SAN DIEGO – Cmdr. (Dr.) Michael Matteucci, Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director, is being recognized for his contributions to shaping the future of emergency medical care. He has been selected as the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student Association’s (AAEM/RSA) 2013 Program Director of the Year. Matteucci will be presented with the award during the 19th Annual Scientific Assembly in Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 9-13.
This annual award recognizes an emergency medicine program director who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of emergency medicine as well as to the American Academy of Emergency Medicine,according to the AAEM/RSA website.
Matteucci was selected for the award Dec. 20, 2012 out of eight eligible candidates.
Dr. Leana Wen, President of AAEM/RSA, revealed the reason behind Matteucci’s nomination.
“The Program Director of the Year award recipient is nominated by a resident who believes the nominee exemplifies strong leadership and dedication in emergency medicine, as well as the ability to mentor emergency medicine trainees. We are proud to present the award this year to Dr. Matteucci,” said Wen.
Matteucci was nominated by Lt. Cmdr. James Liang, who began the emergency medicine residency program September 2009 and following his graduation this month, will assume the role of emergency room staff physician at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. Liang submitted Matteucci’s name for this prestigious award because of his unparalleled commitment to his students’ growth both as physicians and naval officers.
In his nomination letter to the AAEM, Liang wrote that Matteucci was the ideal mentor for emergency residents preparing for the demands of a busy emergency room or for the battlefield. Not only was Matteucci a highly dedicated professional committed to motivating his residents to strive for excellence, he also possessed the gift of being able to make complex subjects more understandable.
Matteucci was also instrumental in ensuring his residents were well-rounded as officers and medical professionals, explained Liang.
“He prepared us for the role of community physicians who treat many patients, while also making it a priority of his to develop a military-unique curriculum to prepare us for the realities of combat,” he said.
This unique curriculum was comprised of a series of lectures focusing on operational medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief care, and wilderness medicine, Liang explained in his letter. In addition, Matteucci instituted new rotations in anesthesia and trauma care.
Matteucci, a native of Sunnyvale, Calif. who has been in the Navy nearly 18 years, shared the secret to his success.
“I treated the residents as adults, with respect, and gave them enough leeway to individualize their training programs, but not so much that they’d fail,” he said.
Training is the key to the future of Navy Medicine, he added.
“It’s a force multiplier. By taking care of the residents it increases my impact on the world. And I’m not going to be here forever. It’s about teaching what you’ve learned and how to avoid the mistakes you’ve made.”
Matteucci added mentoring and teaching professionals bears a striking similarity to parenting.
“From start to finish, their successes and failures are a reflection on me and how well I prepared them for what’s ahead,” he said. “It’s gratifying to go from them being unsure and me having to stand over their shoulder, to knowing I can trust them to take care of my loved ones and really being experts in their field.”
Matteucci expressed what it means to him to be nominated as AAEM/RSA’s Program Director of the Year for 2013.
“It means the efforts I’ve made to improve the medical education of our residents and students are appreciated by the ones who are directly affected by the programs and policies I’m responsible for,” he said.
Matteucci received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and his medical degree from Chicago Medical School with a specialty in medical toxicology. He began working at NMCSD in June 2006 and in the summer of 2010 assumed his current position as the emergency medicine residency program director. Since then, Matteucci and his staff have guided approximately 40 residents on the path to becoming emergency medicine physicians.
AAEM was established in 1993 to promote fair and equitable practice environments necessary to allow emergency physicians to deliver the highest quality of patient care. The AAEM/RSA Program Director of the Year award was first presented in 2001. This year will mark the 19th iteration of the Scientific Assembly and the 19th emergency medicine physician to be nominated as Program Director of the Year.
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