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Department of Emergency Medicine News


Welcome our Emergency Medicine Residency Class of 2028!

class of 2028.JPG


Meet our residents

UCSD DEM Professor Christanne Coffey, MD interviewed by CBS 8 San Diego on staying safe during the summer heat


To watch news clip, click here.

UCSD DEM Professor Jorge Fernandez, MD Op-Ed featured in the San Diego Union Tribune



To read full article, click here.

We're pleased to annouce we have matched our 12 new interns in the residency class of 2028!



Learn more about our residents here.

DEM research on hospital cybersecurity and impact of healthcare cyberattacks on nearby hospitals featured in New York Times article



To read article, click here

Maya Stawnychy, Wilderness Fellow, wins presentation competition at national Wilderness Medical Society on topic “Surfers Myelopathy"



Please join me in congratulating Dr. Maya Stawnychy on winning the GME lecture series competition at the Wilderness Medical Society conference in Whistler last week!  Maya was selected as one of six wilderness medicine fellows to present her interesting topic on surfer’s myelopathy. She won by audience vote (over 300 people in attendance) and has been invited back to next year’s winter conference as faculty for a main stage presentation.

She did a great job representing UCSD!

Gabe Wardi, DEM faculty, featured on local PBS station regarding innovative AI sepsis project conducted in the UCSD Emergency Department



To see broadcast segment, click here.


DEM research Professor Peter Lindholm publishes research on migrant drowning deaths at US-Mexico border in JAMA.

Photo credit: WikiImages/Pixabay


To read article, click here.


Additional related news:

Article from Washington Post: Migrant drownings in Pacific Ocean soared after border wall expansion

DEM research Professor Peter Lindholm publishes research on migrant drowning deaths at US-Mexico border in JAMA.

Photo credit: WikiImages/Pixabay


To read article, click here.

UCSD ranked #13 and Department of Emergency Medicine ranked #24 on Blue Ridge Rankings for Medical Research and NIH funding in 2023



To learn more, click here.

Dr. Kama Guluma, EM faculty and Associate Dean for the School of Medicine, featured in “Finding your Why” in healthcare


To learn more, click here.

DEM Professor Alicia Minns and Asst Professor Rachna Subramony awarded Emergency Physician wellness Pilot Project award from the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion


To learn more, click here.

DEM Associate Professor Gabriel Wardi authors groundbreaking study on artificial intelligence improving sepsis recognition and reducing mortality published in Nature Digital Medicine

Photo courtesy John Hopkins Unviersity

To read article, click here

Media coverage

DEM Assistant Professor Brian Kwan, Professors Leslie Oyama and Michelle Daniel (UCSD SOM Vice Dean for Education) author JAMA Open study on automated system for physician trainee procedure logs using the electronic health record

Photo by Bigstock


To read article, click here.

DEM faculty Dr. Dan Lasoff interviewed for MedPage Today online article on Tianeptine, the “Gas Station Heroin”

Photo by MedPage Today


To read article, click here.

DEM faculty Drs. Brian Kwan, Leslie Oyama, and Michelle Daniel author JAMA Open study on Trainee Procedure Logs via Electronic Health Records.

Image credit: mcmurryjulie from Pixabay



To read article, click here.

DEM faculty Christian Dameff featured on national CBS Morning Show regarding recent healthcare cyberattacks. 



To see CBS News report, click here.

UCSD DEM faculty part of international multi-disciplinary collaborative with $60m funding from WEllcome Leap’s Dynamic Resilience program to study drivers of resilience among older adults. 



To learn more, visit UC San Diego Today and WELLcome Leap: Unconventional Projects

Dr. Christian Dameff featured in health care cyber security video series as part of the National Health Sector Coordinating Council (HSCC) & AMA



To watch video, click here.

UCSD DEM Resident Zach Fica part of Mercy Air Flight Crew that saved life of 10 year-old



To see CBS8 article, click here

UCSD and ECRMC Awarded California Bridge Grants to Fund Emergency Department Syphilis/HIV/Hepatitis C Screening Program



Dr Christopher Coyne and Dr Rahul Nene, were awarded grants from CA Bridge and the California Department of Public Health. The grants provide $625,000 to UCSD and $325,000 to El Centro Regional Medical Center over 30 months to address health equity by helping EDs identify and treat patients with syphilis, HIV and Hepatitis C.

DEM faculty Christian Dameff, MD, awarded prestigious $9.5m federal ARPA-H research funding to enhance cybersecurity in health care.



For more information: UC San Diego Awarded $9.5 Million to Enhance Cybersecurity in Health Care (

ECRMC Awarded California Bridge Grant to Fund Substance Use Navigator



Dr Rahul Nene, Department of Emergency Medicine, was awarded a $145,000 grant from CA Bridge to fund a substance use navigator in the emergency department at El Centro Regional Medical Center. This helps to coordinate care for patients with opioid use disorder in a resource-limited setting.

DEM Faculty Dr. Jorge Fernandez elected President-Elect for Cal-ACEP



 Click here to learn more.

Jay Park, MD, featured as one of UC San Diego’s Trailblazing Innovators 



 Click here to read article.

UCSD EM Professor Dr. Vaishal Tolia interviewed for CNN's The Whole Story on cannabis use for treating patients over the age of 50.



 Click here to watch feature "Weed 7: Senior Moment" .

Wrexham Striker Paul Mullin Thanks UCSD Health In The Daily Mirror For The Care He Received As An ED And Admitted Patient Following Injury On The Field

Wrexham forward Paul Mullin stays on the field after an injury during the first half of a club friendly soccer match against Manchester United, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in San Diego. (Photo credit: Gregory Bull/Associate Press)

Click here to read article.

Click here to see UCSD DEM faculty Dr. Chris Sloane providing field medical support and care.


