Contact Us




The Arizona Daily Wildcat Online





News Sports Opinions Arts Classifieds

Friday March 9, 2001

Basketball site
Elton John


Restaurant and Bar Guide
Daily Wildcat Alumni Site


Student KAMP Radio and TV 3

Arizona Student Media Website

UA Department of Emergency Medicine opens its doors

By Daniel Scarpinato

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Popular program officially becomes a department

A new department of emergency medicine has been created from an already-existing division of the Department of Surgery at the UA medical school.

Dr. James Dalen, vice president for health sciences and dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said the new department will address the need for board-certified emergency physicians. The department was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in January.

"With more than 100 million emergency department visits annually in this country, the demand for quality emergency medicine specialists is immense," Dalen said.

The Section of Emergency Medicine, the original program that the department evolved from, has gone through tremendous growth since it began in September of 1980, Dalen said. The program, which started with only four full-time faculty members, now boasts a 17-member staff and plans to recruit two additional faculty.

In addition to running educational programs on emergency medicine, the department will also be responsible for emergency care clinical services and research in the field.

UMC's Emergency Department and Urgent Care Unit is already entirely staffed by the emergency medicine faculty and residents.

Dr. Harvey Meislin, director of the Arizona Medicine Research Center, said the UA emergency medical residency program - which produces approximately 20 to 60 trainees a year - is one of the harder training programs in the medical school to get become part of.

"The focus is on the unique biology of emergency medicine," he said, noting the difference between the "hands-on" department and others in the College of Medicine.

"(The program) has been in place for many years," Meislin said. "Now it is time for us to split off into our own world."

Emergency medicine residency programs have become increasingly popular, with more than 120 programs in the United States, and has also become a common career choice for medical school graduates. Every year, 7 percent to 10 percent of UA medical school graduates find jobs in this specialty.

"You have to look at what is happening nationwide," Meislin said. "Hopefully this new department will help the College of Medicine attract students who normally would go someplace else."

Meislin, who has also served as chief of the Section of Emergency Medicine and is currently associate head of surgery, will serve as acting head of the department. A search committee has been formed to nominate a permanent head for the department.