NEWS | July 17, 2007

Endowed chair for UC Davis Emergency Medicine established

Fund to support research and advance patient care

Joining a UC Davis Health System effort to support innovative research, teaching and patient care, the university's Department of Emergency Medicine has announced the creation of $1.5 million endowed chair in honor of a former faculty member and UC Davis School of Medicine graduate who passed away unexpectedly nearly a decade ago.

The new Bo Tomas Brofeldt Chair in Emergency Medicine honors a well-known and beloved member of the health system who spent nearly 20 years at UC Davis as a student and physician.

The Brofeldt Chair is the latest achievement in an overall UC Davis goal of creating 100 different endowed chairs and professorships within the health system. Such endowments produce an annual income that becomes a stream of lifelong support for invigorating academic interests, such as research, and enhancing teaching skills.

"Endowed chairs are one of the highest honors in academia," said Stephanie Bray, assistant dean for Health Sciences Advancement. "They are one of the most important and valuable tools in recruiting and retaining exceptional faculty members, something certainly exemplified by Dr. Brofeldt."

A native of Sweden, Brofeldt graduated from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1983, completed a general surgery residency at UC Davis Medical Center and then joined the university as an associate professor. He was known as an innovative and compassionate faculty member, with appointments in both the surgery and emergency medicine departments.

Brofeldt's academic interests focused on finding more efficient ways to perform medical procedures and developing news ways to relieve pain in patients. Former colleagues say that spirit of innovation and compassion remains inspirational to this day.

"Tomas developed a quicker and easier approach for establishing an emergency cricothyrotomy airway in trauma victims," said Edward Panacek, an emergency medicine faculty who worked alongside and collaborated with Brofeldt. "It was such an effective method that it's now taught in many emergency medicine residency programs around the nation and referred to as the 'Brofeldt Technique.'"

Nathan Kuppermann, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, and chair of emergency medicine department, has been named the first recipient of the Brofeldt Endowed Chair. Kuppermann, who also serves as research director for his department, said the new endowment's fund means more opportunities for research, education and clinical care.

"This new chair is important because it will support my focus on research, mentorship and collaboration, consistent with some important goals of the health system" said Kuppermann, who divides his time between emergency department duties and helping oversee a national pediatric emergency medicine research network involving 21 emergency departments nationwide. "The remarkable spirit of a person like Tomas Brofeldt lives on through the work supported by an endowed chair. In a very real sense, it enables physicians who are fortunate enough to receive an endowed chair to help advance medical science through research and teaching, and, ultimately, improve patient care."
UC Davis Health System is an integrated, academic health system encompassing UC Davis School of Medicine, the 577-bed acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center, and the 800-member physician group known as UC Davis Medical Group.