Planting Seeds: The Emergency Medicine Foundation

In 1973, the ACEP founders were busy starting the fight for specialty recognition, building residency programs, and just navigating the consolidation and outright creation of emergency services ranging from EMT training to building helipads. It’s easy to imagine how the Emergency Medicine Foundation came about in this ferment - "Let’s start a foundation, too!" - and just as easy to see how it took another decade before it hit its stride.

EMF didn’t give its first grant until 1981, $8,500 for two projects underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In 1984, another $2,000 went to Dr. John B. McCabe, who would go on to become ACEP president. But in 1986, EMF began to make an impact: Critical care guru Dr. Peter Safar at the University of Pittsburgh received $5,000 to investigate cardiopulmonary bypass for prolonged cardiac arrest. But it was Dr. William Barsan, then at the University of Cincinnati, who got the first substantial grant, $25,000 for a research fellowship investigating experimental stroke therapies. That funding planted the seed for Dr. Barsan’s latest project, as PI of the clinical coordinating center for the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials—a new NIH-funded $7.7 million national research network.

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