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A Special Tribute to Pat Gallagher by Dr. Peter Wyer

02/20/2022 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Dear Chapter Members,

I would like to share a great and touching tribute written by Dr. Peter Wyer from the New York Academy of Medicine to honor Pat for her contributions to NYAM. Thanks, --Yingting

Patricia E Gallagher In Memoriam 

On behalf of the New York Academy of Medicine, Section on Evidence-Based Health Care, as well as her colleagues at the National Library of Medicine who knew her best, such as Stephen Greenberg, we would like to extend our condolences to the family of Pat Gallagher. Pat was an amazing colleague and friend to us and our Section, and we miss her already. 

A special tribute from Peter Wyer 

I knew and collaborated with Pat Gallagher over a 25-year period beginning in 1996.  At that time she was a prominent member of the library staff of the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and the leading proponent at the Academy of the emerging field of evidence based medicine (EBM) and clinical practice. I was a NYAM Fellow at that time and had met her as a result of establishing ties with several New York medical academics who were teaching at the annual McMaster EBM Workshop. They were preparing to launch a parallel effort in New York City which would be based at the Academy. A pilot workshop in 1996 led to the securing of a three-year grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) which supported a series of workshops beginning in 1998 and the development of an electronic EBM Resource Center.  The NYAM library served as the home of this project and Pat’s presence at NYAM made the whole thing possible.  These efforts constituted the first organized teaching and dissemination of EBM skills in the New York region. 

The NYAM and McMaster workshops spawned a second generation effort and workshop series at the Academy beginning in 2001 after the initial NLM funding expired.  Pat became a member of a core group made up of myself and several other emergency physicians. She had spearheaded the incorporation of librarian facilitators into the small group learning workshop format and we adopted the same approach, which was eventually followed at the McMaster Workshop as well.  Pat maintained a wide network of contacts within the New York librarian community, as well as nationally, as a result of her active role in the Medical Librarian Association. She organized and coordinated this aspect of our workshop series, a role that continued with the advent of the third generation of EBM related workshops at NYAM, called “Teaching Evidence Assimilation for Collaborative Healthcare (TEACH)” in 2009.  She also played a key role in securing charitable access to electronic resources and databases for our workshop participants and faculty during the events.  

I had the privilege of collaborating with Pat on projects beyond the NYAM workshop efforts.  She co-authored, and helped design, a four-part series of articles aimed at emergency physicians on the use of electronic resources.  These were published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, the leading peer reviewed journal in this specialty, between 2002 and 2003.  She also spearheaded the development of a librarian reviewer pool for the journal during the same period.  Librarians having skills and experience in the area of systematic reviews became part of a specialist reviewer panel and were available to editors such as myself to review structured searches submitted as part of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. This capability was unique among emergency medicine journals and way ahead of its time within peer reviewed medical journalism in general. 

Pat Gallagher was one of the most generous and selfless individuals I have ever known and worked with. Throughout some 20 years of active collaboration as summarized above, she never asked anything for herself.  Indeed, I and others had to virtually cajole her into allowing us to nominate her for NYAM Fellowship and she only agreed to apply after the establishment of our Section on Evidence Based Health Care at the Academy in 2008.  Her application was, of course, immediately accepted.   I can say without hesitation that, without the groundwork laid by Pat’s early teaching efforts at NYAM, as well as her ongoing encouragement, support and multiple areas of facilitation,  the formation of our Section would not likely have come to pass.  She will be sorely missed. 

P Wyer, Co-chair NYAM Section on Evidence Based Health Care and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, December 2021 and Section Member Barnet (Barney) Eskin, Arlene Smaldone, Sharron Close, Judy Honig, Pat Quinlan, Ed Suh, fellow “library conspirator” Dorice Vieira, and the many members who have participated in EBHC on whom you have left an everlasting impression. 

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