1) To identify the strengths and challenges of governance structures in academic emergency medicine (EM), and 2) to make recommendations on principles and approaches that may guide improvements.
Over the course of 9 months, eight established EM leaders met by teleconference, reviewed the literature, and discussed their findings and experiences to arrive at recommendations on governance in academic units of EM. The results and recommendations were presented at the annual Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Symposium, where attendees provided feedback. The updated recommendations were subsequently distributed to the CAEP Academic Section for further input, and the final recommendations were decided by consensus.
The panel identified four governance areas of interest: 1) the elements of governance; 2) the relationships between emergency physicians and academic units of EM, and between the academic units of EM and faculty of medicine; 3) current status of governance in Canadian academic units of EM; and 4) essential elements of good governance. Six recommendations were developed around three themes, including 1) the importance of good governance; 2) the purposes of an academic unit of EM; and 3) essential elements for better governance for academic units of EM. Recommendations included identifying the importance of good governance, recognizing the need to adapt to the different models depending on the local environment; seeking full departmental status, provided it is mutually beneficial to EM and the faculty of medicine (and health authority); using a consultation service to learn from the experience of other academic units of EM; and establishing an annual forum for EM leaders.
Although governance of academic EM is complex, there are ways to iteratively improve the mission of academic units of EM: providing exceptional patient care through research and education. Although there is no one-size-fits-all guide, there are practical recommended steps for academic units of EM to consider.