Message from Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Emergency Medicine

Four-to-five decades ago in Canada, hospitals often staffed their “ERs” with rotating locum physicians or unsupervised hospital house staff. By the end of the last century, out-patient rooms were replaced by appropriately equipped modern emergency departments that were staffed by specialist physicians defined by their postgraduate education in resuscitation and stabilization of the critically ill and injured patient, their approach to decision making in the undifferentiated and unexpected health event, and their experience in designing and coordinating integrated systems of patient management across the continuum of acute care.

Now, as we move to the future, emergency medicine (EM) is at the interface of many parts of the evolving healthcare system, and therefore, has the potential to act as a catalyst in further integrating and improving the system. EM is often a decision-making point that potentially connects primary care with tertiary care, pre-hospital care with in-hospital care and then with home care again, acute care with chronic care, and disease/service-based care with whole person care. In that context, EM is a generalist discipline with respect to the breadth of knowledge-base/scope of practice, and a specialty with respect to its depth of knowledge and approach to the acute/unexpected and undifferentiated health care event. Furthermore, by its nature, emergency care is often delivered in multi-disciplinary teams collaborating and coordinating their efforts in the service of patients and populations.

In this light, the Dalhousie Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM) plays a vital role in providing excellence in clinical care guided by its vision of improved health outcomes for patients of all ages through influential research, education, and the development of leaders in emergency medicine.

Given the resistant challenges to the delivery of EM care due to hospital access block over recent years, it has been impressive how the DEM’s core values and its people have remained committed and shown a resiliency that is turning the tide. In fact, necessity and challenge has led to innovation and change. It is the people who make up the Department of Emergency Medicine which are its greatest strength. As the discipline evolves with the changing health care system and the important trends in medical education and outcomes research, we will fulfill our mission through our four strategic directions:

  • Enhancing patient care (More timely access to high quality emergency medicine embedded in integrated networks of care)
  • Educating doctors and health care teams of the future (Be at the forefront of medical education ensuring competence, inspiring excellence, and developing leaders in Emergency Medicine)
  • Advancing research (A productive and collaborative research engine that emphasizes improving patient outcomes through research and knowledge translation); and 
  • Strengthening our people, organizational governance and operations (Effective, efficient, and adaptable support of the Department of Emergency Medicine core initiatives by engaged leaders and teams who create the conditions for emergence).