Pioneering Emergency Physician Appointed to Institute of
By David March
Johns Hopkins Medicine
emergency medicine specialist Gabor Kelen was elected
last week to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the
National Academy of Sciences. With the appointment, Kelen,
a professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at the School
of Medicine, joins 44 other Johns Hopkins faculty elected
to the IOM, which has 1,461 members worldwide.
Established in 1970 by the National Academies, the IOM
honors professional achievement in the health sciences and
serves as a national advisory group for independent
analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine,
biomedical sciences and health.
Kelen, who joined Johns Hopkins in 1984, was among the
first emergency medicine physicians in the country to
conduct original research in the then developing field. His
pioneering work, published in The New England Journal of
Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical
Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine,
helped establish Emergency Medicine as a full academic
department at Hopkins in 1994, with Kelen as its first
Kelen's research was essential to exposing the extent
of the HIV epidemic and subsequent adoption of universal
precautions in health care to prevent its spread. He was
the first clinician-scientist to refute the notion of
universal testing of patients for HIV or other infectious
diseases as a prerequisite to rendering care or performing
procedures, instead turning the focus to universal
precautions. Kelen also promoted the economic effectiveness
and compassionate roles that emergency services play in
delivering health care to people with HIV.
Shortly after 9/11, he became the founding director of
the Office of
Critical Event Preparedness and Response, which helps
Johns Hopkins to prepare for calamitous events and assists
with national and international disaster-relief efforts.
Most recently, CEPAR provided assistance to victims of the
tsunami in Southern Asia, hurricane Katrina in the Gulf
Coast and the earthquake in Pakistan. Kelen's current
research interests are in developing the scientific
foundations and methodologies necessary to study the expert
field of disaster response.
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