Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Director of Undergraduate Medical Education
Associate Course Director – Doctoring Course
Temple University School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Dave Wald for several years now, working on projects and committees in Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine (CDEM) and SAEM. He is a true advocate for undergraduate medical education, and it is no surprise that he is the natural choice to be this year’s CDEM Chair. As much as those us on the Executive Committee of CDEM give him a hard time for his extremely long emails and gullibility (be sure to ask him about a recent $800 dinner bill we left him with), we can’t deny that Dave is a true outspoken leader in medical student education.
1. Dave, what’s your academic niche and how did you decide on it?
Currently, my interests lie primarily in undergraduate medical education. When I started at Temple University Hospital I became actively involved in our departments EM residency training program. At one time or another, I was involved in all aspects of residency administration. Although I still play a role in resident teaching, over the years I have transitioned the majority of my non-clinical time and emphasis to undergraduate medical education serving as Director of Undergraduate Medical Education in our department, EM Clerkship Director, and Associate Course Director, Doctoring Course for Temple University School of Medicine.
2. Wow, how did you manage to carve out this career path?
At times just being in the right place and getting involved can make a huge difference. About 6 years ago, I volunteered to take on the role of Chair of the SAEM Medical Student Educators Interest Group. This was a great opportunity to perform research with faculty at multiple institutions and start to develop a name for myself outside of my home institution. The relationships that I developed ultimately led to friendships and other opportunities. In the past 2.5 years I have been lucky to work with some of the best educators in our specialty and have from the ground up have been able to assist in the development of the Academy of Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine. It is amazing what can be accomplished with even just a few hardworking and motivated individuals.
3. Who were your mentors?
Mentors to me were Douglas McGee, DO (Prior EM Residency Director at Albert Einstein Medical Center) and Kip Wenger, DO, years back served as EM clerkship director at Einstein Medical Center.
4. What’s a project that you are working on now?
Presently, I am working on a number of projects. At my home institution, I am working to further incorporate simulation into the undergraduate curriculum. This is primarily focused on initiatives in the MS I and MS II years. For the past 2 years, I have worked with a small group of basic scientists to develop and refine a set of problem based exercises using high fidelity simulators. We continue to refine these exercises and to date have developed 6 exercises; diabetic ketoacidosis, ventricular tachycardia, complete heart block, asthma exacerbation, opioid overdose, and hemorrhagic shock.
5. What words of wisdom can you share with those interested in or just starting out in academics?
For those of you contemplating a career in academic EM my advice is to get involved early. Often just being enthusiastic, hardworking, and showing interest goes a long way. Find a mentor, most often this can be someone who has similar interests to help guide you along the path. Emergency medicine is perhaps the most proactive specialty for those interested in an academic career. The sky is the limit.