UCSD Health’s Hospitals ranked as #1 in San Diego by US News and World Report (and also on the honor roll as one of the top 22 hospital systems in the country)!



 Click here for more information.

Dr. Lainey Yu was awarded the (first ever awarded) Wilderness Magazine Award from the Wilderness Medical Society!




DEM research faculty Dr. Bingren Hu awarded $2.5 million 5-year NIH U award to study potential cerebroprotective interventions for neurologic stroke injury as part of the Stroke Pre-clinical Assessment Network (SPAN)



SPAN UO1 Project Website


DEM faculty member, Diving/HBO expert, Karen Van Hoesen, interviewed by national NBC news regarding the Titan submersible loss




 To watch news clip, click here


UCSD HBO physicians won 2 out of the 3 awards for presentations at the UHMS 2023 conference!




UCSD HBO physicians won 2 out of the 3 awards for presentations at the UHMS conference in June 2023.

Wil Toppen won the award for the best oral presentation for National outcomes of hyperbaric oxygen in necrotizing soft tissue infections Toppen W , Cho N , Sareh S , Kjellberg A,, Medak A , Benharash P , Lindholm P .

Leo Tanaka won the award for the best poster presentation for Feasibility and FDA evaluation for a Phase II Clinical Trial on efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for post COVID condition Tanaka H , Ashworth E , Elliott A , Wang ACC , Duchnick J , Witucki, P , Anderson C , Sá RC , Horton L , Grover I , Lindholm P.



UCSD DEM recognized by San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert for efforts to address the opiate crisis for patients seen in the UCSD Emergency Department.






UCSD EM Critical Care fellow Michael Self awarded 2023 SAEM Fellowship Excellence award at annual SAEM meeting in Austin TX, May 2023.






DEM Fellows present at FACE Symposium




DEM Fellows Dr. Elaine Yu and Dr. Mike Self did a fantastic job presenting their educational research at the Fellow As Clinician Educator (FACE) Symposium this week. Congratulations to Dr. Self who won the “best education project in progress” award!



Two DEM faculty Quality Improvement initiatives win UCSD Improvement of the Year awards!



Dr. Allyson Kreshak recognized in the Improving Access category for her innovative program “UCSD@Home - Care at Home, Safe at Home” bring care to home for patients discharged from the ED.  Dr. Alan You recognized in the Advancing Health Equity category for his project, “Championing Sickle Cell Disease in the ED – improving pain management plans for promoting health equity”.





UCSD EM leading West Health initiative to fuel new wave of Geriatric EDs in California



Learn more about the initiative here


Photo from Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune

UC-System Office of the President Awards DEM Faculty Dr. Christian Dameff Grant To Study Healthcare Phishing Cyberattacks



Cyber attacks on healthcare have been increasing in frequency and severity over the last 20 years. E-mail phishing poses unique threats to healthcare and every employee of the health system needs to be vigilant and trained to identify, isolate, and report phishing attacks. Success of just one phishing attack can lead to breaches of protected health information and/or devastating attacks like ransomware. Currently there is not much data on how best to train, monitor, and remediate employees who fail phishing exercises or fall victim to actual attacks.  

This project aims to identify characteristics common with staff members who fall victim to phishing attacks. Additionally, it will seek to experimentally test phishing mitigation strategies to identify the most effective tools, trainings, and remediation efforts key to long term success at reducing the risks associated with phishing attacks.    


Photo from LeoWolfert/

Dramatic Relative Increase of Cannabis-related Emergency Department Reported Among California Seniors


pixabay cannabis photoCannabis use among older adults is increasing in the United States, and so are cannabis-related Emergency Department (ED) Visits. A study by researchers with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine published on January 9th, 2023 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported a dramatic increase in ED visits among older adults from 2005 to 2019. Although it has been suggested that cannabis can help alleviate some chronic symptoms experienced by older adults, there is also the potential for unexpected adverse events. With the increased use of cannabis, the authors suggest clinicians should incorporate cannabis education into the routine medical care among older adults.  

Edward Castillo, PhD, MPH, senior author of the study, is a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.  Co-Author Jesse Brennan, MA is a Senior Research Scientist with the department.

 See full article here

Photo from Pixabay                         

DEM Professor Dr. Dan Lasoff Op-Ed piece featured in The San Diego Union Tribune



"Since the start of the opioid epidemic in 1999, opioids have claimed more than 650,000 lives in the United States, about two-thirds of all the drug overdose deaths. The crisis continues and is worsening. We have been seeing a precipitous rise in fentanyl-related deaths as we begin another crucial year to combat the problem."

See full article here



Photo from Mamnta Popat/Associated Press




UCSD Ultrasound Division Completes Successful International Ultrasound Summit in Quito, Ecuador

us-ecuador-trip-2022-2.jpg Recently the UCSD EM Ultrasound Division conducted a two-week ultrasound summit at the Quito South Regional Hospital in Quito, Ecuador. This is a large municipal hospital which provides emergency services to the southern half of Quito. With UC San Diego emergency medicine faculty and medical students participating, over twenty-four ultrasound lectures were accomplished. These lectures covered a variety of  point-of-care ultrasound topics, with a special focus on musculoskeletal ultrasound and nerve blocks.

Four ballistic gel models of the fascia iliaca were brought for education purposes as well. The four-day course was then repeated over the second week. Due to the participation of our UCSD wilderness medicine division, a mass casualty lecture and large group scenario was executed at the end of the first week. And after all the hard work, of course we stopped by the Galapagos Islands for some great snorkeling, scuba diving, Galapagos turtle and blue-footed boobie watching!

