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Rhode Island Hospital Physician, Researcher Esther Choo, M.D., Receives Young Investigator Award from Society of Academic Emergency Medicine


Esther ChooResearch focuses on relationship between substance abuse, intimate partner violence

Rhode Island Hospital emergency medicine physician and researcher Esther Choo, MD, is a recipient of the 2014 Young Investigator Award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) for her research addressing the high occurrence of substance use and intimate partner violence in women. Her research is supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“During my fellowship training, which included analysis of the effect of federal and state drug policies on patients with substance abuse issues, I noticed that many physicians had low self-efficacy around treating women with intimate partner violence (IPV), many of whom had coexisting problems of drug or alcohol use,” Choo said.

Choo continued, “This drew my attention to the specific challenges faced by women with substance use problems, and inspired my long-term interest in gender as a cause of disparities in health and response to treatments. My goal is to become a leader in developing effective interventions for substance abuse and in using novel technologies to advance our identification and treatment of high-risk health behaviors in the acute care setting.”

The SAEM Young Investigator Award recognizes researchers who have a clear commitment to research during the early stage of their academic career.  Specific criteria for the award include: training and certification in emergency medicine; evidence of research collaboration with a senior clinical investigator/scientist; academic accomplishments, such as post-graduate training/education; publication of original scientific manuscripts, abstracts, review articles, chapters, case reports, etc.; grant awards; and presentations at scientific meetings.

Choo, a national advocate for innovation in nurturing and training young researchers, has consistently presented and published in her research field, including 27 original manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals, and 22 scientific presentations at national meetings. She also co-created the Women’s Health in Emergency Care division in the Rhode Island Hospital department of emergency medicine, the first of its kind in the country, which provides care that is specific to women and offers an academic rotation to focus on gender-specific research.

She also created and co-directs a SAEM-approved research fellowship program, and serves on the Executive Committee of the 2014 Academic Emergency Medicine Gender-Specific Research in Emergency Care Consensus Conference. At this conference, she will lead the breakout session on substance abuse, which will develop a national gender-based substance abuse research agenda.

“Dr. Choo is a well-respected young physician and researcher, and is well on her way to becoming an independent investigator,” said Brian Zink, MD, chief of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “She is a creative thinker who develops innovative technology-based approaches to assist her patients, and her commitment to finding new ways to help women with substance abuse and domestic violence issues is exceptional. The SAEM Young Investigator Award recognizes Dr. Choo’s accomplishments and potential, and is a well-deserved honor.”