Dr. Michael Carius
Carius, an ACEP past president and a major EMF donor, names three elements critical for the successful evolution of a medical specialty: “One is the evolution of training programs, one is a board-certification process, and the third element is specialty-specific research.”
He contributes to EMF because “research is one of the things that validate the specialty. Supporting research is a way of perpetuating the specialty.”
Carius, who graduated from medical school in 1973, comments that many young physicians don’t remember what it was like before emergency medicine was a specialty. Emergency medicine was not an option when he completed medical school. Calling himself a “born again ER doc,” he reports that he practiced as a family physician and flight surgeon in the military for seven years before he trained in emergency medicine at USC/LAC Medical Center in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
Initially, Carius made his EMF donations through the check-off box on the ACEP dues statement. But as he became more involved in the ACEP leadership—first in the Connecticut chapter and later on the ACEP Board of Directors, he became more aware of EMF’s activities and role in research and increased his donation.
Service on EMF board gives insight to funding
In addition to serving on the EMF Board of Trustees from 2001 through 2006, Carius chaired the foundation in 200203. He observes that the role of the board has become much more complex and participatory over the years, both in the process of selecting projects and in fundraising.
As an example of the board’s active role, he describes one of the board’s fiduciary initiatives. “Several years ago it became apparent that the funding of projects was going to exhaust the foundation’s equity, so we came up with a mechanism that would allow us to tap into equity without extinguishing it. We said we would fund projects up to the amount of money available from current contributions, and would add only a certain percentage of money from the equity fund.” Asked if this limited the funding of projects, he said, “Actually, we found we were able to fund all of them by following this formula.”
Although modest about his leadership contributions, Carius was responsible for restructuring and focusing the three meetings the EMF board has each year. The summer meeting is focused on strategic planning, while at the fall meeting the trustees attend to business matters, including reports from financial advisors, officer elections, and policy changes. The early spring meeting is when the board considers the recommendations from the Scientific Review Committee regarding which research applications to fund.
Since his stint with the EMF Board, Carius was asked to serve on the board of the Emergency Nurses Association Foundation and enjoys his continued association with research funding. He says he has been able to use what he learned as an EMF board member in working with the ENA Foundation. His advice: Every emergency physician should contribute annually to EMF as a way of both participating in the research of the specialty and ensuring its continuation and success.