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Department of Emergency Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine

Research: Moving forward in the field

The UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine has served the medical center and surrounding community since 1973. Prior to 1990, the Department's primary focus was education of medical students/residents and patient care. However, over the past eighteen years the Department of Emergency Medicine has increasingly contributed to the growing body of medical research in the field of emergency medicine.

Recent grants that have been awarded to the Department of Emergency Medicine include awards of $1.8 million for a pediatric emergency medicine network and $1.6 million for pediatric head injury research. Another $5 million worth of grants are pending review.

As the number of publications has increased, so has the breadth of research topics. This sharp increase in the number of publications clearly illustrates the intensifying faculty interest in conducting research. To ensure future departmental research growth Dr. Nathan Kuppermann was appointed research director in 1997 and became chair of the Department in 2006. 

Emergency Medicine/ Pediatric Emergency Medicine K12 Research Training Program

The UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine is proud to offer a K12 research training program funded by the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI). This program provides promising individuals with 2-3 years of dedicated, mentored clinical research training. The goal is to foster independent careers in emergency medicine or pediatric emergency medicine research.

More details can be found on the Emergency Medicine/ Pediatric Emergency Medicine K12 Research Training Program page.

Education Programs

The UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine offers a two-year Emergency Medicine Research Fellowship. The program combines training in clinical emergency medicine research with graduate level training at UC Davis leading to either a Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology or Masters in Public Health.

The Department of Emergency Medicine can always use additional help with its research projects. If you are interested in learning more about emergency medicine research opportunities for undergraduate students, medical students, or residents, please contact the the research director for more information. Undergraduates can learn more about our unique Emergency Medicine Research Assistant Program (EMRAP) here.

The emergency department has multiple research projects and many areas of research interests. Current research projects include:

General Emergency Medicine

  • Computational modeling of emergency services
  • Derivation and validation of elbow x-ray rules
  • Radiation exposure in the ED from portable films
  • NEAR: a multi-center observational study of all emergency department intubations
  • Video-assisted laryngoscopy in emergencies
  • Impact of invasive source control in sepsis patients

Adult trauma

  •  Association between seat belt use and traumatic brain injury in side impact motor vehicle collisions
  • Association between helmet type and severity of injury in motorcycle collisions

Pediatric Trauma

  • Development of a clinical decision instrument for abdominal evaluation in children with blunt torso trauma
  • Development of a neuroimaging decision rule for childhood head trauma
  • Identifying consensus among emergency physicians and neurosurgeons about clinically significant childhood traumatic brain injury

Pediatric Emergency Medicine

  • Cerebral edema in pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Predicting cervical spinal injury in children
  • Improving the care of acutely ill and injured children in rural emergency departments with telemedicine
  • Development of a clinical decision rule for identifying children with cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis at very low risk for bacterial meningitis
  • Comparison of lorazepam and diazepam in status epilepticus in children
  • Validity and reliability of a modified sedation-agitation scale in pediatric emergency department patients

Emergency Department Epidemiology

  • Emergency department frequent users: community solutions
  • Use of firearms in youth suicides
  • Case control study of firearms retailers in California
  • Impact of ambulance diversion on resident education study
  • Knowledge of parents and primary physicians regarding car restraint guidelines for older children: Impact of educational intervention
  • Can patient centered outcome measures be used to predict length of stay? 

Infectious Diseases

  • Early detection of pathogens at triage


  • The diagnostic utility of heart sounds in heart failure and acute coronary syndrome
  • Aspirin resistance testing in patients presenting to the emergency department with chest pain
  • Evaluation of Pro-BNP for diagnosis and prognosis in patients presenting with dyspnea