Christy Hopkins, MD, MPH, MBA, longtime professor of emergency medicine, named inaugural department chair

June 22, 2022 09:00

Christy Hopkins, MD, MPH, MBA, has been named the first chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah.

Christy Hopkins, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of emergency medicine and physician at the University of Utah Health, has been named the first chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah.

Hopkins will oversee a department that has grown to nearly 40 faculty, 20 advanced practice clinicians, 7 fellows, 27 residents and more than 250 staff at three clinical sites. The department sees nearly 90,000 patients in the region each year and accounts for 40% of all university hospital admissions.

“Dr. Hopkins is a uniquely skilled leader,” said Michael L. Good, MD, senior vice president for health sciences, executive dean of Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine and CEO of U of U Health. “She was instrumental in the growth of emergency medicine at U of U Health, including helping the former division of emergency medicine become the department of emergency medicine.”

The faculty of the department now represents all major subspecialties of emergency medicine. This includes critical care, EMS, global health, hospice and palliative care, informatics, toxicology, sports medicine, ultrasound, wild medicine, and hyperbaric medicine/wound care.

Since 2002, Hopkins has held numerous faculty positions, including Medical Director of the U of U Hospitals Emergency Department, which she helped expand to two additional sites. She also facilitated the department’s transition to electronic medical records.

More recently, Hopkins has overseen clinical programming and quality initiatives. And since July 2021, she has been acting head of the Division of Emergency Medicine, which became a department in February this year.

“We are grateful for Dr. Hopkins’ active leadership in his interim role,” Good said. “And we look forward to the roadmap to success she has developed for the department.”

The roadmap emphasizes the diversity of people, ideas and experiences. It also includes investing in people at all levels of the department and building strong teams.

“Strong teams bring excellence to our missions,” Hopkins said. “They were born out of our ability to continue to foster a collaborative culture, cultivate a spirit of innovation, and commit to the highest quality of care.”

As an academic leader, Hopkins expanded opportunities for higher medical education in emergency medicine. The U’s residency and fellowship positions regularly attract top candidates from across the country. She also kept the department active in undergraduate medical education, recognizing the importance of new graduate physicians with clinical experience in emergency situations.

Research was also stimulated under the direction of Hopkins. The department is already a major site for clinical trials involving acute coronary syndrome, TBI, cardiac arrest, pain management and other conditions. Hopkins and his team continue to develop collaborations within the U and with outside partners to expand the portfolio.

“We have begun to strengthen our research foundation with the investments needed to support growth,” she said. “We have recruited a researcher and hired an amazing research director who will grow our programs and help secure extramural grants.”

Hopkins’ leadership in the field of emergency medicine stands against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without a doubt, the past two years have been some of the toughest of our careers,” she said. “As a group, we have gone from fear and uncertainty to bravery and audacity. The challenges [of COVID-19] cemented who we are as a specialty, and also what we as a group have built and become.

“Dr. Hopkins is a tremendous leader,” said Good. “She has a unique vision for the future. We congratulate and welcome her as she steps into this important new leadership role with U of U Health.

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