About Us

John Ma, M.D., OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine Chair

Message from the Chair

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

Our faculty members interact daily with health care professionals throughout Oregon, address acute and preventive health needs, promote continuity of care, and aid Oregonians from their home to the hospital. We strive to improve the health of all Oregonians through OHSU's three-part mission -- healing, teaching, and discovery.

Emergency Department

The OHSU emergency department serves a vital role for the emergency health care needs of Oregonians. As a tertiary care referral center and Level I Trauma Center, the emergency department cares for all patients, at all ages, who present with conditions ranging from the routine to the most life-threatening at any time of the day. OHSU's catchment area of trauma patients extends to all portions of the state and the emergency department frequently treats transferred patients with a multitude of complex illnesses and injuries who cannot be managed at other Oregon hospitals. Furthermore, in close collaboration with our cardiovascular and neurologic specialists, OHSU has accredited chest pain and stroke centers where patients receive immediate access to time-critical therapy.

OHSU has also enhanced the emergency care of Oregon's pediatric patients through its pediatric emergency department. A pediatric observation flex unit allows emergency physicians to evaluate and observe patients, thus completing within hours complex patient care and evaluation that might otherwise take days in the hospital or weeks in the outpatient setting.

Education and Training

The department provides several educational opportunities across many levels of professional development, ranging from premedical preparation to advanced subspecialty fellowship programs. We provide several well-subscribed rotations in emergency medicine and emergency medicine subspecialties to OHSU and visiting medical students, and sponsor a PGY 1-3 emergency medicine residency program, which was first established in 1978. The residency program is considered to be one of the premier emergency medicine residencies in the nation and annually recruits students from medical schools across the United States. We also offer fellowship training in education, research, ultrasound, medical toxicology, hospital administration, and we have partnered with Randall Children's Hospital to create the state's first and only Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship training program.

Health Policy Support

OHSU's Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine (CPR-EM) was formally established in April, 2003 to coordinate emergency medicine research that guides health care policy. It is the only one of its kind in an academic Department of Emergency Medicine. It features several full-time faculty members with diverse backgrounds in medicine, public health, epidemiology, economics, and statistics. CPR-EM works closely with the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness, a research center led by K. John McConnell, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. The Center for Health Systems Effectiveness focuses on broad health systems and health policy questions, with particular emphasis on health economics and the ways in which health care spending can be reduced.

EMS Support

The OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine provides leadership within the regional EMS community. Within the Portland tri-county area, three regional EMS medical directors are members of the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine faculty while several others are affiliate faculty members. OHSU-based medical directors have led the Tricounty Protocol Development Committee for over 20 years. Department of Emergency Medicine faculty members provide didactic and experiential EMS education for the OHSU emergency medicine residents necessary for graduation, and have spearheaded innovative federally-funded, multi-center EMS research projects and have become national leaders in EMS research.

Oregon Poison Center

The Oregon Poison Center was established by an act of the Oregon Legislature and is housed and managed through the Department of Emergency Medicine. The role and responsibilities of the Center include: to provide emergency telephone assistance and treatment recommendations to all Oregonians as well as health care professionals, to establish and maintain community education programs on poison prevention methods, and to provide professional education for health care providers throughout Oregon. A board-certified Medical Toxicologist from the Department of Emergency Medicine is on call 24 hours-a-day to respond to complex toxicologic cases and discuss cases with referring physicians from across Oregon.

Emergency Preparedness and Management

The Department of Emergency Medicine and Oregon Poison Center play a highly visible role in statewide emergency planning, management of hazardous materials incidents by HAZMAT teams, and identification and intervention of public health concerns. As a member of the Oregon Emergency Response System council, the Oregon Poison Center participates in the development and evaluation of Oregon's emergency management activities.

Medical Informatics

In the 21st century, the electronic medical record (EMR) has become an increasingly important tool in providing state-of-the-art health care. OHSU was an early adopter of Epic's EMR technology, and the emergency department continues to remain at the cutting edge as the scope of technology's ability to enhance and coordinate care, reduce errors, and reach patients with limited access continues to grow. 2014 saw the launch of the Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE), a statewide effort for hospitals and primary care providers to communicate regarding high utilization patients and, when appropriate, to craft thoughtful guidelines for their care. OHSU has been a forerunner in adopting this program, and our team members have been leaders in designing a template for community-wide use so that EDIE becomes a powerful, useful, and patient-centered tool rather than a generator of EMR background noise.

Thank you for your interest in our program and please feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.

O. John Ma, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Emergency Medicine