The realm of emergency medicine has recently mourned the loss of a remarkable figure, Dr. E. Brooke Lerner, a distinguished scholar and a compassionate advocate for healthcare. Dr. Lerner, renowned for her role as the Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University at Buffalo, made an indelible mark on the prehospital care landscape. Her valiant battle against cancer stands as a poignant testament to her unyielding commitment to advancing Emergency Medical Services (EMS). In this tribute, we honor the exceptional life and contributions of Dr. Brooke Lerner.
Dr. Lerner embarked on her journey in prehospital care more than two decades ago, beginning as a paramedic in the field. Her firsthand experiences ignited a passion for enhancing emergency medical services, leading her to dedicate her entire career to this noble pursuit. Her extraordinary journey included a pivotal role on the Board of Directors of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), where she played a central role in shaping the future of EMS.
President of NAEMSP, Dr. José G. Cabañas, MD, MPH, FAEMS, expressed the organization’s profound sorrow at her passing and underscored the enduring legacy she leaves behind. Dr. Cabañas highlighted her exceptional mentorship, her contributions to trauma and pediatric emergency care, and her instrumental efforts in elevating prehospital care standards.
Throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Lerner was a prolific researcher, focusing on the relatively limited literature base of EMS research. She authored more than 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. Particularly noteworthy was her leadership in developing the current national guideline for mass casualty triage, showcasing her unparalleled expertise and leadership.
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 sole prehospital node and serving on its Executive Committee, Dr. Lerner tirelessly worked to enhance care for pediatric patients during 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, designed to support early-career EMS researchers. Her desire to leave behind a legacy of continual improvement in prehospital care bore witness to her selflessness and unwavering dedication to the field she held dear.
Dr. Lerner’s contributions were not left 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 EMS field. A decade later, she was awarded the Ronald D. Stewart Award, solidifying her legacy as a trailblazer in emergency medical services.
The impact of Dr. Brooke Lerner on the world of prehospital care is immeasurable. Her research, mentorship, and leadership have not only shaped the field but also enhanced the quality of care for countless patients. Beyond her professional accomplishments, her compassion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence in emergency medicine touched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing her.
The passing of Dr. E. Brooke Lerner leaves a significant void in the world of prehospital care. However, her legacy will continue to inspire and guide future generations of EMS professionals. Her relentless pursuit of excellence, groundbreaking research, and dedication to mentorship have left an enduring 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 forever serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for all those who follow in her footsteps.