Emergency Medicine Organizations Herald New Office of Emergency Care Research at NIH as An Investment in the Future

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) today lauded the announcement by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) about the creation of a new Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR) as a gift to emergency patients everywhere.  The NIH is the largest federal agency dedicated to medical research.  The formation of the OECR has been heralded as a significant advance for emergency medicine investigators and emergency patients.

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"This is a landmark event for emergency care research," said David Seaberg, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  "It would not have been possible without longstanding leadership by and collaboration among ACEP, SAEM and many individual emergency physicians dedicated to advancing emergency care through research."

"The creation of the OECR is a major step forward for emergency patients whose illnesses and injuries cross the whole spectrum of medicine, from neurology to trauma to pediatrics," said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, past president of SAEM.  "The unique challenges of emergency medicine finally have one home at the national level committed to studying key issues affecting the 136 million patients who visit emergency departments every year."

A dedicated centralized office for emergency care research was called for in previous research reports issued by ACEP and SAEM and was a key recommendation of the IOM Report on Emergency Care issued in 2006.  In addition, the immediate past president of SAEM, Jill Baren, MD, MBE, FACEP, FAAP, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. hailed the announcement as a great step forward for the emergency medical research community, and by extension, the patients who benefit from that research.

Since the release of the IOM Report in 2006, members of an ACEP/SAEM Task Force have been collaborating with the NIH to advance emergency care research.  This collaboration has resulted in a number of recent developments, including: the NIH Emergency Medicine Research Roundtable reports released in 2010; the awarding of the first national K12 grant program by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute specifically for the career development of emergency medicine researchers in 2011; and the newly established OECR.

"Emergency medicine has been shown to directly affect the quality and duration of patients' lives and this investment by the NIH in emergency care research provides a formal structure to advance the field," said Charles B. Cairns, MD, FACEP, professor and chair at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C. and co-chair of the ACEP/SAEM joint task force.

"The establishment of a dedicated NIH office reflects the sincerity of the NIH's commitment to support emergency care research," said Roger J. Lewis, MD, Ph.D., FACEP, professor of medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif. and ACEP/SAEM Task Force co-chair.

Robert W. Neumar, MD, Ph.D., FACEP, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. and ACEP/SAEM Task Force member, agreed: "The creation of the OECR offers lasting evidence that the efforts that we've engaged in over the past six years are paying off."

ACEP/SAEM Task Force members have met with the NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins to address concerns raised in the NIH Emergency Research Roundtable Reports. The development of the OECR is a direct result of these discussions. 

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Neurological and Stroke Disorders, has been named the Acting Director of OECR.  Dr. Koroshetz has been actively engaged in the Roundtable reports and in discussions with Director Collins regarding emergency care research.   The Acting Deputy Director will be Alice M. Mascette, MD, senior clinical science advisor in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  The establishment of the OECR is groundbreaking precisely because until now there has been disagreement about which institute or center emergency care research falls under at the NIH.  The NIH's structure hasn't enabled research into the evaluation and treatment of emergency patients because it doesn't naturally fall into any specific institute or center within the NIH.

"This announcement is a boon to emergency care researchers in academia across the country," said Craig Newgard, MD, FACEP, Ph.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland Ore. and an ACEP/SAEM Task Force member. "The leaders of residency programs and academic departments of emergency medicine will need to identify potential researchers and intensify research efforts."

"The NIH investment in emergency care research will require that emergency physicians identify key research areas, including those that aim at improving efficiency and resource utilization in our increasingly overburdened emergency care system," said David Sklar, MD, FACEP, professor of emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., and a past member of the ACEP/SAEM Task Force.

The immediate past president of ACEP, Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, saluted the announcement as the fulfillment of longstanding goal of ACEP.  

"Although the number of institutes has been frozen, preventing emergency medicine from having its own institute, the OECR will be the dedicated advocate for funding within NIH," said ACEP's immediate past president and a past president of SAEM, Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP, of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.  "The establishment of the OECR at NIH required input from many outside groups but also internal support from NIH staff. This would not have happened without those scientists who were willing to champion the effort. The NIH is one of the world's largest research organizations with over $30 billion a year in annual funding, so for emergency medicine to have a dedicated office within the NIH is a remarkable accomplishment for our field."

Drs. Seaberg and Schneider further commended the work of other ACEP/SAEM Task Force members in supporting the creation of the OECR, specifically Drs. James Hoekstra, Judd Hollander, Arthur Kellermann, Edward Sloan and John Younger. Drs. Seaberg and Schneider further acknowledge financial contributions by emergency physicians to the Emergency Medicine Fund and the SAEM Fund as instrumental in the successful effort to create the OECR. 

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. 

SAEM leads the advancement of emergency care through education and research, advocacy, and professional development in academic emergency medicine. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, SAEM is the academic voice of emergency medicine and has nearly 6,000 members from medical schools and teaching institutions in the United States and throughout the world. The Society brings together diverse individuals who are interested in the pursuit of knowledge and the promotion of academic emergency medicine and research in this field.

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)