This past fall, the HMS community welcomed a new department, the Department of Emergency Medicine. In announcing the change, Jeffrey S. Flier, HMS dean, said, “I hope you share my enthusiasm for the promise this new department holds. I believe it will be transformational, improving emergency medicine clinical care, education, and research in the years ahead.”
The change in status, which became effective October 1, 2014, reflects extraordinary collaboration among the hospitals affiliated with the School. These institutions collectively have more than 225 faculty serving as emergency medicine specialists, and feature emergency medicine facilities that can be used for disaster management, toxicology, resuscitation, and the acute care of both medically ill and traumatized patients.
“There may be no better example of the value of emergency medicine,” Flier said, “than the response leveraged for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, when Boston’s hospital emergency departments won well-deserved praise for their outstanding response.”
In order to recognize the depth of clinical care, education, and research that exists within the emergency medicine discipline, faculty members, including the chiefs of emergency medicine at the School’s affiliated hospitals, have long supported a move to make emergency medicine a distinct academic specialty.
The chairs of the new department are Richard Wolfe at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, David Brown at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Ron Walls at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. These three faculty will work together to appoint hospital-based emergency medicine faculty to the new department. Walls, the HMS Neskey Family Professor of Emergency Medicine, will serve for three years as the first chair of the executive committee of emergency medicine.
The creation of the department was unanimously endorsed by an advisory group, the Council of Academic Deans, the Faculty Council, and Harvard University.