NEWS | October 11, 2010

UC Davis emergency medicine physician elected to the Institute of Medicine


Nathan Kuppermann, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an achievement that is among the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. The institute, which is part of the National Academies of Sciences, is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public. Its members include individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advance medical sciences, health care and public health. The IOM announced Kuppermann’s election at its 40th annual meeting today.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome these distinguished and accomplished individuals to the Institute of Medicine," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg in a prepared statement announcing new members. "Each of these new members stands out as a professional whose research, knowledge and skills have significantly advanced health and medicine and who has served as a model for others.  The Institute of Medicine is greatly enriched by the addition of our newly elected colleagues."

Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM elects 65 new members and five foreign associates each year through a highly selective process. With their election, members make a commitment to volunteer their service on the institute’s committees, boards and other activities. 

Kuppermann is a nationally recognized expert in pediatric emergency medicine. In addition to his clinical work, he has made outstanding research contributions, promoting global and national collaborations among leading pediatric emergency departments to advance the care of critically ill and injured children.

“Dr. Kuppermann’s election to the Institute of Medicine reflects his professional accomplishments and his passion for evidenced-based improvement of health care for seriously ill and injured children,” said Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor of human health sciences and dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine. “All of us at UC Davis are very proud of Dr. Kuppermann. His leadership and groundbreaking research have significantly advanced our nation’s understanding of and capabilities in pediatric emergency care.”

Kuppermann’s research has focused on the evaluation and treatment of infectious emergencies in children; laboratory and radiographic evaluation of pediatric trauma patients; and pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis and the risk of cerebral injury and cerebral edema. He has made important contributions on developing algorithms that can help doctors rapidly distinguish infants and children with viral from bacterial infections — such as meningococcal infections and meningitis — enabling appropriate treatments to be started more promptly for those who need them, and obviating antibiotics for those who do not.

Along with his wife Nicole Glaser, an associate professor of pediatrics, Kuppermann also has spent more than a decade on research pertaining to understanding and predicting complications of Type 1 diabetes in children. Most recently, he led a study of 44,000 head-injured children to determine which of these children do not need cranial CT scans, so unnecessary radiation with its risks of malignancies can be avoided. Kuppermann has enabled such questions to be answered by being a pioneer in developing research collaborations and networks within the pediatric emergency care community.

His research has been published in prominent journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Annals of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics.

Kuppermann was instrumental in establishing a global network in pediatric emergency medicine research to help promote and improve standards for care of acutely ill and injured children worldwide. In addition, as founding chair and a principal investigator of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) — the first federally funded pediatric emergency research network in the country — he oversees a research node within the network which, in addition to UC Davis, consists of the children's hospitals of Philadelphia, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.

“It truly is an honor to be recognized by the Institute of Medicine and be able to represent UC Davis among our nation’s top health experts,” said Kuppermann. “I owe a great deal of my accomplishments to highly skilled and dedicated colleagues, including my wife, Nicole, who have collaborated with me on research and always have been a crucial part of any achievements I’ve been able to make in medicine.”

Kuppermann holds the Bo Tomas Brofeldt Endowed Chair in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He received his medical degree from UC San Francisco, completed his residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston. He also holds a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Kuppermann currently is the only UC Davis physician elected to the IOM. He joins four other faculty members, representing disciplines ranging from veterinary medicine to nutrition, as members of the select organization:

-- Stephen Barthold, distinguished professor of Veterinary Medicine
-- Janet King, research professor emerita of Nutrition
-- Michael Savageau, distinguished professor of Biomedical Engineering
-- Judith S. Stern, distinguished professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For further information, visit the UC Davis School of Medicine website.