Diercks named Chair of newly created Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Davis recruit lauded as exceptional physician, investigator, teacher
By Remekca Owens and Lin Lofley
Dr. Deborah B. Diercks has been appointed founding Chair of the newly created Department of Emergency Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She joins UT Southwestern following 16 years as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, where she most recently served as Professor of Emergency Medicine and Vice Chair for Research. There, Dr. Diercks also was Director of Regulatory Knowledge and Support for the institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards Center.
“Dr. Diercks was identified after a rigorous national search, and was selected based on her exceptional accomplishments as a physician, investigator, and teacher,” said Dr. Gregory Fitz, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School. “She will play a central role in the leadership of the medical school as we look ahead to the future, and I am confident that the department will excel under her leadership.”
Long a leader in the discipline of Emergency Medicine, UT Southwestern has upgraded what had been a Division to create a new Department of Emergency Medicine.
“We’re proud of the services provided by our faculty and trainees,” said Dr. Fitz. “The new Department of Emergency Medicine designation underscores that this first-rate program has made a major difference and will continue to do so.”
Dr. Diercks will be the department’s founding Chair at a propitious time, with the opening of two hospitals in short order. Those hospitals – the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, and the new Parkland Memorial Hospital – will be staffed by UT Southwestern doctors and trainees, all working under the direction of the new department. Taken together, the combined number of emergency visits will make this one of the largest programs in the country.
“We thought creating a new department was the best way to support the important work of our faculty,” Dr. Fitz said. “This follows a national trend, and a growing appreciation for the highly specialized training and skills required to excel in emergency care.
“Parkland is a first-rate facility with one of the best trauma programs in the country, with our faculty and their nurses and personnel,” Dr. Fitz said. “With the opening of the Clements University Hospital, the new Emergency Room will represent the front door to the hospital for those in need of urgent care.
“And I don’t think you can understate how important Dr. Diercks will be to all this. She’s an excellent Emergency Medicine physician, and her combination of skills has made her a national leader in high-intensity care and training.”
In her new role, Dr. Diercks will manage the emergency departments of both the new Clements University Hospital and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dr. Diercks also will hold the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Distinguished Chair in Clinical Care and Research at UT Southwestern.
“This position provides the opportunity to work with outstanding emergency physicians, be a part of an excellent health care system, and serve an amazing community,” Dr. Diercks said. “I look forward to working with others to make this a nationally recognized Department of Emergency Medicine.”
A nationally renowned leader in emergency medicine, Dr. Diercks has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, among other sources, for research on early management of acute coronary syndromes, the influence of gender on symptom characteristics, and utilization of cardiac biomarkers. She has held numerous leadership positions within the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, and was presented the Society’s 2014 Advancement of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine Award recently. Additionally, Dr. Diercks is a Senior Associate Editor of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Diercks earned her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. She went on to complete her residency training at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and later earned a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Fitz holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, and the Atticus James Gill, M.D. Chair in Medical Science.