Although the focus of the summit was to train residents and faculty within the emergency department of the Quito South Hospital, there was also significant interest from their orthopedic surgery and internal medicine departments. Every lecture was very well attended, with approximately 80 physicians participating in the two-week course. Protected time from their clinical duties was provided by the hospital for course completion.

One third year medical student from UCSD who assisted with the course, remains in Quito, and will continue to work with the emergency department staff to motivate and assist them in performing point-of-care ultrasound for three months. She was provided a handheld ultrasound machine which was donated for use by the Quito South Hospital emergency department, and when she leaves this machine will remain with their staff. Monthly video meetings between the UCSD ultrasound division and the Quito South emergency department are planned for the upcoming year, with the goal of continued bedside ultrasound utilization and improvement.

A special thanks to Drs. Campbell, Coffey, Smyres, Yu, and Alcalde, as well as our medical students Jessica, Ryan, Ishan, and Megana who sacrificed their time and resources to make this course effective and tons of fun!!


TikTok star and comedian, Dr. Glaucomflecken visits UCSD School of Medicine with shoutout to EM!



UCSD DEM faculty, fellows and residents presenting 12 abstracts at ACEP in October 2022





Ishimine P, Atigapramoj NS, Chaudhari PP, Badawy M, Ugalde I, Yen K, McCaren-Gibbs KA, Adelson PD, Holmes JF, Kuppermann N

Emergency Department Observation of Children with Minor Blunt Head Trauma

Vilke G, Citrome L, Preskorn S, Rajachandran L, Risinger R

Dexmedetomidine Sublingual Film for Acute Agitation in Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder by Baseline Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Agitation

Kennis B, Self M, Chan T, Wardi T.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Initiation of Low Tidal Volume Ventilation in the ED.

Castillo EM, Haynsworth A, Weaver EH, Gilmer T, Chan TC, Tolia VM

The Impact of Specialized Geriatric Consultation in a Level 1 Geriatric Emergency Department on the Cost of Care

Coyne CJ, Max Gruber, Kyle Rourke, Pratik Rajpopot

Pulmonary Embolism in Patients with Cancer: Predicting 30-day Mortality

Coyne CJ, Max Gruber, Kyle Rourke, Pratik Rajpopot

Pulmonary Embolism and Cancer – Can the PERC rule still apply?

You A, Wardi G, Tolia V

Feasibility and Diagnostic Yield of Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT) Initiated from the Emergency Department

Killeen J, Tolia V, Castillo E, Brennen J, Kwan B, Dameff C, Chan T

When, What and How Frequently Do Patients Electronically Access their Emergency Department Records after Discharge?

Kwan B, Killeen J, Chan T, Dameff C

Frequency, Test Characteristics, and Patient Demographics Associated with Lab and Imaging Results Viewed in the Emergency Department During Encounters

Santodomingo M, Yusuf T, Castillo EM, Brennan JJ, Kreshak A, Cronin AO, Tolia VM

Understanding The Relationship of Key Demographic Indicators on COVID-19 Rates in Emergency Department Settings During Surges

Johnson A, Chung D, Self M

Does Boarding Time in the Emergency Department Contribute to Mortality Among Those who are Mechanically Ventilated?

Kwan B, El–Kareh R, Killeen J, Chan T, Dameff C

Establishing Reliable Detection and Follow–up of Newly Diagnosed Chronic Kidney Disease in Emergency Department Patients


DEM Professor, Dr. Colleen Campbell receives Risk Management Grant: I See You: Echogenic Needles in Central Line Placement


 echogenic-needles-us-photo.PNGAdverse effects of central line placement include pneumothorax, hemothorax, arterial puncture, and rare cases of pericardial effusion. They can also require multiple attempts prior to successful placement. Ultrasound utilization has been shown to decrease these adverse effects. A major limitation, however, is sonographer experience and inability to visualize the needle tip at all times when performing the procedure. This study investigates whether the use of an echogenic needle while utilizing ultrasound for central line placement can further reduce complications and adverse effects. This study is funded at 35,000 by the UCOP Office of Risk Services.



DEM Faculty Recipients of Multiple AOCS Grant Awards


 Amir Aminlari - Ultrasoundaminlari-aocs-research-grant.jpg

The ultrasound division at UCSD has been fortunate to receive a grant through the AOCS program to develop advanced regional anesthesia capabilities. Our mission is to provide specialized training to our faculty and residents in ultrasound-guided nerve blocks. We look forward to launching a program that utilizes these cutting-edge techniques in our Emergency Department, allowing us to provide our patients with extraordinary pain relief, increased safety, and shorter length of stay without the use of opioid medications.






ecrmc-and-ucsd-sign.jpgAndrew Lafree - El Centro Regional Medical Center

Dr. Andrew LaFree, Assistant Professor, was awarded an AOCS Faculty Development and Clinical Research Grant to develop a research assistant program for the El Centro Regional Medical Center Emergency Department and complete an assessment of patient preferences and health literacy regarding COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccination, and COVID-19 treatments.  Dr. Rahul Nene, Department of Emergency Medicine, is assisting Dr. LaFree with this project and Dr. Christopher Coyne, Department of Emergency Medicine, with be serving as a mentor.  They hope to create a framework for a permanent research assistant program which can be used for other research projects in the future.   


Congratulations PGY4 EM Chief Emily Pott!  Outstanding presentation on your abstract at UCSD's 2nd Annual Symposium for Innovation in Medical Education.  Way to keep conference engaging and presenting scholarly work on it!






Dr. Maria Pelucio awarded Medical Education Seed Grant by The Center for Empathy and Compassion Traning in Medical Education.




The Center for Empathy and Compassion Training in Medical Education, housed within the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion, recently awarded a medical education seed grant to Department of Emergency Medicine faculty member, Dr. Maria Pelucio.

Dr. Pelucio’s project proposal aims to develop and disseminate educational programming that enhances empathy and compassion throughout medical training; the project will run through the 2022-23 academic year.

