From Military Medic to GCEP Medical Director of the Year
- December 7, 2016
- ByAlison Coyle
Rolando Torres, MD Named GCEP 2016 ED Director of the Year
Rolando Torres, M.D., illustrates dedication to supporting others, both clinically and professionally, which has earned admiration by many who have crossed his path. So much so, that the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians (GCEP) recently named Dr. Torres the 2016 Emergency Department Director of the Year. From serving as an active-duty medical specialist in the U.S. Army, to climbing the ranks and eventually operating as a physician leader throughout his career, no one is more deserving of this great honor.
GCEP ED Director of the Year
GCEP recognizes its ED Director of the Year for demonstrating outstanding improvement in operational and clinical standards in quality, education, patient care, operational effectiveness and patient satisfaction. As a part of his recognition, physician leaders, advanced practice clinicians (APCs) and those who have been mentored by Dr. Torres wrote letters of praise. Many of them recognizing him for his compassion, focus on patient care, ability to foster potential and serve as a mentor, establishing a positive reputation and relationship in the community and his devotion to quality improvements.
“Dr. Torres has accomplished much for our department through the relationships he has created with local physicians and specialty groups,” said Courtney Kuennen, MPA, PA-C, DMS-1, Lead ED APC at University Hospital McDuffie. “Even more so, he has accomplished much in his unstinting dedication to building a cohesive, multi-departmental team. He has advocated for our department tirelessly since and takes time to speak to all staff members to understand their needs and concerns. He truly cares for those in his department and behaves with integrity and courtesy toward all.”
Transforming Emergency Medicine in McDuffie County
Dr. Torres has served as a physician and a leader for more than 20 years, much of his experience stemming from his service in the U.S. Army. He joined ApolloMD two years ago as the Emergency Department Medical Director for University Hospital McDuffie. Alongside his team, he served as a lead in many decisions from the ground up after a brand new 30 million dollar facility was built. He suggested improvements in staffing, such as bringing in APCs, something that was not available before. With his direction, the ED saw an increase in annual patient volume, while seeing a decrease in wait time and patients who left without being seen.
“Under Dr. Torres’ leadership, an antiquated hospital improved policies and procedures to mirror a state-of-the-art medical facility,” said Steve Currier, M.D., ApolloMD Regional Medical Director. “When the new 30 million dollar hospital was completed, Dr. Torres guided the transition to the new ER with no interruption in service. He has transformed Emergency Medicine in McDuffie County.”
A Service-Oriented Leader
Dr. Torres’ introduction to patient care was different than most. Through his military service, Dr. Torres devoted himself to patient care and became a service-oriented leader, characteristics he still portrays to his team.
“Dr. Torres goes above and beyond what is expected of an emergency department director, and he does so consistently, with passion for his craft, and a true dedication to the success of the department and his team,” said Kuennen. “He inspires trust and loyalty in all his staff and consulting departments. He is a consummate professional, a leader by example, and a person who I am privileged to know as both a mentor and as a friend.”
According to Dr. Torres, two areas make his job as an emergency medicine physician invaluable – his patients and his team.
“As a medical director, I always tell my staff I work for them,” said Dr. Torres. “I work to make sure they can focus on the more important aspect of their job, which is taking care of the patient.”
Dr. Torres is known to regularly mentor and teach soldiers, nurses and physicians. He is comfortable in a combat hospital caring for wounded warriors or in the pediatric ER as teaching staff, and expresses the importance of getting involved with all of those he mentors.
Advice for Aspiring Physician Leaders
“As a young physician, it is important to get involved with your hospital. Whether it is volunteering for committees or making sure the Emergency Department is involved in the decision-making that will directly affect you,” said Dr. Torres. “This gives you an insight of the inner working of hospitals, administration, and viewpoints of other departments. Just like dealing with our patients, nobody really cares what you think until they understand that you first care. If you make an effort to get involved, leadership opportunities will soon follow.”
Dr. Rolando Torres received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Cali. He then received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of Health Science in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Torres completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Darnall Army Community Hospital in Fort Hood, Texas. He also completed his Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.
Board certified in Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Dr. Torres currently serves as the Emergency Department Medical Director for University Hospital McDuffie in Thomson, Ga. Married to Deborah for 21 years and has four kids that he is very proud of. He is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians, the Government Services chapter of ACEP and the Christian Medical & Dental Association.