On September 16, 2017, the Division of Emergency Medicine officially became the Department of Emergency Medicine.

In 1997, the Emergency Medicine Service at the University of Washington Medical Center became the fourteenth division of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Mickey Eisenberg led the division until 2003, when Dr. Kathleen Jobe was appointed acting head.

Susan Stern
Dr. Susan Stern

In April 2009, Dr. Susan Stern joined the department as professor of medicine and the new head of the Division of Emergency Medicine. During her eight years as division head, the division saw unprecedented growth in faculty and educational development, an integrated clinical service, and increased research funding. On September 16, 2017, Dr. Stern became the founding chair of the UW Department of Emergency Medicine.

Faculty and educational development

Since 2009, the faculty has grown from 12 to 50 full-time faculty, and EM developed an Emergency Medicine residency program and four fellowships: EMS, Medical Education, Research, and Global Emergencies/Rural Health.

The Emergency Medicine Residency Program welcomed its inaugural class of six residents in 2011 and its first full class of 12 in 2012. This is already a highly competitive and sought after program with graduates populating the WWAMI region as well as working globally.

Over the past several years, the UW 4th year required medical student rotation in emergency medicine has similarly expanded from the inclusion of three to sixteen WWAMI sites, and the curriculum now includes broad based didactics as well as simulation experiences. Approximately 25 UW graduating medical students choose EM as their specialty each year. EM developed and implemented a comprehensive Faculty Career Advisor (FCA) and Career Development Program for students seeking a career in emergency medicine.

Clinical and research initiatives

Clinically, Emergency Medicine has served as a model for system integration. Prior to 2009, emergency medicine faculty provided clinical service exclusively at Harborview or UWMC and were not integrated academically. Currently about 50 percent of the faculty work clinically at both sites. Additionally, all academic and many clinical initiatives are now integrated across both medical centers, providing a more seamless experience for the residents who work in both settings, enhanced opportunities for faculty development and a better experience for our medical students. 

EM has also significantly increased research and scholarly activity and now ranks among the top nationally.  EM faculty are involved in discovery related to trauma and resuscitation, hemorrhage control, cardiac arrest, sepsis, EMS, injury prevention and addiction, health services, global health, medical education, quality and safety, team communications and function, and ultrasound.

The Path Ahead

As the newly established Department of Emergency Medicine, we look forward to continuing on our path and goal toward advancing emergency care for all patients through the provision of exceptional patient-centered emergency care, the provision of state of the art emergency medicine education, and through innovation and discovery.