Her study, titled “Training Emergency Medicine Residents in Trauma Informed Care: Patients
Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence,” will test the feasibility and efficacy of a simulation curriculum that introduces best practice tenets of trauma-informed care to emergency medicine residents. Her project is inspired by the experiences of UC San Diego’s emergency medicine residents, who see many patients throughout their training with traumatic histories; intimate partner violence being one of the most insidious and prevalent.

To learn more about Dr. Pelucio’s research project, visit:


Philanthropists Leo and Emma Zuckerman establish $10 million gift to transform Emergency Care and support staff wellness at the UCSD Emergency Department




Click here to read at UC San Diego News Center article.


San Diego becomes first county in nation to have all hospitals earn geriatric ER accreditation




Click here to read San Diego Union Tribune article.

Click here to read at UC San Diego News Center article.


UCSD DEM leads the way for Geriatric ED accreditation of all hospitals in San Diego County – the first county in the nation to meet this goal.



Click here to learn more.


DEM female faculty recognized at the Women in Health Sciences Spring Event




Congratulations to UC San Diego Emergency Medicine faculty Drs. Michelle Daniel, Joelle Donofrio-Odmann, Christanne Coffey, Katherine Staats and Leslie Oyama for being recognized at the annual Women in Health Sciences women award winners ceremony. Dean Daniel was also a panelist on the esteemed Women Leadership Panel for the spring event.


UCSD DEM faculty lead the inaugural Wilderness Medical Society Marine Medicine Conference held in May at La Jolla Shores.



Dr. Christanne Coffey, conference chair, was joined by DEM faculty members Drs. Karen Van Hoesen, Charlotte Sadler, Peter Witucki and Peter Lindholm in teaching wilderness medical providers from around the world on marine medicine.  Prior UCSD wilderness medicine fellows Drs. Lauren Altschuh and Nick Black, and prior hyperbaric & undersea medicine fellow, Kirsten Hornbeak, were also speakers. This 5 day course covered the diagnosis and treatment of patients who suffer from injuries sustained from diving, hazardous marine life, water sports, and other ocean-related activities. The course also explored the interplay between marine ecosystems, human impacts, climate change and human health.  The course was sold out and will be offered again May 1-5, 2023.



Welcome to our Emergency Medicine Residency Class of 2026!


 Meet our current Residents

Congratulations to our Graduating Residency Class of 2022!


To see where they are going next and meet our other alumni, click here



DEM faculty member, Dr. Christanne Coffey, Assistant Professor, elected to the Board of the Wilderness Medical Society.




Dr. Gabe Wardi Awarded 5 Year K23 Training Grant from NIH



 Dr. Gabriel Wardi, Associate Professor, was awarded a 5-year K23 training grant from the National Institutes of Health to improve care and management of sepsis in the Emergency Department.  Specifically, Dr. Wardi will investigate how artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and other informatics tools and technology can improve the identification and quantification of various subtypes of sepsis to improve treatment and outcomes for patients.  Dr. Wardi will be mentored by Drs. Shamim Nemati, Department of Bioinformatics, and Dr. Atul Malhotra, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, UCSD.


Dr. Christian Dameff Awarded 4 Year Training Grant from NIH




Dr. Christian Dameff MD was awarded a four-year K-08 training grant from the National Institute of Health to build computer models of ransomware attacks on hospitals. This work will help improve national healthcare ransomware resiliency and patient safety.  Dr. Dameff will be mentored by Dr. Stefan Savage, Professor, Computer Science Engineering, UCSD and MacArthur Genius award recipient.


Jay Park, MD, UCSD Entrepreneur-in-Residence, featured in local news media for his work in Ukraine relief efforts


 To see news clip on NBC 7, click here.


Cal ACEP Legislative Leadership Conference



UCSD DEM faculty and Cal ACEP board of directors Dr. Jorge Fernandez and Dr. Kathy Staats attending the 2022 Cal ACEP legislative leadership conference in Sacramento on the Capitol mall, accompanied by several UCSD DEM alumni: Dr. Bing Pao and Dr. Jon Ludwig. 






Emergency Medicine Interest Group Subspecialty Showcase



 Thanks so much for presenting and networking with medical students last week as part of the UCSD Emergency Medicine Interest Group Subspecialty Showcase (and for Kristy Schwartz for hosting)!  And congratulations to Justin Seltzer for being awarded as "Most Informative" and Jenny Farah as "Most Entertaining"!Thanks so much for presenting and networking with medical students last week as part of the UCSD Emergency Medicine Interest Group Subspecialty Showcase (and for Kristy Schwartz for hosting)!  And congratulations to Justin Seltzer for being awarded as "Most Informative" and Jenny Farah as "Most Entertaining"!



CA Bridge Program recognizes Dr. Leslie Mukau for his work in changing hospital culture toward patients with substance use disorders.




Dr. Mukau has received accolades from the CA Bridge program for the work he has done in Imperial County over the past several years growing the substance use disorder medication for addiction treatment program at El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC).  Over the last 14 months the program has treated over 300 people at ECRMC, two-thirds of which have stayed on medication for addiction treatment.   


 To read more, click here.



UCSD DEM at NAEMSP Annual Meeting 2022



The EMS/Disaster Division had another successful year at NAEMSP’s Annual Meeting. In addition to educational presentations, panel moderation, and committee work products, Division members (including our fellow and a resident) presented several abstracts. Two members were awarded national honors for their work; Dr. Donofrio-Ödmann was awarded the President’s Award for her work on the NAEMSP prehospital airway management compendium, and Dr. Staats was honored for the Best Disaster Research Presentation. We look forward to continued strong representation in 2023!






