By Wendy Sarubbi | October 18, 2017 2:30 pm

In its first year, the HCA-UCF Emergency Medicine Residency Program is the hospital system’s top program for research, and six residents will present their scientific discoveries at the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) national conference Oct. 29 to November 1. The national organization represents more than 34,000 emergency physicians, residents and medical students.

The new Emergency Medicine program – based at HCA’s Osceola Regional Medical Center — accepted its first physicians in 2016. Under the direction of Dr. Bethany Ballinger, the program has now hired six faculty who are putting an emphasis on research as well as education.

The residents presented research on a variety of subjects, including better ways to treat patients with sepsis infections and children suffering from cardiac arrest. “To be a part of ACEP is extremely exciting,” said Dr. Leoh Leon, one of the presenting residents. “We are looking forward to share our work and hope to impact the practice amongst emergencies across the country and world.”

Osceola Regional’s Emergency Medicine residency is unique nationally in having a physician who serves as the research and faculty development director, Dr. Latha Ganti. Dr. Ganti was the first Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, a charter member of the Mayo Clinic Center for Translational Science, and the founding Chair for Mayo’s Division of Emergency Medicine Research. She has published extensively in the field of neurologic emergencies, with more than 2,600 citations to her work and over 120 pubmed indexed papers. She has also published over 385 scientific abstracts and manuscripts and 26 books.

“I often say the Emergency Department is our real world lab because no bench research can account for the various nuances of human ailments and the complex psychosocial determinants of health we see,” said Dr. Ganti.  “Robust research mentorship during an emergency medicine residency is critical. The quality of the experience often dictates whether our graduates pursue academic medicine.”

Dr. Ganti noted that Osceola Regional’s status as a trauma center and comprehensive stroke center and its more than 75,000 patients in the Emergency Department a year creates a “perfect” environment for clinical research. The ED has a nationally funded acute stroke clinical trial and Emergency Medicine residents have presented over a dozen research abstracts in the past year at national and international meetings.

“Being accepted into ACEP is an incredible feeling, certainly, one of the proudest moments for our research program” said Dr. Amninder Singh, a second-year Emergency Medicine resident.  “This is due to the hard work, dedication and commitment of our teaching faculty.  They are a testament to our program’s philosophy on evidence based medicine. Their continued support for us allows us to become better residents and researchers. Above all, there is great satisfaction knowing that our work will be disseminated and hopefully make a positive difference in improving emergency medicine.”

Research at Osceola Regional is aided by HCA’s national patient database, which allows physicians to study best practices and outcomes for patient care at hospitals across the country. In her first year, Dr. Ganti worked with HCA research leaders at the company’s headquarters in Nashville to develop streamlined procedures for residents to access such data. The residency program’s research mission is backed up by an educational program that includes an emphasis on active and digital learning and simulation training. Based on that curriculum UCF-HCA Emergency Medicine residents now score about the national average for their in-training exam scores.

Dr. Ballinger said encouraging physicians to conduct research during their residency training improves patient care. “Physicians love to learn,” she said. “That’s part of what drives us to be the best physicians we can be. Life-long learning is a crucial part of practicing medicine. By having a strong research presence in the residency program and by instilling a love of asking the right questions, we can train residents to be continuously pushing the boundaries of Emergency Medicine. Each physician can contribute to the knowledge base of Emergency Medicine.  Patients benefit by having care provided by skilled and up-to-date doctors.”



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