The field of emergency medicine recently suffered a profound loss with the passing of Dr. E. Brooke Lerner, a distinguished scholar and compassionate healthcare advocate. Dr. Lerner, who served as the Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University at Buffalo, left an indelible mark on the world of prehospital care. Her courageous battle against cancer serves as a poignant reminder of her unwavering dedication to advancing EMS (Emergency Medical Services). In this article, we pay tribute to the extraordinary life and contributions of Dr. Brooke Lerner.
Dr. Lerner’s journey in the realm of prehospital care began over two decades ago when she worked as a paramedic in the field. Her firsthand experiences kindled a passion for improving emergency medical services, and she dedicated her career to this noble cause. Her remarkable journey included serving on the Board of Directors of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), where she played a pivotal role in shaping the future of EMS.
NAEMSP President José G Cabañas MD, MPH, FAEMS expressed the organization’s deep sorrow at her passing and emphasized the enduring legacy she leaves behind. Dr. Cabañas remarked on her remarkable mentorship, her contributions to trauma and pediatric emergency care, and her instrumental work in enhancing prehospital care standards.
Throughout her career, Dr. Lerner was a prolific researcher, focusing on a subspecialty with a relatively small literature base—EMS research. She authored over 135 peer-reviewed publications and secured numerous federally funded grants to advance the field. Her research addressed critical areas such as acute injury care, field and disaster triage, and mass casualty response. Notably, she led the development of the current national guideline for mass casualty triage, demonstrating her leadership and expertise.
Her dedication extended to the realm of pediatric emergency care, where she played a pivotal role in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Leading the organization’s only prehospital node and serving on its Executive Committee, Dr. Lerner tirelessly worked to improve care for pediatric patients in emergency situations.
Even in the face of her own health challenges, Dr. Lerner remained committed to the future of EMS. She collaborated with NAEMSP and the GMR Foundation to establish the E. Brooke Lerner Research Fund, aimed at supporting early-career EMS researchers. Her desire to leave behind a legacy of continuous improvement in prehospital care was a testament to her selflessness and unwavering dedication to the field she loved.
Dr. Lerner’s contributions did not go unnoticed, as she received numerous accolades during her illustrious career. In 2013, she was honored with NAEMSP’s Keith Neely Award, recognizing her outstanding achievements in the field of EMS. A decade later, she received the Ronald D. Stewart Award, cementing her legacy as a pioneer in emergency medical services.
Dr. Brooke Lerner’s impact on the world of prehospital care is immeasurable. Her research, mentorship, and leadership have shaped the field and improved the quality of care for countless patients. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she touched the lives of everyone she met with her compassion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence in emergency medicine.
The passing of Dr. E. Brooke Lerner is a great loss to the world of prehospital care, but her legacy will continue to inspire and guide future generations of EMS professionals. Her relentless pursuit of excellence, groundbreaking research, and commitment to mentorship have left an indelible mark on the field. As we remember Dr. Lerner, we are reminded of the profound impact that one person’s selfless dedication can have in elevating the practice of EMS medicine. Her enduring legacy will serve as an everlasting source of inspiration and motivation for all who follow in her footsteps.