OECR History

OECR History

The Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR) was announced in July 2012. It is the culmination of more than 5 years of discussions between NIH and the emergency medicine community. It also responds to reports about the nation’s emergency medical system issued in 2006 by the Institute of Medicine:

These reports stated that, despite the lifesaving feats performed every day by emergency departments and ambulance services, the nation's emergency medical system as a whole was overburdened, underfunded and highly fragmented.

In response, NIH gathered representatives from its institutes and centers to form a task force (now called the NIH Emergency Care Research Working Group) in 2007. This group identified many separate NIH-funded research and research training activities in emergency medicine. It concluded that a coordinated, trans-NIH approach would improve efficiency, realize scientific opportunities and enable the rigorous training of new investigators. This would lead to significant, long-term benefits for patient outcomes and advances in the field of emergency care.

In 2008, NIH published a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting broad input on the needs, gaps and roadblocks in emergency care research. The RFI generated a vigorous, community-wide response.

Using this feedback, members of the task force and academic leaders in the field participated in three roundtable discussions aimed at prioritizing emergency care research. They focused on three areas: 1) neurological and psychiatric emergencies, 2) medical/surgical emergencies and 3) trauma emergencies.

Roundtable participants were asked to:

  • Identify current roadblocks and suggest solutions;
  • Identify specific, achievable goals that had the potential to advance and transform the field of emergency care;
  • Set priorities for research; and
  • Determine how investigators in emergency care research could best access NIH resources through the competitive grant process.

The three roundtables resulted in a report to the NIH Director and the following four articles in the November 2010 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine:

These reports identified several perceived barriers to emergency research and made recommendations for meeting research opportunities and overcoming challenges. In response, senior NIH leadership suggested the creation of a single office to coordinate NIH emergency care research and research training. The result is the NIH Office of Emergency Care Research (OECR).

Jeremy Brown, M.D., became the first permanent director of OECR in July 2013.