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.
"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.