Gail Anderson: 1925 – 2014

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Anderson RMIn Memoriam: Gail Anderson, a founding father of emergency medicine, passed away in September

In Memoriam – Gail Anderson, Founding Father of Emergency Medicine
1925 – 2014


Anderson W

Gail Anderson, MD, passed away on September 6th. He was a giant in establishing the specialty of emergency medicine, yet few of the emergency physicians currently in their 30s and 40s are likely to have known of this great man. Gail was the Chairman of the Ob/Gyn department at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California until he was asked, in 1971, to chair the first department of emergency medicine in the world.
Gail took the reins and, as we say, the rest is history.

Here’s just a partial list of what this great leader accomplished:
• He was on the founding board of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. His ABEM number is 001!
• Acknowledging the coming importance of PAs, he developed a post-graduate training program for PAs in emergency medicine
• Gail was instrumental in establishing the first paramedic prehospital care system in the country for a large metropolitan area
• Gail was also a leader in the creation of the Los Angeles Country regional trauma care program
• Gail held multiple leadership position in the American College of Emergency Medicine and was the recipient of the James D. Mills Award for Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine
• Gail established liaisons with emergency medicine communities in multiple foreign countries and his department still has had an ongoing role in the development of emergency medicine in Chile and other regions of South America.


And, while accomplishing all of the above, and much more, he managed an emergency medicine department that saw well in excess of 100,000 patients a year and, in the process, created more board-certified emergency physicians than any program in the country.

Gail was a bear of a man, handsome, imposing, with a thunderous voice. If there was anyone who could advocate for emergency medicine at the behemoth medical center that the Los Angeles County was it was Gail. He was a born leader who embraced the fledgling specialty of emergency medicine at a time where leadership of the specialty was so essential

To Dr. Gail Anderson, we are all tremendously in your debt – all board-certified emergency physicians, the specialty of emergency medicine and our patients.
Well done.

May you rest in peace.


W. Richard Bukata, MD
LAC/USC Class of 1975

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