Congratulations to Dr. Leslie Oyama, UCSD EM Residency Program Director who received the 2022 California ACEP Education Award and to Dr. Katherine Staats who was awarded the Special Recognition Award




To see more from the Cal ACEP - Lifeline special edition 2021 magazine, click here.


DEM faculty and Chula Vista Fire Medical Director, Dr. Jenny Farah, rides alongside Tournament of Roses President in a vintage fire engine at the 2022 Rose Parade.







DEM Professor Dr. Christanne Coffey awarded the Wilderness Medical Society Education Award


 wms-edu-award-1.jpgChristanne Coffey, MD, FACEP, FAWM, is the Wilderness Medicine fellowship director and course director of two wilderness medicine student courses at the University of California San Diego.

She is the chair of the Diving and Marine Medicine committee and helped lead the redesign of the D2M2 curriculum for the WMS, an international certification program in the essentials of caring for patients in the marine environment. She is the conference chair and faculty of the upcoming Marine Medicine Conference in 2022 and Medicine at Sea Pre-conference this summer 2021.

Dr. Coffey is the past chair of the WMS Graduate Medical Education Fellowship committee and served on the WMS Certification of GME Fellowships in Wilderness Medicine Steering Committee that successfully launched the first cycle of fellowship program certification reviews in 2020.

She is an instructor for AWLS, US Sailing Safety at Sea and First Aid for Mariners courses. She has been an invited lecturer at multiple WMS summer and winter conferences. She is the medical director for the San Diego Mountain Rescue Team.

Her passion is teaching and bringing healthy people back to nature through her interests in Wilderness Medicine. She is honored to be recognized for this award.  




Congratulations to our Residency Program for being awarded a CalMedForce grant!




The grant will allow for the program to expand from 11 resident positions per year to 12. 

CalMedForce administers annual grants to fund new residency positions at graduate medical education (GME) programs throughout California and dedicates voter-approved, state tobacco tax revenues from Proposition 56 (2016) to train physicians and help California address its growing physician shortage. Awardees are selected based on their ability to support and expand the physician workforce to meet the demands of California’s diverse and growing patient population, with a focus on medically underserved populations. This grant has helped give our residency program the opportunity to send our trainees to Imperial County to care for medically underserved populations at El Centro Regional Medical Center. Providing medical care at El Centro has offered our residents high yield, meaningful experiences that have contributed to our mission of caring for the medically underserved and border health populations. Many of our graduates have chosen EM jobs in rural and underserved areas to further serve these populations. We are honored to be a part of this important work.



UC San Diego Breaks Ground on a Multi-Phase, Multi-Billion-Dollar Redevelopment of Hillcrest Medical Campus




To read thisweek@ucsandiego article, click here.


Domestic Violence Awareness Day



UCSD DV/SA Committee members and emergency department staff hosted Domestic Violence Awareness Day at Hillcrest on October 6th.

Community advocates from SD County's Victims Services Division and the Family Justice Center joined social workers, nurses, and physicians in bringing domestic violence awareness and education to UCSD healthcare staff and visitors.


UCSD GME office hosting a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)Virtual Open House!



 The UC San Diego Office of GME and EDI committee is hosting a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) virtual open house for students and residents applying to UCSD training programs on Weds, October 27th, 5-6p (Pacific Time). Register now!

  • Featuring a panel of informed UCSD representatives providing formal overview of the efforts and activities taking place across UC San Diego 
  • An informal breakout room where UCSD trainees and prospective applicants can discuss individualized experiences and perspectives in a safe and confidential space.    
    • Faculty will not participate in breakout rooms so that prospective applicants can be very candid with their questions without worrying how the conversation may impact their chances of matching at UCSD.   


Webinar Info:  October 27, 2021 5-6 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) 

Click to register!



UC San Diego's Geriatric Emergency Department receives Level 2 Accreditation!



  The UC San Diego Health Emergency Department is the first health system in San Diego to have fully accredited geriatric emergency departments at both our hospitals. On August 2nd, 2021, UC San Diego Health Medical Center in Hillcrest received a Level 2 accreditation from ACEP (American College of Emergency Physicians). Our Hillcrest ED now joins The Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health Medical Center in La Jolla, which was the nation's first emergency department with an ACEP Geriatric ED Level 1 accreditation, the highest and most comprehensive level, opening in May 2018.  We are proud to be offering optimized care for seniors in both of our emergency departments. 



DEM Assistant Professor Christian Dameff testifies at Special Congressional hearing at the House of Representatives in Washington DC on the impact of cyberattacks in healthcare




Click here to watch congressional hearing.


Congratulations to our Class of 2021! We are so proud of you and look forward to watching you continue to thrive and grow!




Allyson Kreshak awarded UCOP grant



Dr. Allyson Kreshak was awarded a University of California Office of the President grant to create an ED-Radiology trackboard accessible to both Departments with the goal of improving ED patients‘ Radiology study turn around times.






Christian Dameff awarded National Foundation of Emergency Medicine Scholar Grant


Chistian Dameff, Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine, has been awarded a National Foundation of Emergency Medicine Scholar grant with mentors Steve Hayden (Professor, Emergency Medicine) and Stefan Savage PhD (Professor, Computer Science Engineering). 



