Advancing gender diversity in the medical field is the driving force behind USACS’ emphasis on being a women’s destination. Our female physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) are integral members of our community as they provide expertise, leadership, and perspective to enhance our mission of caring for patients. Though there are several internal outlets to support our female physicians and APPs, like the longstanding Women’s Resource Group, we emphasize the value of participating in external women-focused groups and organizations as well.
For many of our female physicians who are members of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), this participation comes in the form of joining the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP) section of ACEP. AAWEP aims to provide support, guidance, and education in both personal and professional leadership skills for women in emergency medicine, making it an ideal opportunity to pursue.
This especially rang true for USACS physician Rebecca Kornas, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, as she hit the ground running upon completion of her residency program in 2015, looking for ways to be involved in emergency medicine beyond the bedside.
“I began attending the AAWEP section meetings, which are held during the annual ACEP Scientific Assembly conference, and enjoyed the topics of discussion and camaraderie,” said Dr. Kornas. “More recently, AAWEP started offering virtual events throughout the year, including their summer webinar series with several powerhouse emergency medicine leaders who shared their expertise and insights on relevant topics in the field, making it easier to stay connected between annual assemblies.”
The webinar topics ranged from using helpful tools to feel empowered, confident, and optimistic about time management, negotiation pearls for female physicians to use in clinical and administrative settings, and even a panel discussion focused on the development of women leaders at the local level. In addition to the webinars, USACS partnered with AAWEP to host the Power Up: Women in Emergency Medicine Leadership Workshop at the ACEP headquarters in Washington, D.C., this past February. The workshop inspired Dr. Kornas to further engage with the AAWEP opportunities available and led her to discover the Community EM Champion award.
“I learned about the application for the Community EM Champion award a few days before the deadline and decided it was worth a shot,” said Dr. Kornas. “I reached out to several of my USACS colleagues for their assistance in completing the application and they were able to make their submissions in time. To my surprise, my application was selected and I received notification of being named the recipient of the award.”
Each year, the AAWEP Community EM Champion award is presented to a female emergency physician who practices in a community-based hospital and demonstrates exceptional leadership and service to her community, hospital, or group. Dr. Kornas was presented with the award during the annual ACEP Scientific Assembly hosted in Philadelphia, PA, earlier this month.
“It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of this award as I always strive to give everything I’ve got to my team and to our patients,” said Dr. Kornas. “I am grateful for the support from my fellow colleagues and can’t thank them enough for rallying behind me to make this award a reality!”
Dr. Kornas has been with USACS, beginning with a legacy group, since 2015 and has been an active member in the organization since day one. In 2016, Dr. Kornas was selected to participate in the USACS Scholars Program but elected to defer until the following year as she had the opportunity to cross off a bucket list item—hiking the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. After taking the trip of a lifetime and successfully completing the climb, Dr. Kornas jumped right back into her career endeavors and completed the Scholars Program in 2018. Immediately following the program, Dr. Kornas took on a leadership role at several partner sites in Colorado prior to stepping into her current role as Medical Director at AdventHealth Avista in Louisville, CO.
As a graduate of the Scholars Program, Dr. Kornas was recently offered the opportunity to join the second cohort of the new Directors EDGE Program, created by Chief of Clinician Engagement, Jayne Kendall, MD, MBA, FACEP, CDE, CPE, to further enhance her leadership skills. Dr. Kornas is eager to begin the program as she has an interest in learning more about the business side of medicine and has toyed with the idea of pursuing her MBA. The Directors EDGE Program is an ideal steppingstone for pursuing this path as it incorporates curriculum focused on the administrative and business components of the industry. In addition to her USACS leadership role, Dr. Kornas also serves as a Councillor for the Colorado ACEP Chapter and is the president-elect for next year. Though her plate is full, Dr. Kornas couldn’t imagine it any other way as she is passionate about her work and contributing to the field of emergency medicine.
“I love staying engaged because it makes me feel like I am contributing and helping to the best of my abilities. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, so I want to honor my efforts by making a difference,” said Dr. Kornas. “I think advocating on behalf of my patients and my emergency medicine colleagues is where I see a synergy of all my energy, enthusiasm, and understanding of medicine. This translates well into my desire to become even more involved in administration to help make the most profound difference. I look forward to what my future in emergency medicine with USACS holds.”