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Department of Emergency Medicine News


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 Emeregncy 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