DEM proud to announce our new faculty appointments and promotions for July 2021





UCSD DEM faculty, fellows and residents presenting 19 abstracts at SAEM in May 2021



Presenter (bolded)/Authors


Shadyab AH, Castillo EM, Tolia VM

Ethnic Disparities in COVID-19 Among Older Adults Presenting to the Geriatric Emergency Department

Childers R, Vilke GM, Brennan JJ, Castillo EM

A Descriptive Study of Antibiotic Use for Acute Respiratory Infections in Urgent Care Patients

Mahajan P, Bellolio F, Cabrera D, Carney M, Klekowski N, Daniel M, Liu D, Enayati M, Pasupathy K, Singh H

Electronic Triggers to Identify Potential Diagnostic Errors in Emergency Departments: Feasibility Study Results

Castillo EM, Brennan JJ, Hsia RY, Chan TC

Emergency Department Utilization Before and After the Affordable Care Act

Cronin AO, Montilla H, Srihari P, Clark R, Castillo EM

Trends in ED Marijuana Screening Before and After Recreational Legalization

Montilla H, Srihari P, Clark RF, Castillo EM

Amphetamine Abuse in Emergency Department Patients with Suicidal ideation

McIntyre K, Castillo EM, Aminlari A, Kreshak A

Use of a Hotel for an ED Homeless Population Requiring Quarantine for SARS CoV-2

Vilke GM, Kreshak AA, Castillo EM, Cronin AO,  Prochnow C

Characteristics of 72-Hour Emergency Department Visits

Carlile M, Vilke GM, Killeen J, Tolia V, Kreshak A, Castillo EM, Dameff C

Impact of Clinical Informatics Tools on Critical Care Billing in an Academic Emergency Department

Self M, Wardi G

Female Sex and Obesity Are Associated With High Tidal Volume Ventilation in the Emergency Department

Cronin AO, Dameff C, Coyne CJ, Castillo EM

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination: Perceptions from Emergency Medicine Residents and Medical Students

Cronin AO, Dameff C, Coyne CJ, Castillo EM

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination: Perceptions from Emergency Medicine Physicians

Barrett L, Liotta B, Brennan JJ, Castillo EM, Chan TC

Homeless Patient Disposition from the ED during COVID-19 Pandemic

Brennan J, Vilke G, Tolia V, Castillo EM

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Positivity Rates Among Hispanic Emergency Department Patients

Bubic IJ, Oswald J

Efficacy of Bedside Nerve Block for Acute and Chronic Pain Performed in the Emergency Department

Anshus A, Oswald J

Erector spinae plane block, a new option for managing acute low axial back pain

Beaulieu A, King A, Commisaris C, Daniel M, Stringer S, Haas M, Rauker N

Combat Zoom Fatigue: How to Maximize Learning Climate in the Virtual Classroom

Mahajan P, Chandanabhumma P, Daniel M, Fetters M, Park SY, Pasupathy K, Sing H

Investigating the Emergency Department Diagnostic Process: Insights from Frontline Providers.

LaFree A, Sobel JD, Noste E, Staats K

Weathering the COVID-19 Storm in the Emergency Department of a Rural Border Hospital



Resident Nico Kahl Moderates CORD21 Conference Presentation 

DEM resident Nico Kahl featured as moderator of CORD 21 Future of Telehealth in EM conference.



Cybersecurity Attack Targets Local Hospital


  dameff-kusi-cyberattack-sm.jpgDEM Assistant Professor Christian Dameff featured on San Diego KUSI news regarding cybersecurity attack at local hospital.


 To see news clip, click here.





UCSD EM Professors selected as Medical Directors for California State Parks


  us-parks-vilke,-sloane.jpgDrs. Gary Vilke and Christian Sloane have been selected as the interim medical directors for the California State Parks System. They will provide direction, education, and quality improvement guidance for the state parks law enforcement and emergency services division, which includes first responder and BLS providers throughout the state. They will leverage the strengths of UCSD’s diverse faculty in EMS, Wilderness Medicine, and Dive Medicine to collaborate with the State Parks system, from Border Fields State Park in the Tijuana Estuary, to Pelican State Beach in northern California, to Emerald Bay State Park in Tahoe, and everything in between. We are excited by this fabulous opportunity.




Learn more about Gary Vilke, M.D. and Christian Sloane, M.D. 



DEM Ultrasound Medicine Fellowship Awarded 3 Year Accreditation From EUFAC



UCSD is pleased to announce that the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship has received the maximum 3 years of accreditation through The Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Accreditation Council (EUFAC). Our program is one of the first in the country to be accredited and received numerous Gold Star ratings on their requirements, indicating that we exceeded expectations. Our fellows will be prepared for their careers with the highest standards of quality for their education and will be eligible to sit for the Advanced Emergency Ultrasonography Focused Practice Designation examination. We will continue to strive in our mission to train future experts and leaders in the field of Emergency Ultrasound.

 Learn more about our Ultrasound Medicine Fellowship

Leadership in Sustainability & Climate Change



Emergency Medicine Chief Resident Emily Sbiroli featured in video on leadership in sustainability & climate change, titled "Champion Stories: Dr. Emily Sbiroli, a New Generation of Physician Leaders"



Congratulations to Dr. Alicia Minns!



Congratulations to Dr. Alicia Minns on winning Faculty Runner Up at CORDAA21 CPC competition!








Dr. Charlotte Sadler Awarded PADI Foundation Grant


  sadlerdiveDr. Sadler has been awarded the PADI Foundation Grant for 15k to support her work investigating Fitness to Dive after Recovery from COVID-19.


Dr. Sadler featured in Scuba Diving Magazine "Can You Scuba Dive After Long Haul COVID



EM Resident Morgan Carlile named the 2021 House Officer of the Year!


  morgan.jpgA huge congratulations to Emergency Medicine PGY3 Dr. Morgan Carlile on being named UC San Diego Health's House Officer of the Year! Morgan has truly risen to the challenges of this last year serving on the front lines of our Emergency Department. He has continued to exel in providing compassionate care to his patients and shown a commitment to advancing the field of all clinical settings. He has managed four peer reviewd publications over the last year, and multiple national presentations. Additionally, Morgan represents UCSD  nationally as the Vice Chair of Clinical Informatics for the Emergency Medicine Resident Association (EMRA). Way to go Morgan!!




