The award is given to current or past national leaders in recognition of outstanding leadership in emergency medicine. Its namesake, the late John G. Wiegenstein, M.D., was a founding member and the first president of the ACEP. Dr. Wiegenstein died in 2004 as the result of a car accident. According to the ACEP, Wiegenstein represented “the epitome of leadership, both personal and professional.”
A native of Wheeling, Dr. Blum has been on the faculty at WVU for 26 years. He completed his undergraduate and medical degrees and his residency training at WVU. Though he always knew he wanted to stay in the state, Blum said he went into academic medicine because of the intellectual stimulation of teaching students and residents. “That sealed the deal for me,” he said.
Blum said he chose to pursue emergency medicine because of the variety it brings to the table. “It’s a different job every day. There’s no routine to it,” he said. “Every day has its own flavor and vibe to it.”
Initially, Blum pursued active roles in organizations such as the ACEP and the International Federation of Emergency Physicians because he felt the need to make a difference and help fix the problems facing the specialty. He served as president of the ACEP in 2005.
Receiving the Wiegenstein Award, he said, is the pinnacle of the specialty in terms of award recognition. “It’s not an automatic thing that you receive this award after you’ve served as president, so it really is an honor,” Blum said. “You only get this award because of what you did. It’s recognition of the fact that you were a good and effective leader. And that means a lot to me.”
Blum knew Wiegenstein, whom he called one of the fathers of emergency medicine, and he said that made receiving the award even more special. “Not many people can say they know the person that paved the way for their specialty, but I can. Although he wasn’t here to see me win the award, it was still very special,” Blum said.
Blum was one of 10 recognized at the ACEP’s annual meeting, Scientific Assembly, which is the largest gathering of emergency medicine physicians in the country each year. The awards were presented Oct. 17 in San Francisco.
Other award winners with ties to WVU included School of Medicine alumna Debra G. Perina, M.D., who received the Outstanding Contribution in EMS Award, and College of Law alumna Leah J. Heimbach, J.D., R.N., who received the Honorary Membership Award for outstanding service to the medical profession.
Founded in 1968, the ACEP promotes the highest quality of emergency care and is the leading advocate for emergency physicians and their patients, and the public. The ACEP currently represents more than 28,000 emergency physicians, emergency medicine residents and medical students.
For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087