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Department of Emergency Medicine

History of the Department

The idea of an Integrated Residency in Emergency Medicine was considered soon after the inception of the medical school itself in the mid-1970s. By 1976, a group of individuals, including James Agna, M.D., George Lechner, M.D., John Beljan, M.D., and others, had discussed the formation of the residency using the clinical facilities at Kettering Medical Center. Supplemental services would be gained by relationships with Greene Memorial Hospital and Dayton Children's Medical Center. From the beginning, the training program had a free-standing relationship with the dean of the medical school. A well known educator and researcher in emergency medicine, Carl Jelenko, III, M.D., was brought on board in late 1976. By 1977, the training program was approved and the first residency class of two individuals, Craig Miller and Craig Williams, began in 1978. The program rapidly expanded its capacity, and the next class had four members.

At this time in the development of the specialty, training in emergency medicine was two years in length. Therefore, the first graduating class completed its training in June 1980. At the same time, due to successes in the growth and recognition of the program as one of the first 10 programs in emergency medicine in the United States, Dr. Jelenko and his team were recognized by the School of Medicine with full academic departmental status in mid-1980. Wright State had the fourth full academic Department of Emergency Medicine in the country! 

In late 1980, the many continued plans and positive anticipation for growth were seriously compromised by a debilitating stroke to the founding chair, Carl Jelenko, M.D., who had a known history of diabetes mellitus. Through much of 1981, the department was held together through the considerable efforts of clinical faculty, the acting chair, James Agna, M.D., and the single faculty member, James Jagger, M.D. The residents at that time had a major role in sustaining the integrity and forward momentum of the department.

Glenn C. Hamilton, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine and internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati, was recruited by the Wright State School of Medicine Dean William Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., to be the new department chair, effective January 1, 1982. Dr. Hamilton, initially trained in internal medicine at the University of Michigan, served as director of Wayne County General's Emergency Department in Detroit, and completed a two year residency in emergency medicine with Peter Rosen, M.D., at the Denver General Hospital Program.

At the time of his hiring, there was one faculty member (James Jagger, M.D.) and 30 residents in training, and the newly constituted RRC in Emergency Medicine was to arrive in six months. In a relatively short period of time, the didactic curriculum was modified, Miami Valley Hospital was included as a full partner, and an additional three faculty were hired to begin in July 1982. These included Jonathan Singer, M.D. (University of Cincinnati ­ Pediatrics), Frederick Epstein, M.D. (University of Cincinnati ­ Emergency Medicine) and John McCabe, M.D. (Wright State ­ Emergency Medicine). With this initial talented team, a supportive environment and a wonderful cadre of residents, the program survived its first RRC visit in June 1982 and has not looked back since.

Some Department Milestones

Since the early days, the department has had several milestones. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • 1985 ­ Addition of Timothy Janz, M.D., as Critical Care Director
  • 1986 ­ Addition of James Olson, Ph.D., as Research Director
  • 1988 Emergency medicine becomes a required clerkship for WSU fourth year medical students
  • 1989 ­ Air Force becomes a full partner in the department and residency program
  • 1991 - Move from Rosary Hall at Good Samaritan Hospital to the Cox Heart Institute brings together the department's administrative, educational and research activities in one place. Dr. Hamilton's Program Director role passes to Jonathan Singer, M.D.
  • 1991 ­ Publication of the first medical student curriculum textbook with student and instructor guide
  • 1992 ­ Graduation of the 100th resident physician
  • 1993 ­ Publication of department and residency based textbook, Presenting Signs and Symptoms in the Emergency Department
  • 1994 ­ Addition of James E. Brown, M.D., as EMS Director
  • 2000 ­ Closure of Franciscan Medical Center (the former St. Elizabeth Medical Center) with a significant shift of emergency medicine population in the city. Dr. Singer steps down as Program Director. Dr. Brown assumes the role.
  • 2001 ­ Graduation of the 200th resident physician
  • 2001 ­ Establishment of the ACGME-approved Sports Medicine Program and the Faculty Development Fellowship
  • 2002 ­ Addition of Brian Springer, M.D., as Sports Medicine Associate Director
  • 2002 ­ Addition of Mark Gebhart, M.D., as EMS/Preparedness Director
  • 2003 Publication of Emergency Medicine: An Approach to Clinical Problem Solving, 2nd Edition and Medical Student Workbook and Instructor Guide, 5th Edition
  • 2005 ­ Addition of Mike Ballester, M.D., as Undergraduate Medical Education Director
  • 2005 ­ Addition of a WSU civilian position in emergency medicine at Wright-Patterson Medical Center
  • 2005 ­ Inauguration of the Homeland Emergency Learning and Preparedness (HELP) Center at the 25th Anniversary Department Celebration.
  • 2006 Addition of retired Air Force Colonels John Wightman, M.D., (Education Director) and Raymond Ten Eyck, M.D. (Simulation Center Director).
  • 2007 Department grants in medical readiness exceed $10 million through the HELP Center. Planning for expanded Simulator Center begins.
  • 2008 Department faculty (Drs. Hamilton and Gebhart) participate as primary investigators in the Ohio Research Scholars Program.
  • 2008: Graduated 300th resident physician.
  • 2009: The Division of Tactical Emergency Medicine became operational.
  • 2010: Dr. Hamilton's chair role passes to Dr. Brown.
  • 2011: Addition of J.R. Pickett, M.D., (EMS Director) and Stacey Poznanski, D.O., (Medical Student Clerkship Director).
  • 2012: Addition of Ed Fieg, D.O. (Associate Program Director).
  • 2013: Dr. Brown's program director role passes to Dr. Fieg. Addition of Catherine Marco, M.D., (Scholarly Works Director) and Dennis Mann, M.D., (Toxicology Director).
  • 2014: Dr. Ten Eyck led the simulation training center to all time training highs of nearly 7,000 student simulations. Dr. Brian Springer, Tactical Division Director, provides resident training opportunities for operational support in the community for 64 missions.
  • 2015: Dr. Brown, chair, adds role as program director. Drs. Springer and Poznanski join Dr. Johnson in roles of associate program directors.
  • 2016: Dr. Ballester joins the department. Dr. Brown's role as program director passes to Dr. Ballester.
  • 2021: The residency moved from the Cox Heart Institute to 2555 University Blvd., Suite 110, Fairborn, OH 45324.

Currently, the department has 18 full-time faculty, 8 supported by Wright State University and 10 supported by Wright-Patterson Medical Center. More than 100 clinical faculty (about 30 percent graduates of the program) are actively involved in medical student and resident education. The current integrated hospitals in the training program include: Kettering Medical Center, Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton Children's Hospital and Wright-Patterson Medical Center. The emergency departments in these sites collectively see more than 300,000 patient visits. The residency currently supports 51 residents in an R1-R3 format. It has a free-standing Fellowship in Faculty Development for those interested in training to become faculty in academic emergency medicine. The department holds a long history of scholarly productivity, including its own textbooks, literally hundreds of papers and millions of dollars in grant support. More than 400 residents have graduated with excellent retention in the continued practice of emergency medicine. It has supplied more than 60 emergency physicians to the immediate Miami Valley area and done its part to sustain and improve the quality of emergency care in this region.

At age 40, the department remains enthusiastic and ever changing. It is a viable and valuable addition to the medical school and the community that it serves. Long-term relationships with institutions and individuals have been well served and will continue as the department looks toward a future of academic growth and development and community service. For more than 30 years it has been a privilege to be part of this medical school, the Dayton community and the Miami Valley region. We can only look forward to the opportunities the next decades will bring.

Last edited on 04/29/2022.