Multiple Grants Awarded to Emergency Medicine Professor Dr. Gabe Wardi


  •  wardi.nemati-collage.jpgDr. Wardi was awarded a $30,000 CTRI Pilot Project for the project ”Development and Implementation of a Real Time Machine Learning Algorithm to Predict Tracheal Intubation in Patients with COVID19. “ In this, he will work with Dr. Shamim Nemati to implement a deep-learning algorithm and prospectively validate if the use of such an algorithm can help clinicians identify patients who require tracheal intubation with COVID up to 24 hours ahead of time. This work is an extension of their recent publication in CHEST, "Development and Prospective Validation of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Predicting Need for Mechanical Ventilation" and should lay the groundwork for prospective studies using real-time predictive scores at UC San Diego.


  • Dr. Gabriel Wardi, working with Dr. Monique Smith of Emory University, have been awarded a total of $30,000 grant for from the National Foundation of Emergency Medicine to develop and validate a deep-learning algorithm to predict respiratory failure in patients in the Emergency Department. The two researchers propose a real-time interpretable machine-learning algorithm to identify the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with and without COVID19 who present to the emergency department from 3 to 48 hours after triage using a technique called transfer learning. Dr. Stephen Hayden will mentor Dr. Wardi as part of the NFEM mentoring program.
          Learn more about this grant


Welcome to our new Emergency Medicine Residency Class of 2025!




Please join us in welcoming our new Class of 2025 to the UC San Diego Emergency Medicine Residency Program. This incredible group are coming from near and far, some having lived in San Diego previously, others who have never been to our fantastic city. They are an impressive bunch and very excited to join the team. Welcome to the UCSD EM Family!


 instagram.jpg UCSDEMRes



Dr. Miguel Pineda selected as the winner of the Wilderness Medicine GME Lecture Series 




Dr. Miguel Pineda was selected as the winner of the Wilderness Medicine GME Lecture Series at the 2021 Wilderness Medical Society Virtual Conference for his presentation on Nature versus Narcotics: Organic and Synthetic Toxidrome Doppelgangers.

Current and prior wilderness medicine fellows are invited to submit proposals for this annual event. Dr. Pineda, the current UCSD wilderness medicine fellow, and Dr. Lauren Altschuh, 2020 UCSD wilderness medicine fellow, were both selected to be one of six presenters. Over 400 attendees from around the world voted on these lectures. Congratulations, Dr. Pineda!



Grant Awarded for Telemanipulation Robots



CSE Associate Professor and DEM Adjunct Professor Laurel Riek awarded $1.2m grant to develop a new generation of healthcare telemanipulation robots 



UCSD Emergency Medicine team part of initial round of UCSD health care workers to get vaccine




We're so proud of all our amazing and dedicated staff! 









DEM female faculty recognized at the Women in Health Sciences ceremony

dem-wem-faculty-zoom-full-compressed.jpgCongratulations to UC San Diego Emergency Medicine faculty Drs. Rachna Subramony, Jenny Farah, Leslie Oyama and Karen Van Hoesen for being recognized at the annual Women in Health Sciences women award winners ceremony.




Impact of COVID on older adults


DEM faculty Ted Chan featured in San Diego Union Tribune article regarding the Seniors Community Foundation and the impact of COVID on older adults.

Read more about COVID's impact on older adults




Impacts and challenges of COVID in Imperial County, CA.


DEM faculty Drs. Andrew Lafree and Chris Tomaszewski featured in a Fortune magazine commentary by Dr. Carolyn Barber regarding the COVID challenges and response in Imperial County, CA.

Read more about the imapcts of COVID in Imperial County, CA.




Charlotte Sadler awarded grant to investigate the safety of scuba diving after COVID 19.

Dr. Sadler in the water in scuba gear holding a white and red flagThanks to a grant awarded by the UC San Diego Academy of Clinician Scholars, Dr. Sadler and Peter Lindholm will be conducting a study to investigate the potential long-term sequelae of COVID-19 and the impacts on fitness for diving.  

Read more about the potential impacts of COVID and fitness for diving



DEM faculty awarded grant to identify patients at high risk of firearms faciliated suicide. 

Dr. Kahn and Eddie CastilloDEM faculty Chris Kahn and Eddie Castillo along with Dr. Joelle Donofrio-Ödmann have been awarded a grant from the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center (UCFC) on EMS data modeling to identify patients at high risk for firearm-facilitated suicide.

Read the full article



Hyperbaric and diving medicine research chair awarded 1 million dollar grant.

Peter LindholmPeter Lindholm, professor and Gurnee endowed chair of hyperbaric and diving medicine research, has been awarded a 1 million dollar, 3 year grant from the Office of Naval Research (USN) to image nitrogen gas during diving and decompression. The study will be in collaboration with Professor David Vera, Department of Radiology.

Read Dr. Lindholm's research profile



 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society President-elect chosen

Dr. Pete WituckiPete Witucki, Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Hyperbaric Medicine faculty member, has been selected as President-elect for Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society. 

More about Dr. Witucki




UC San Diego Edward A. Dickson Award granted to Jim Dunford

Dr. Jim DunfordDepartment of Emergency Medicine Emeritus Professor, Jim Dunford, has been awarded the UC San Diego Edward A. Dickson Award for outstanding contributions and service as an emeritus faculty member.

Dr. Dunford's research profile



Department of Emergency Medicine faculty and staff battle COVID-19 during a heat wave

screenshot of CNN Outfront news story showing two medical workers in the ER hallwayCNN reports about our El Centro site where COVID cases are still rising and our team members are working hard to serve the community in triple digit heat.

