McGovern Medical School Department of Emergency Medicine has unparalleled access to patients for patient care and clinical research in one of the largest metropolitan cities in the country. With two very large affiliated emergency departments—the Harris County LBJ Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital (a level one trauma center)—the opportunities for clinical research are numerous. The division of research seeks to promote collaboration among our faculty and residents at the University of Texas, and to help strengthen research funding and outcomes through statistical expertise, regulatory support, IRB expertise, and mentorship. Our vision is to be one of the leading departments of emergency medicine in the country. While research can be focused on any area of EM, we have four primary foci today:
- Research involving the acute care of the injured heart, brain, and vascular systems: We are presently engaged in research in AMI (both in the pre-hospital and acute presentation phase), stroke (our faculty are Primary-Investigators in one of the largest federally funded EM stroke center’s grant), and diagnostics (through our established EM ultrasound fellowship program).
- Public Health and Prevention Research: Research on the public health sector remains a top priority for this Department. Current research related in public health includes federally funded public surveillance projects for HIV, post-disaster studies on vulnerable populations (hurricane’s Ike, Rita, Katrina), numerous disaster preparedness projects, and various ED based outcomes trials. Additionally, an available University Master’s degree program in Public Health or Clinical Research and our EMS fellowship offers excellent opportunities for those medical students, residents, and faculty interested in pursuing an academic career in public health and prevention.
- Research involving the medical or traumatic presentation of shock: In conjunction with the Departments of Medicine and Surgery, we strive to establish our Department as a leader in acute shock management. With the opening of our new medical simulation lab in 2006, expanded these research opportunities to include efforts directed towards simulation research of the shock patient – including medical, traumatic, and bioterrorism simulation training.
- Research involving Health informatics and Emergency Medicine processes: This core focus involves research focusing on processes within the Emergency Department and the delivery of efficient, safe, and medically sound care. Prior research efforts included publications in areas of Observation Medicine, Medical Error Reduction, Process flow, Patient Satisfaction, and Compliance studies. In conjunction with the School of Health Information Sciences (SHIS), our researchers are examining the cognitive processes of how EM physicians and nurses think and work within the acute care environment. In 2008, we had our first clinician enter into the Master’s degree program in Health Informatics.
Clinical research remains a primary objective of the Department. We believe that active participation in research is an essential building block in the developing resident – physician education. Our residents are expected to participate in ongoing collaborative and departmental projects and will complete a scholarly project of publishable quality during the course of residency with approval of the Residency Director as per RRC guidelines. Research is critical to our clinical teaching of evidence based medicine and our EM curriculum. The Department employs a full time research staff including a research nurse, grants, regulatory, and compliance personnel, and secretarial assistance. Should you have further questions about research within the Department, please contact me.
Henry E. Wang, MD, MPH, MS
Professor and Vice Chair of Research