“ I learned on the job—how to interview, and vet people, looking at the details not just at the care of patients, but in improving patient flow in the ED,” he recalls. During his years as vice chair, interim chair, and now chair, Dr. Eisenstein has researched systems efficiency to achieve optimal care and recruited faculty with expertise in emergency medical services, critical care, research, education, toxicology, and emergency ultrasound. But while the details of leading a department may have been learned on the job, his chosen profession might have given him an advantage, he suggests, noting that the temperament and many of the abilities that are conducive to the practice of emergency medicine lend themselves to the duties of chair. “Being able to get along with everybody, having to make connections very quickly, the need to figure out what is happening with the patient in the span of perhaps five or 10 minutes sometimes—that nature can really translate into the skills that are needed for negotiating with other specialists, identifying and resolving problem issues or the need for new programs to better serve patients, and managing staff personalities and needs,” Dr. Eisenstein says. “Now,” he adds matter-of-factly, “I don’t know anything else.” A member of the inaugural class of the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine’s Chair Development Program, Dr. Eisenstein has also put those leadership skills to use on the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) for the past five years, currently serving as chapter president. He is also a fellow in ACEP and a member of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. evaluation to determine the root of the problem, followed by the decision about how to treat it. That sense of facing the unknown and handling whatever the day throws at you, regardless of circumstances, is exemplified in a critical situation Dr. Eisenstein encountered at the beginning of his medical career, one that remains for him “one of the scariest and most rewarding I ever had.” He was working at a community hospital when a mother came running into the ED with a drooling, 5- to 6-year-old boy in her arms. The child had been playing on the family’s front steps when he discovered a soda can and drank from it, not realizing that someone had put liquid drain cleaner in the can. “It was eating away at his vocal cords. We needed to intubate. The hospital didn’t have pediatrics, and you didn’t have to intubate kids all that often. There was no backup, nobody else to help,” Dr. Eisenstein says. After dealing with the issue as best they could, they were able to transfer the child to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for further treatment. Months later, Dr. Eisenstein saw the boy, who was doing fine. “When you’re young and by yourself, and you have to face this type of situation, these are the things that stand out to you,” he says. Today, Dr. Eisenstein maintains a limited clinical schedule, working every Monday in the ED—typically the busiest day of the week. “Since I do clinical care less than other members of the department, I try to schedule myself for the busiest times to help out,” he explains. T By Leaps and Bounds o that end, Dr. Eisenstein is far more likely to emphasize the achievements of his team and the department as a whole than to focus on any personal accomplishments. Y Finding His Passion et a career in emergency medicine was not always a given. Like many physicians, Dr. Eisenstein did not settle on his chosen specialty until years after realizing that medicine was his calling. Although he once harbored thoughts of a career in veterinary medicine, he was drawn to a hospitalbased career during his junior and senior years of high school after working in the emergency department at a local hospital to earn college credits. The job provided him with the opportunity to view an autopsy, observe cases, and assist in the ED. It was during his fourth-year rotation in emergency medicine at the University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School (now part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science) that he knew he’d found his niche, from the rapid pace of the emergency environment to the fact that it centers on his favorite part of patient encounters: the initial The dramatic growth that the department has achieved in a relatively short time is a particular source of pride, he says, as is the team’s ability to “stay ahead of the curve.” “We’re still very young as a department, but we’ve taken huge strides,” says Dr. Eisenstein. Those advances have manifested themselves in a variety of areas, from the expansion of clinical services and programs, such as the development of a clinical toxicology service, to a concerted effort to increase department members’ grant-funded research and contributions to peer-reviewed journals. A published researcher in several peer-reviewed journals, books, and abstracts, as well as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Emergency Medicine and Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Eisenstein has focused his research efforts on efficiency, while other members of the department have been involved in studies regarding critical care issues, as well as working collaboratively on research with individuals from other specialties, 22 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE