DREXEL HILL, Pa. — Christine Giesa, D.O., director of the Osteopathic Internship Program at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, was recently named president-elect of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP). Her two-year term concludes in late 2017, at which point she will begin a two-year term as president of the organization.
Giesa’s current role as president-elect enables her to learn the responsibilities that the upcoming position of president will entail. She travels with the current ACOEP president, John Prestosh, D.O., who continually updates her on current issues.
Prior to taking the title of president-elect, Giesa had been involved with ACOEP as a board member and conference chair. Yet, she acknowledges that the leadership role offers new challenges. “There is so much that goes on at an upper level that I was just not aware of. So that’s really the tough part of the learning curve,” she says.
Giesa sees the coming years as ones of major change in the medical field. Recent changes in accreditation rules require that all programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) by 2020. In addition to training students and residents, the ACOEP provides Continuing Medical Education (CME) for attending physicians. Therefore, “our most important focus, whether for me as president-elect or president, is keeping our college relevant and sustainable moving toward 2020,” Giesa says.
CME credits are not only intended for D.O.s. “They are for allopaths as well,” remarks Giesa, noting that the organization’s conferences are also attended by medical doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners. “We have M.D.s who want osteopathic recognition, so we offer training courses to bring them up-to-date so they can fully participate in a residency that has osteopathic relevance.” She points out that the 6,000-member strong organization is still small enough to be able provide personal connections for its members and conference attendees.
The ACOEP also works on advocacy for emergency physicians. Currently, the focus is on physician wellness in response to recent published concerns about physician burnout in emergency departments. The organization also studies current topics in the medical field, such as opiate dependency.
Throughout her terms as president-elect and president of ACOEP, Giesa will continue in her position as program director for the Osteopathic Rotating Internship at DCMH. In this role, she oversees the internship experience for 16 interns, providing classroom-based teaching and hands-on experience throughout the Crozer-Keystone Health System. About half of the interns in the program already have a residency arranged (most are in anesthesia, radiology, or physical medicine and rehabilitation), and are using the internship to fulfill the preliminary year before beginning that residency. The other half of her students did not match with a residency so they are spending the year bolstering their applications before reapplying for a residency. The program is based at DCMH, but interns rotate through pediatrics and the intensive care units at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. She also lectures to them three times per week. The program is part of the preparation that is necessary for the interns to match into residency programs. Giesa proudly notes that all of her interns have ultimately successfully matched into residency programs.
While most of the students in her program have not gone on to follow her footsteps in emergency medicine, Giesa acknowledges that her experience in leading the ACOEP is closely aligned with her job of training the next generation’s physicians. “I certainly have the opportunity to remind them where they came from, and who they are, and that the future of osteopathy is bright,” she says.
Giesa’s new position with the ACOEP is an opportunity that allows her to use the skills she has developed during a diverse and noteworthy career in emergency medicine, medical education, and osteopathic medicine, enabling her to confidently lead her peers through all of the coming changes in the field.
Visit crozerkeystone.org to learn more about the Crozer-Keystone Health System.
Photo caption: Christine Giesa, D.O.
Director, Public Relations and Marketing | Delaware County Memorial Hospital & Taylor Hospital