Manish N. Shah, MD, MPH, began his tenure as President of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Foundation (SAEMF) for the 2023-2024 term at the Society’s Annual Meeting, held in Austin, Texas, from May 16-19, 2023. Elected to the position by SAEM member peers, Dr. Shah’s diverse expertise and profound commitment to advancing emergency medicine research and education make him an exceptional fit for this prestigious national leadership role.
The SAEMF is the largest emergency medicine-based foundation in the nation dedicated to supporting innovative researchers and expert educators in academic emergency medicine. The Foundation directly supports those at the forefront of scientific discovery by awarding nearly $700,000 in grants annually. These grants ensure the continued growth of a vibrant community of scientists and educators dedicated to improving emergency patient care.
As a pioneer in geriatric emergency medicine, Dr. Shah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. He is the Chair of the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, where he is also a professor of emergency medicine, geriatrics, and population health sciences.
As a clinician, researcher, and educator, Dr. Shah has dedicated his career to improving prehospital and emergency department care delivered to acutely ill older adults, particularly individuals living with dementia. His pioneering efforts have helped to establish and advance the fields of geriatric emergency medicine and community paramedicine. Over his career, Shah has authored more than 175 publications and received over $150 million in grants and contracts as principal or co-investigator.
Dr. Shah is also a dedicated mentor focused on training and developing academic emergency medicine faculty and trainees, particularly researchers, and until recently led the NIH-funded KL2 Scholars Program at UW–Madison.
“I am honored to pass the presidential torch to Dr. Shah this year,” says J. Adrian Tyndall, MD, MPH, professor and dean, Morehouse School of Medicine, and president, SAEMF (2022-2023). “I have the utmost confidence in him as a leader of the SAEM Foundation. He has both the scientific and research knowledge to effectively guide the Foundation, and his long-standing history with SAEM gives him important perspectives of the organization’s role in building the careers of academic emergency physicians.”
As President, Shah will undertake several vital responsibilities. Working closely with the staff and the SAEM Grants Committee, he will explore new grant opportunities and collaborations, oversee the grants funded by the SAEMF, and spearhead fundraising efforts to support the Foundation’s mission.
Shah has expressed his excitement about the SAEMF and its transformative impact on the field of academic emergency medicine, saying, “I am particularly proud of the career development grants, as these jump start the careers of our researchers and put them on the path to NIH funding.” He also acknowledges the outstanding staff of the SAEMF, noting that their expertise and dedication will facilitate the seamless execution of his responsibilities.
With a deep understanding of the challenges involved in developing a successful NIH-funded research career, Shah will provide invaluable guidance and support to the next generation of researchers. His passion for fostering research talent will also be a driving force in advancing the field of emergency medicine as it faces a rapid transformation, with new technologies and care models being implemented to enhance patient outcomes.
“I truly understand the challenges of developing a successful NIH-funded research career, having struggled myself,” notes Shah. “I hope to bring this deep understanding, combined with my passion to support the next generation of researchers, to truly impact the trajectory of individuals in the early stages of their careers.”
Although optimistic, Dr. Shah recognizes the real challenges facing the field today, and aims to lead the SAEMF in addressing these issues. He emphasizes the importance of leveraging innovation and scientific discovery to drive advancements in emergency care and to meet the evolving needs of patients.
He also acknowledges the significant challenges faced by underfunded areas within the field, such as a shortage of emergency medicine-trained physicians focusing on research careers, less NIH grant funding going toward emergency medicine research compared to other medical specialties, and the need to develop education research as a rigorous field of inquiry.
Dr. Shah’s election as President of the SAEMF represents a remarkable opportunity to further the Foundation’s mission. With his exceptional leadership qualities and dedication to the field, Dr. Shah will help to ensure that emergency medicine continues to evolve and thrive for the benefit of patients worldwide.