Emergency Medicine Division of Global and Population Health
We seek to advance knowledge, skills, and reflective practices in global and population health; in pursuit of that, we create and execute educational and research initiatives in community and academic settings that improve the health care of patients and communities.
To improve the health of vulnerable populations.
Focuses of the Division
Global health is an area of medicine, aiming to improve health and health equity around the world, focusing on health issues that transcend borders. Global Emergency Medicine seeks to specifically improve emergency medical care worldwide.
Population Health focuses on the need to better understand the biopsychosocial model of disease and the importance of the social determinants of health. It is closely linked to Social Emergency Medicine, which emphasizes the role of emergency medicine in improving health disparities and health inequity.
The study of climate change and human health involves recognizing the climate crisis as a public health emergency and opportunity to advance health equity and justice in high, middle, and low-income settings through collective action. Anthropogenic climate change is one, if not the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. As sea and land surface temperatures increase, there are widespread harmful effects to health. People are becoming sick from exposure to extreme heat and air pollution; globally, nearly one in five people die prematurely due to air pollution from fossil fuels. People are being forced to leave their communities due to climate-related extreme weather events (wildfires, heat, floods, cyclones, droughts, dust storms). The direct and indirect, frequently cascading, effects are contributing to heart failure exacerbations, asthma and other respiratory disease exacerbations, infections, and behavioral health disorders. While all people are at risk, specific populations are at greater risk of poor health. As health professionals, we are witnessing the changing injuries and patterns of disease that result. We are also part of the problem with almost 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. coming from the health sector. Through research, education, and policy, health professionals are engaging in solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the effects of climate change, and build health care facility and community resilience against climate-related extreme weather events.
Wilderness medicine is the practice of medicine, typically in austere conditions and environments, with limited resources. Wilderness medicine has many overlaps with various aspects of emergency medicine, such as pre-hospital/EMS, disaster medicine, sports medicine, dive and hyperbaric medicine, global health, trauma, etc., and has a wide range of practice areas from the true backcountry, to the heart of a metropolis. The practice of wilderness medicine focuses on the pathophysiology and injury patterns that patients encounter in these environments. The wilderness provider learns to hone her skills through focus on not only strong clinical judgment based on a firm educational foundation, but also improvisational skills to efficiently triage, stabilize, evacuate, and otherwise provide care to patients in a resource-poor environment.
Student Educational Opportunities
One-month elective exploring population health in the Emergency Department and addressing the social determinants of health, emphasizing the biopsychosocial disease model. The curriculum includes a patient shadowing experience in which students see the Emergency Department through the patient’s eyes, a deeper dive into the role of services such as social work and mental health, and didactics that encourage students to reexamine how they evaluate and communicate with patients. We will hear from vulnerable patient populations and focus on how best to address the needs of all patients in the ED.
Four-week elective to introduce students to the challenges encountered in austere environments. At the end of the course, they will have basic knowledge about the epidemiology of injuries and illness in the wilderness setting with the ability to prevent and appropriately respond to a broad range of medical situations in an environment with limited resources. The course is comprised of a combination of didactics both in the classroom and outdoors, hands-on training in wilderness survival skills, patient management, and simulation. There will be a required regionally-based camping trip as well as a trip to Ozark National Scenic Riverways for further skill-building. The final course evaluation will be based on a combination of professionalism, mastery of taught skills, and final written and practical examinations.
In this four-week elective, students will learn how physicians across specialties are interacting with scientists, policymakers, public health officials, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations to actively address the adverse health effects of a warming planet. Evidence-informed content will review the climate science and key reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Students will expand their knowledge of climate change and its effects on health and learn about adaptation for clinical practice. They will develop a critical understanding of the widespread implications on access to care and health care service delivery at the local and global level. The course will provide opportunity to improve written and oral communication skills on specific areas of interest and offer a global perspective on climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience-building as it pertains to medical and surgical practice. The course will be framed around climate justice with emphasis on vulnerable populations and advocacy as a health professional. Students will leave with the foundational resources and skills necessary to be the climate champions that their academic or community practice—and patients—rely upon in residency and beyond.
Longitudinal curriculum for all residents, including lectures and didactics during conference that aims to increase awareness of patients’ background and “doors” that they frequent that we have never passed through, with a focus on vulnerable groups in the Emergency Department including those with chronic illness, homelessness, substance abuse, mental health disease, prisoners, and the injured.
An optional longitudinal curriculum for all interested Emergency Medicine Residents that includes didactic lectures, simulations, and real-world skills acquisition through outdoor/backcountry experiences that prepares residents for completion of nationally recognized certifications and builds a foundation for an academic wilderness emergency medicine career.
An optional longitudinal curriculum for all interested Emergency Medicine Residents to further explore and understand the social determinants of health, health disparities and their impact on patients in the Emergency Department with case-based discussions, journal clubs, capstone project, and other educational activities.
The MCW Office of Global Health sponsors GME Scholars in Global Health, a two-year global health curriculum to advance global health knowledge, skills, and experience. It involves multidisciplinary interactive didactics, resident-led journal clubs, networking with fellow residents, fellows, and globally engaged faculty. The curriculum has a special emphasis on leadership skills and development in global health. It is available for all interested residents and fellows, in any specialty.