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When Judith Jacobi, PharmD, BCPS, FCCM, attended her first Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) meeting in 1983, she was just one of only a handful of pharmacists in attendance. Despite that, what surprised her was how welcoming the organization was to her and her colleagues. “It was apparent that we were welcomed as members of the critical care team,” Jacobi said. “It was affirming to see how SCCM thought about our role in critical care and to be welcomed and accepted so quickly.”
Jacobi joined SCCM in 1985 and has been deeply involved within the organization ever since. She has regularly donated to SCCM since 2003 and was honored to serve as SCCM president from 2010 to 2011.
Her first week as president was the same week as the devastating earthquake in Haiti that led to more than 220,000 deaths and more than 300,000 injuries. The Society did not have the ability to send a relief team—although many SCCM members did travel on their own to offer relief. What SCCM did have was its Judith Jacobi, PharmD, BCPS, FCCM Fundamentals courses.
As part of its mission to ensure the highest-quality care for critically ill and injured patients, SCCM uses educational activities like the Fundamentals courses to help prepare healthcare providers and future intensivists. These courses include Fundamental Disaster Management (FDM), Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS), and Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS).
Jacobi and SCCM utilized the Fundamentals courses to rapidly train providers in the Dominican Republic, who saw earthquake survivors travel across the border searching for medical care. “By using those Fundamental courses in the Dominican Republic, we were, in a small way, able to help with some of that relief,” Jacobi said. “Since then, the Fundamentals programs have been held around the world in a variety of underserved areas.” In fact, since 2013, SCCM has held 585 FCCS, FCCS: Tropical Diseases, PFCCS, and FDM courses in many resource-limited countries throughout much of South America, Africa, and Asia and has certified 17,974 healthcare providers in all four program areas.
Jacobi, who currently is a critical care pharmacist at Indiana University Health, has always understood the importance of educating others and giving back. She has reaffirmed both of these notions through her work with SCCM
“The more you have invested, whether it’s your volunteer time on committees, being engaged in programs, or a financial donation, the more you’re going to get out of it,” Jacobi said. “I recognize that not every member has the time to volunteer and be on committees, so being able to give a donation is good for the organization and gives you the opportunity to grow even more as a provider and practitioner.” SCCM makes it easy to donate. You can simply go to www.sccm.org/donate or donate when you renew your SCCM membership. Either way, your donation helps SCCM improve critical care medicine around the world and secure the highest-quality care for all critically ill and injured patients.
As she reflected on her 30-plus years with SCCM, Jacobi took pride in seeing how pharmacists have grown in stature within the organization. What was once a group of a few pharmacists has grown into a community of more than 1,600 pharmacists within the SCCM membership base.
“I’m always excited and encouraged when I see other groups come in and be involved,” Jacobi said. “The biggest thing is that all members of the critical care team be able to recognize that they have a home at SCCM, and potentially—hopefully—undergo the same level of growth that the pharmacists were able to experience.”