Watch the complete news feature




NBA legend Bill Walton congratulates our 2020 residents

Hall of Fame inductee and NBA star Bill Walton celebrates our DEM graduating class of 2020






Emergency Medicine Resident Class of 2020 Graduates

2020 residents in white lab coats standing outsideCongratulations to our Emergency Medicine Residents Class of 2020!

See more about our residency alumni





Dr. Andrew Lafree featured on CNBC news to discuss COVID response in El Centro

DEM faculty and ECRMC ED Director, Dr. Lafree featured on CNBC news in San Diego discussing COVID response in El Centro.





Dr. Jorge Fernandez elected to the 2020-21 Board of Directors for California ACEP

Jorge Fernandez in a white lab coatCongratulations to DEM Professor Dr. Jorge Fernandez who was elected to the 2020-21 Board of Directors for California American College of Emergency Physicians. 

California ACEP Profile




DEM faculty member, Dr. Leslie Oyama, works with other UC San Diego researchers to develop tele-health robots to improve patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Leslie Oyama, Alan Card, along with Lesley Wilson will design, deploy, and evaluate a new fleet of low-cost telepresence robot to improve patient care during the pandemic. 

Read more about the project

NBC features DEM faculty member Dr. Christanne Coffey 

Dr. Christanne Coffey standing in scrubs in an empty ERDr. Christanne Coffey featured in NBC San Diego news article "Emergency Rooms Want You to Come if You Need help". 

Read the full article




Professor Emeritus Irving “Jake" Jacoby receives the ACEP Disaster Medical Sciences Award.

Dr. Jacoby The Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions of national/international significance of impact to the field of disaster medicine. 

Jake has been a force for disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery for decades, and his influence has been felt not just all across the world, but also quite locally. UCSD’s Disaster Control Officer was none other than Jake from 1985-2002, who also served as the chair of UCSD’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee (now the Emergency Management Committee) for 25 years. He’s advised the State of California, the San Diego Unified School District, the National Disaster Medical System, and many more organizations both large and small throughout his career, while remaining active as an emergency physician, hyperbarics physician, aeromedical physician, and infectious diseases physician (he is board certified in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, and Infectious Diseases). 

Locally, Jake is beloved as the team leader of Disaster Medical Assistance Team CA-4, which he founded in 1991. In that time, he has been the team leader or unit commander for at least 19 deployments, including several major catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. On every one of these deployments, his work has been prompt, purposeful, considerate, and most importantly, effective in delivering the highest quality of patient care in some of the most inadequate and intolerable conditions imaginable. His steady, professional response to these events has protected and served not just the National Disaster Medical System infrastructure, but the communities lucky enough to have been the beneficiaries of his assistance during times of crisis. 

Jake is an active and vital member of the UCSD DEM Division of EMS and Disaster Medicine, teaching residents, serving as the editor of a major disaster medicine textbook, and being a leader in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts across the globe.

Dr. Christanne Coffey featured in UC San Diego's Triton Magazine 

Dr. Christanne Coffey DEM faculty member Dr. Christanne Coffey writes about the balance of saving lives and keeping her family safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the Triton Magazine article





Dr. Karen Van Hoesen appointed as UC San Diego Health Sciences Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

karen van-hoesen standing outside in front of Scripps Pier

Congratulations to DEM faculty member Dr. Karen Van Hoesen for being appointed as UC San Diego Health Sciences Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs!

Dr. Vanhoesen's research profile




San Diego Union Tribune features DEM chair, Dr. Ted Chan. 

emergency worker wheels a patient past a covid-19 testing centerDr. Ted Chan featured in Union Tirbune article about Emergency Department visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the article 





Dr. Stephanie Benjamin featured in front-page of New York Times interactive 

benjamin-face-maskDEM fellow and incoming faculty Dr. Stephanie Benjamin featured in front-page New York Times interactive on health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the New York Times story






DEM faculty receive grants that focus on the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Chris Coyne, MD, MPH and Edward Castillo, PhD, MPH received a grant derived from the UC National Laboratory Fees Program to utilize machine learning to assist emergency physicians in the treatment and disposition of patients with COVID-19.
  • Edward Castillo, PhD, MPH, in collaboration with Aladdin Shadyab, PhD from Family Medicine and Public Health, received funding from the University of California Office of the President to assess outcomes in older COVID-19 patients with comorbidities in a senior emergency care unit.
  • Christian Tomaszewski, MD, MS, MBA is assisting an effort lead by researchers at Indiana University to develop a national COVID-19 registry to better understand the clinical presentation and outcomes of COVID-19 patients

Dr. Gary Vilke featured on KUSI local news 

Dr. Gary VilkeDEM faculty Dr. Gary Vilke featured on KUSI local news regarding Emergency Departments and the COVID-19 pandemic.






Dr. Joelle Donofrio speaks during San Diego Mayor Faulconer's COVID-19 updates

immunotherapy cell graphicDr. Chris Coyne featured in Emergency News article on Immunotherapy

DEM faculty Chris Coyne, MD, featured in EM News.

EM News complete article


Dr. Jim Killeen helps to launch drone program 

dr. jim killeenDEM faculty member Dr. Jim Killeen featured in multiple articles on UCSD Health working with UPS to launch drone program 


Dr. Jesse Guittard appointed Associate Director of the ED at VA San Diego Medical Center

DEM faculty member, Jesse Guittard has been appointed as the Associate Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Emergency Department. 

Read Dr. Guittard's research profile




UCSD DEM Level 1 accredited GED featured in Discoveries Magazine 

To see magazine, click here. Article on pages 12-17.

Christian Dameff featured on NPR nationwide radio story on health care cybersecurity and attack simulation

Christian DameffUC San Diego DEM Assistant Professor Christian Dameff featured on NPR nationwide radio story on health care cybersecurity and attack simulation conducted at UCSD.

 Listen to the radio segment on NPR





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