3d puppet with a penSince 2006, I have been the ACEP News columnist on “Tricks of the Trade in Emergency Medicine. Four years later, I’ve published and co-published 33 articles on various both low-tech and high-tech pearls.

It’s official — I’ll be stepping down from the ACEP News columnist position and handing off the reins to someone with fresher ideas. Frankly, I’m running out of innovative ideas worth publishing about.

It was a tremendous opportunity for me to share some of my ideas with interested readers and I wanted to thank ACEP News, my editor at ACEP News (Terry Rudd) who fixed all my images and bad grammar, and Dr. Mary Jo Wagner (Synergy Medical Education Alliance) for trusting me to write the column.

Looking back, people have asked me how I came to be the Tricks of the Trade columnist. Like everything that I’ve done in academics, it’s all about 50% luck and 50% hard work.

I had worked on writing a few chapters for a 2005 textbook that Mary Jo was involved in. I kept to deadlines and worked hard to make the chapters as well-written and updated as possible. Concurrently, I was building my lecturing skills by speaking at various AAEM and ACEP conferences. It was at one of these conferences at Mary Jo curbsided me and asked if I was interested in writing something for ACEP News. It would be a new column intended to help practicing emergency physicians to troubleshoot common dilemmas and obstacles in the ED, using innovative tools and approaches. The only instructions I got were — Make it fun, make it practical, and include lots of photos.

It took me all of 2 seconds to overcome my insecurities and questions of “why me?” to jump at this awesome offer!

So if you too are looking for opportunities to get involved with various projects, I would say —

  • Keep an open mind (and ear) about interesting projects.
  • Always work hard. The quality of your work reflects directly on your skills, accountability, and reputation. Trust me — it’ll pay off in the long run.
  • Don’t burn bridges. You never know how your network of colleagues may help you down the road.
  • Attend 1-2 national conferences annually. It’s almost impossible to be present at these conferences and NOT get involved with meeting new people, listening to fascinating discussions, and joining collaborative endeavors.
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD