Department of Emergency Medicine

Dr. James Dunford

James Dunford Dr. James Dunford is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Medicine & Surgery in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Jim has served as the Medical Director of the City of San Diego since 1997, overseeing the clinical care provided by 450 paramedics, 600 firefighters and the Fire Communications Center. He is medical advisor to the San Diego Police Department and medical director of San Diego Project Heartbeat, the regional public access to defibrillation program. Jim teaches EMT’s, paramedics, nurses, medical students, resident, fellows and faculty physicians about EMS.

Jim attended Syracuse University (Chemistry, 1972) and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons (1976) and is Board-certified in emergency medicine and internal medicine. Under his mentorship the San Diego EMS system has achieved international recognition for clinical care and research.

Jim joined the DEM faculty in 1980 serving as attending physician, flight physician (1980-1985) and later medical director (1993-1995) of the Life Flight helicopter program. He subsequently founded and directed the UCSD emergency medicine residency training program (1988-1991). His interests in emergency medical services (EMS) grew in 1985 when he became the Base Hospital Medical Director. His primary academic interest is seeking ways to exploit the potential of EMS to benefit public safety. He has served as co-investigator on numerous local and national studies including the San Diego RSI Trial, the PolyHeme Trial and the landmark NINDS t-PA stroke trial. In 2004, San Diego was invited (as 1 of only 10 EMS systems in North America) to participate in the current NIH-sponsored Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC).

Jim has served extensively as a UCSD ambassador. After championing the creation of the San Diego regional STEMI and stroke systems he chaired the California Statewide STEMI Task Force (2007-2009) and served as President of the Board of the San Diego American Heart Association (2007-10). He chairs the San Diego Clean Syringe Exchange Program Facilitation Committee (2002- ) and is currently a member of the Board of the National Association of EMS Physicians.

Jim has received numerous recognitions including: the Golden Apple Outstanding Teacher Award, Society of Academic Medicine Best Faculty Discussant Award,  the AHA Western States Volunteer Physician of the Year Award, the San Diego Physician Health Care Champion Award, induction into the UCSD Academy of Clinician Scholars, San Diego Medical Society Top Doctor awards, the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Award, the Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award, the Michael K. Copass Award, the Home for Every American Research Award, the Nicholas Rosecrans Award and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.  

Publications