EPM Welcomes Incoming Editor-in-Chief Judith Tintinalli

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altIn her inaugural issue, we take a few minutes to learn a little bit about what makes this textbook author and world-renowned educator tick.

In her inaugural issue, we take a few minutes to learn a little bit about what makes this textbook author and world-renowned educator tick.


What are the major problems facing emergency medicine today?
Academically, EM is thriving in the US, UK and Australasia. However, we need to train clinicians and leaders for the practice of the future. We need to provide even more stimulation and opportunities for advanced training in the business and politics of medicine, so we can talk their talk and walk their walk. We can’t extend residency training any more than the current 3 or 4 years in the US, so we have to develop a better foundation for life-long learning (most learning will continue to be on-the-job). Too many EDs are under-resourced – not enough nurses, sick patients backed up in the waiting room, having to do exams in hallway beds. Some days I come to work in the ED and think, wow, this is just how it used to be in the old days at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Are we going forwards or backwards? Have you heard of the Utopian College of Emergency For Medicine? Google it.

Pet peeves about clinical medicine?
That’s easy – decision rules. The best of the best – like NEXUS, Ottawa rules and PERC – really help practice. But the proliferation of decision rules makes it hard to pick out the really good ones. Sometimes using rules shuts down your thinking. And often, the rules just don’t fit the patient in front of you.

What do you like most about emergency medicine?
I like the variety, the fast-yet-deliberate thinking, the social interactions with colleagues during a shift and the teamwork. I like the fact that it changes: the emergency medicine I practice today is quite different from what I did 5, 10, 20 years ago. And practice is different in an academic, community or rural hospital. It keeps you on your toes.


What would you change?
I don’t like the rigidity and conformity I see in medicine in general. I don’t like seeing services or departments still stuck in the ‘silo’ concept of medical care, where they do what is best for themselves, their service, their department without regard for other departments, YOUR patient. We need more OURS. Some of the vexing problems facing emergency medicine today, like boarding [see Rick Bukata’s review in this issue], are residuals of the ‘silo’ concept.

Why join Emergency Physicians Monthly?
EPM brings out the ‘joie de vivre’ of our specialty, and makes us think about what we do and how we do it. It’s a stimulating publication firmly rooted in reality. It highlights the clinical and administrative dilemmas of the individual physician. Decision-making – when one is alone in the ED, with the patient in front of you – this is the reality of our practice. And EPM isn’t afraid to say that not all decisions are black-and-white.


Dr. Judith Tintinalli takes over for Dr. Kevin Klauer, who had served as EPM’s editor-in-chief since 2008. Dr. Tintinalli will bring a new perspective to Emergency Physicians Monthly, working with a team of 28 editorial advisors to craft editorial that is personally and professional relevant to EPs in the field.


Dr. Tintinalli comes to EPM after decades of experience as a world-renowned educator. Tintinalli is currently a professor and Chair Emeritus of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina. In addition to teaching in the emergency medicine department, she is an adjunct professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a frequent lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Dr. Tintinalli was the founder and first president of the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors. She is a former president of ABEM as well as the Association of Academic Chairs in Emergency Medicine. She is a past winner of ACEP’s James Mills award as well as ACEP’s National Education Award. And she is the Editor-in-Chief of 7 editions of her eponymous textbook, which remains a staple of emergency medicine education.


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  1. In the late 70’s you were my editor for 8 chapters in the first edition of Tintinalli. Now 35 years later you are back to being my editor and ultimate boss. All the best boss!!! Greg Henry

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