discussed why EM physicians are the most adapted for public health in regards to their skill set, ability to make decisions along with understanding little information about a lot. In popular terms EM physicians are the “Jack of all trades”.  Also discussed in this episode is how public health is also now being heavily influenced in the emergency departments given the pandemic. Although there is a heavier influence of public health in the emergency departments given COVID-19, there are still many ways EM physicians practice in terms of public health and assist the surrounding population.


EM Physicians in Public Health

Rick and our host in this episode had described it best with EM physicians being more than well equipped for public health with how they are in their daily practice of medicine. This would include what is practiced in the emergency department to help out the surrounding population with needs of their chronic illnesses to appropriate follow ups. EM physicians are more than well equipped for public health with the following:

  • Their given skill set
  • Ability to make decisions on limited info as they are able to adapt with knowing a little bit information with the ability to do a lot on little information
  • Understanding vulnerable populations, which has been very helpful in COVID
  • Good Insight versus other specialties as they are very efficient in critical care and efficiency
  • Adapting to the situation operational and rapid intake of information
  • Understanding Imperfections, knowing the COVID tests are not always accurate, knowing not everything done is perfectly done


Why Public Health

  • Public health is an excellent job source for EM physician
  • Public health being in the lane of EM physicians with their
    • Acquired skill set
    • Already assisting the vulnerable populations
    • Questions now asked and even prior in history taking are public health questions
      • Vaccination status
      • If the person was in contact with someone infected with COVID
    • Why Now
      • Because now is the time most needed given the pandemic
      • EM job markets are decreasing with public health increasing
    • How does one get involved
      • Moonlighting
      • Volunteering in community clinics
      • Educating patients on misinformation
      • Helping patients with simply getting vaccinated and getting them to the appropriate site/follow up


Take Away from Public Health

EM physicians are already practicing in their own way public health in EDs as they help the  populations as the ED is the only source of healthcare for some people. They are helping with prescribing medications needed for chronic illnesses or infections. Similar to public health providers, EM physicians are able to assist patients in appropriate follow up like geriatrics or even cardiology/PCP. With the EM job market shrinking, this gives EM providers a great option for a job opportunity in public health with their given skill set.


Listen to the Episode


About our Guest

Rick Pescatore, DO, FAAEM, an trained emergency medicine physician who is currently the chief physician and the Director in Delaware’s division of Public Health. Rick had once managed a pain management clinic prior to his current position who also works per diem in emergency departments.


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Episode 103 EM and Public Health

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