From Derry To Desert

‘More People Get Hit’
By Barbara Trainin Blank

Holliman in Afghanistan

Holliman in Afghanistan

For the past 10 years, C. James Holliman has been MC of the ceremony bestowing a prestigious award of the American College of Emergency Physicians. This year, the protocol may have to change: Holliman himself is the 2012 recipient of the James D. Mills Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine Award.

He is being honored for his life’s work in developing the specialty of emergency medicine in other countries.

After graduating Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Holliman completed a burn-research fellowship as part of a General Surgery program. He staffed multiple helicopter and fixed-wing medevac missions during his residency.

“Initially, I was interested in a surgical residency, but if I had chosen that, I wouldn’t have been able to stay married,” quips Holliman, currently Professor of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine in Bethesda, Md.

He and the former Karen Juranas have two grown children. The couple moved to Pennsylvania in 1985 and has maintained a Derry Township home since.

Holliman joined a new group of emergency physicians at a community hospital emergency department in West Jordan, Utah, his home state, and later worked in a similar capacity in Reading. In 1989, he embarked on an academic career in EM by joining the staff of Hershey Medical Center.

“After attending my first international EM conference a year later, I realized the need for developing this specialty in other countries throughout the world, and decided to make this a central focus of my career,” he says.

Holliman founded and operated the Penn State Center for International Emergency Medicine and the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program to train EM faculty from a multitude of other countries. He served as associate EM residency director at Hershey for several years, using this experience to develop residency programs abroad.

One of Holliman’s major career activities has been to promote an interest in international EM activities among students, residents, and junior faculty and to assist them in obtaining opportunities.

Having served as a medical volunteer in Operations Desert Shield and Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Holliman worked full time from 2007 to 2011 for the U.S. military on a project developing healthcare planning and training for Afghanistan.

The Mills is ACEP’s highest award. It will be presented to Holliman at the organization’s Annual Scientific Assembly in October in Denver.

Holliman also has received numerous honors from ACEP, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and other organizations, including the Humanitarian Award from the International federation for Emergency Medicine for his work in developing countries.

At its recent 14th International Conference in Dublin, Holliman was elected President-Elect of IFEM – the world’s largest international emergency medicine organization. He will serve in that capacity for two years, and as President for four.

Holliman believes ER is growing in importance.

“Researchers have looked at the number and severity of disasters, and they’re increasing,” he says. “You have climate change, and the fact that the world’s population has doubled – so more people get hit by any disaster.”

The physician also sees EM as a bridge for peace and national stability programs worldwide.

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