Emergency Medicine Holds First Dr. Lorna M. Breen Annual Lecture

April 27, 2021
Lorna M. Breen, MD
Lorna M. Breen

The first Dr. Lorna M. Breen Annual Lecture was held April 21 by the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons to honor the memory of Lorna M. Breen, MD, VP&S assistant professor of emergency medicine at CUMC and medical director of emergency medicine at NYP Allen Hospital, who died April 26, 2020. 

“Dr. Breen epitomized the role of physician-educator and made enduring contributions to the operations and teaching programs of the Department of Emergency Medicine,” said Angela Mills, MD, the J.E. Beaumont Professor at CUMC and Chair of Emergency Medicine at VP&S. 

“She dedicated herself throughout her career to continual self-development as a clinician and administrator. She pursued her diverse interests with an enthusiasm, purpose, and intensity that continue to be an inspiration to us today. The Dr. Lorna Breen Annual Lecture seeks to honor her memory and legacy by inviting similarly successful leaders and promoting many of her passions, including professional development, a love of learning, and an understanding that continued growth is paramount to the success of committed leaders.”

The speakers at the inaugural lecture were Carol A. Cunningham, MD, state medical director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services, and associate professor of emergency medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and Judith Tintinalli, MD, professor, chair emeritus of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and founder and first president of the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine.

dr._lorna_m._breen_lecture_2021

Update on Dr. Breen Act

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild, Jennifer Breen Feist, and Corey Feist provided updates on the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which Sen. Kaine recently reintroduced into the Senate. The act aims to prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals.

“The Breen Act is supported in both houses of Congress in a very bipartisan way,” Kaine said. “As part of the American Rescue Plan that we just passed, we were able to receive $140 million of funding for programs to provide mental health assistance to keep our front-line health care providers healthy. Now we're on to the next step, which is to get the Breen Act passed, so that the funding can be allocated in the most appropriate way to deal with the mental health needs of our health care professionals.”

The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation—co-founded by Corey Feist and his wife, Jennifer Breen Feist, Dr. Breen’s sister—has also worked to promote passage of the act, Feist said at the event. Corey and Jennifer Feist appeared on “The Today Show” on Tuesday, April 27, to raise awareness of the act. Jennifer Breen Feist will submit testimony to the Senate Health Committee, which will begin to debate the legislation later this week.

Inaugural Dr. Lorna Breen Leadership Award

Edward H. Suh, MD

At the end of the event, Edward H. Suh, MD, VP&S assistant professor of emergency medicine at CUMC, was presented with the first Dr. Lorna Breen Leadership Award for his work on improving clinical operations, quality, and safety in the emergency department at Allen Hospital. Suh has been assistant medical director for the Allen Hospital Emergency Department since 2015 and has served as interim medical director over the past year. 

The annual lectureship honoring Dr. Breen is supported by donations with a goal of permanently endowing the lectureship to ensure that the event will exist in perpetuity. Those interested in honoring Dr. Breen’s legacy may visit the Department of Emergency Medicine’s giving page.