One of the many benefits ACEP provides its members is an outstanding educational program called Emergency Medicine Basic Research Skills (EMBRS). EMBRS is targeted toward early-career emergency physicians who wish to acquire the fundamental skills for performing research. Over the years, hundreds of emergency physicians from many nations have learned basic components of research from this intensive 10-day, two-session course. Previous participants have gone on to change the practice of emergency medicine through their research.
EMBRS was initially developed and offered under the management of course founder Edward Panacek, MD, MPH, FACEP, in 1997. Dr. Panacek assembled a peer group with complimentary areas of overlapping expertise. The members of this peer group and the information presented through EMBRS have been updated each year as new techniques and processes have been introduced. For instance, modeling and regression techniques were not an early emphasis, but have been added to the course as our specialty has embraced these research techniques. Over the years, Dr. Panacek taught more than 600 students the fundamentals of research.
Felix Ankel, MD, a director on the board of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, said, “The EMBRS course was pivotal in helping me understand data analysis and synthesis. Although clinical research has not been the focus of my career, this course allowed me to engage in critical discourse when making leadership and management decisions in the subsequent decades. Hour for hour, it was the most valuable investment of time and effort to help me develop my critical thinking. I recommend it to anyone.”
Each fall, the first seven-day session teaches fundamentals of research, including study design, hypothesis formation, data collection practicalities, data analysis, and results presentation. The course culminates in a three-day spring session covering advanced topics, providing participants an opportunity to present their application for a $5,000 grant funded by the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF). Some of these grant-funded projects have helped launch new investigators’ careers and led to additional funding by governmental agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, and by national foundations and associations, such as the American Heart Association.
“The EMBRS course provided an excellent foundation in research and academic skills,” said Jody Vogel, MD, incoming chair of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Program Committee. “The grant I was awarded provided highly valuable support for a significant research study. Overall, the EMBRS course enhanced my academic skill set, which facilitated future successful publications, grants, and my research career.”
EMBRS course director Gary Gaddis, MD, PhD, FACEP, was introduced as a faculty member to teach biostatistics in 2009. He became course director in 2017 and continues to lead a team of instructors who inspire novice researchers to change our practice for the better. This year, he will include a new statistical analysis module that includes downloading and using the SPSS package to enhance the practical benefit to students. Mindful of the needs of adult learners, the class will have more active learning time and less lecture time.
More information about the course can be found on the ACEP website.
Dr. Limkakeng is associate professor and director of acute care research in the division of emergency medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.