Looking At the First 10 Years of Emirates Society of Emergency Medicine

Like many other countries around the world, emergency medicine has proven to be one of the fastest-growing specialties, including in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE government’s support took the country to another level and on Aug. 28, 2012, the Emirates Society of Emergency Medicine (ESEM) was established by a group of emergency physicians who recognized the necessity for a unified body dedicated to the advancement of emergency medicine practice and research. The official inauguration of ESEM occurred during the 10th Middle East Emergency Medicine Conference in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 14, 2012. This marked the culmination of concerted efforts to gather the specialty under one umbrella, paving the way for shared visions and collaborative strides in improving emergency medicine in the region.

The founding of ESEM was greeted with enthusiastic support from the emergency medicine community. Under the leadership of Dr. Saleh Fares Al-Ali, the first emergency physician from UAE to be certified by both the Canadian and American boards, the organization grew exponentially. Dr. Fares Al-Ali, who was later awarded the MEMC19 Founders Award during the Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress, dedicated the award to all Emergency Providers in the UAE and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region.

ESEM is committed to educating physicians, raising awareness of emergency medicine, and fostering collaboration among professionals in the field. Over the years, its range of initiatives has solidified its position as a pioneering institution. In alignment with ESEM’s mission to enhance and broaden the scope of emergency medicine in the United Arab Emirates, the society has conducted a large number of educational activities over the last decade. A notable achievement was ESEM’s co-organization of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine Trauma Update Symposium in 2015. These initiatives aim to equip physicians with an evidence-based approach and effective management strategies for common emergency-department scenarios.

ESEM hosted the second Global Network Collaborative Conference on Emergency Medicine in 2013 and organized its first large scientific conference in Dubai in December 2014. Since then, ESEM has been a consistent contributor in the field, organizing and participating in more than 48 conferences, along with its annual scientific conference. ESEM’s growth over the past years has been exceptional, marked by the implementation of community outreach programs and various social activities. These initiatives have helped expand ESEM’s reach and impact, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to improving emergency medicine services in the United Arab Emirates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ESEM swiftly took action to support the health care community. Recognizing the dire need for effective strategies, ESEM issued a comprehensive position statement detailing procedures for emergency departments and hospitals to effectively confront the health care challenges induced by the pandemic. Further, it participated in international virtual roundtables on COVID-19 to contribute expertise to the global conversation. ESEM hosted a series of informative webinars to facilitate knowledge sharing among the medical community, thereby playing an instrumental role in shaping a robust response to the crisis.