Chair's Report to the Board

International Advisory Board Chair: Dr. Jim Christenson

Jim Christenson headshot

Welcome to the 9th Annual Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute (SREMI) International Advisory Board (IAB) meeting and to this 2023 SREMI Report. It highlights the many significant accomplishments and contributions made by SREMI faculty towards improving emergency care over the past year.

As we commented last year, the SREMI team remained very productive through the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to be successful. Although there will be an uptick in COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses over the coming winter, we don't anticipate it to be as intense as the two previous years, at least we hope that will be the case. Nevertheless, our emergency departments are still reeling from the aftermath of the pandemic with higher than previous volumes and, in many hospitals, the inability to staff to the level needed to look after such high volume of patients in a timely manner.

In this environment of clinical and operational stress, it is very difficult to conduct high quality research. However, it becomes even more important to support emergency clinical care. The more knowledge we can provide practitioners through research into better diagnostic processes or treatment options, the more efficient clinicians can be, and the better care patients receive. SREMI’s excellent education programs also provide the needed support to provide the best possible care.

The 2023 SREMI annual report highlights the many projects completed and underway, and the amazing number of publications and awards received by SREMI faculty. Each year I am amazed at the academic output and by the talent of the SREMI team.

Director Dr. Bjug Borgundvaag, Research Director Dr. Shelley McLeod, and Deputy Director Dr. Catherine Varner continue to provide inspiring leadership. They each not only support the whole team but also have substantial research programs of their own.

North York General Hospital and Sinai Health Collaboration

The collaboration of Sinai Health and North York General Hospital (NYGH) is further strengthened. NYGH is a shining example of a community hospital dedicated to quality care and academic pursuits. Dr. Rohit Mohindra continues to expand the NYGH academic program. It is now an important component of the overall SREMI academic output with an ever-growing academic infrastructure. Dr. Anton Helman’s FOAMed program of EM Cases continues to be the most downloaded emergency medicine podcast site in Canada, with over 21 million listens. It continues to evolve and remains one of the most respected educational medical podcasts in the world.

SREMI Research Activities

The SREMI research output is once again remarkably successful. The group published 34 peer reviewed articles in a broad range of journals including in some of the most prestigious. SREMI faculty played visible leadership roles in the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians annual meeting as speakers and track chairs. Dr. Varner won the Best Pediatric Abstract award for her study “Maternal emergency department use before pregnancy and infant emergency department use after birth.” International expertise and recognition are displayed by Dr. Borgundvaag in leading the SAEM guidelines on alcohol use disorder. Dr. McLeod is leading the Predictors of Workload in the Emergency Room study, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Emergency Services Advisory Committee. Dr. Jacques Lee continues his important research on social isolation of older people. Dr. Keerat Grewal won a CIHR grant to explore facilitators and barriers to care for cancer patients diagnosed in the ED. Dr. Varner received a grant from the Innovation Fund to discover patient views on better support for early pregnancy loss. Dr. Mohindra received a grant from the CAEP Advancement Fund to better understand emergency care needs for refugees. There are many more worthy and impactful activities, too numerous to mention or describe in detail, that you can read about in this annual report.

SREMI Education and Support Programs

As important as the research programs are, the astounding and world leading education programs including EM Cases (above) and the Geriatric Fellowship and International Education program leading the world by Dr. Don Melady. Dr. Varner continues to highlight critical issues in emergency care in public journals and media outlets. The RBC Pathway to Peers program provides exceptional innovative peer support to young people needing emergency care in Mount Sinai emergency department.

Rejuvenation of the Board

In the past year, three IAB members have resigned. Dr. Suzanne Mason (University of Sheffield), Dr. Matthew Cooke (University of Warwick) and Dr. Simon Moojaart (Leiden University Medical Center) served the board with extensive experience and insightful advice. We will miss their wise council.

We were very fortunate to entice five very accomplished individuals to join us this year. Dr. Kendall Ho is a Professor from the University of British Columbia with a deep research interest and key national and international leadership roles in Digital and Virtual Emergency Medicine. He is Medical Director of the BC Ministry of Health HealthLink virtual physician program. Dr. Judy Morris is an Associate Professor at the University de Montreal, current president of Association des Médecins d’Urgence du Québec (AMUQ) and current Chairperson of the CAEP Leadership Committee. Dr. Luis Lobon is Vice Chair of Strategic Collaborations, Department of Emergency at Medicine Mass General Brigham, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships Global Advisory at Mass General Brigham and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Maaret Castrén is the Head of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Services in Helsinki, Finland. She leads a large international research group and is Past Chair of the European Resuscitation Council. Dr. Ula Hwang is a professor at New York University. She co-lead the development of the 2014 Geriatric ED Guidelines and serves on the Board of Governors for the American College of Emergency Physician's Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation program.

Our enhanced board aims to provide support and advice to the SREMI leadership and enable local, national and international connections to expand collaborations.

Reflections from the Chair

It is an honor to serve on the IAB of SREMI. I congratulate the team of Bjug, Shelley and Catherine who continue to provide strong program and personal support for the faculty and staff.

Despite increasing stress on our health system, we have seen our emergency colleagues…physicians, nurses and allied workers…meet current challenges. Emergency care plays an ever more central role in our health care systems as well as carrying a disproportionate burden when our health systems are failing.

The research and education programs in SREMI are essential to supporting emergency care, the care providers and most importantly our patients. SREMI can be proud of its local, national and international reputation in emergency medicine research and education and the impact it has had and will continue to have.