Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Emergency Care Research

A new CDC grant was awarded to help health departments, providers, and communities select the right communication mode for the right situation when an emergency strikes. The goal is to strengthen public health systems communication and their response to a variety of emergencies.

The grant for $6 million was awarded to the Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center. The Center, one of seven centers in the U.S. to receive these grants will be led by Dr. Mark Oberle, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Dr. Susan Allan, Director, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice.

The researchers will look at 911 and public health call centers to improve managing non-English speaking callers, improve emergency health alerts between public health and providers, and will examine cellular technologies needed to reach vulnerable populations in times of emergencies.

Collaboration between the University of Washington and other state and local health jurisdictions in Washington and Montana will be formed to do the study. The research will integrate the work of public health practitioners and the academic research center to ensure that the work is not only grounded in practice but also provides an evidence base that can be used to improve public health communications nationwide.

The Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) an organization to promote the delivery of quality emergency medical care funds research grants. The EMF Health Policy Research Grant Program funds research projects in health policy or health services research topics. The seed grants help researchers develop applications for further funding. EMF awarded 18 grants totaling $385,750 from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 with projects ranging from laboratory research, health policy research, and research on adverse medical events resulting from ED crowding.

For example, a grant for $24,978 awarded in 2007 helps researchers at the University of California, San Francisco study how to help 911 dispatchers recognize strokes in a timelier manner for patients that call 911. The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS) takes less than a minute to administer so a baseline assessment will be conducted as to how 911 dispatchers using CPSS can do a better job to accurately detect strokes.

Another 2007 grant award for $50,000 went to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to investigate ED crowding which is one of the most important issues facing emergency medicine today. The study looks at the contributors to ED crowding, the practice of boarding admitted patients, and examines profitability by building a model comparing actual and estimated revenues and costs. The data used will come from a large inner-city academic hospital that serves as a regional referral center, experiences high levels of ED boarding, but is also highly profitable.

Now in 2008, applicants for the EMF awards may apply for current grants available up to $50,000 in a one year period. To be eligible, the principal investigator must have a primary faculty appointment in Emergency Medicine and be able to demonstrate that the project will be successfully completed at their institution. While any proposal relating to health policy or health services topics will be considered, special consideration will be given to proposals discussing outcomes, cost effectiveness, and quality of care. The proposal deadline for current proposals is December 22, 2008. For more information, go to