November 20, 2019

Hess named interim chair of Department of Emergency Medicine

Written by

UAB Portrait Erik Hess 23Erik P. Hess, M.D., MSc, has been named interim chair for the Department of Emergency Medicine, effective December 1, 2019.

Hess, a physician-scientist, currently serves as vice chair for Research and professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He is a graduate of the UAB School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in emergency medicine and fellowship training in critical care medicine at the Mayo Clinic, as well as a clinical research fellowship and Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. Hess served on faculty at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for more than 12 years.

Since his return to UAB in 2018, Hess has led and co-led several interdisciplinary clinical operations initiatives. He collaborated with the Division of Cardiovascular disease to establish an outpatient Chest Pain Transitional Clinic that provides a reliable method for urgent outpatient follow-up for emergency department patients with chest pain. This initiative has decreased the number of observation admissions for chest pain. As part of this initiative, he has implemented an evidence-based, patient-centered approach to risk stratification, risk communication, and shared decision-making in patients with low to moderate risk chest pain, known as the Chest Pain Choice Pathway.

He recently received a $1.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to combat the opioid epidemic in Jefferson County. He currently leads an initiative called the Medication Assisted Treatment Protocol (ED MAT) within the Department of Emergency Medicine. The initiative identifies patients presenting to the emergency department after an opioid overdose, seeking detoxification, or experiencing a complication of intravenous drug use and initiates MAT with buprenorphine, which has been shown to reduce opioid overdose mortality. Most recently, Hess was named to the Interdepartmental Substance Use Disorders Coordinating Committee by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Additionally, Hess has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, co-authored American Heart Association guidelines, reviewed grants for the NIH, PCORI, and the Emergency Medicine Foundation, and he is a member of the editorial board of Academic Emergency Medicine.

Janyce Sanford, M.D., MBA, who currently serves as chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, is stepping down from the role Dec. 1, 2019. The search for a permanent chair will start June 2020.