Trauma Research Department at JPS

DECEMBER 1, 2014

As the only Level I Trauma Center in Tarrant County, John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) is well-known for the life-saving care it provides to its patients. It is increasingly going to be known for medical research, as well. Ongoing research aimed at improving patient outcomes is one of the key requirements for a hospital to be designated as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, and JPS continues to prioritize new research efforts.

The Texas Health Care surgeons who practice at JPS are no strangers to conducting important medical research. For example, Daniel Ziegler, M.D., has conducted extensive research for the last several years on the use of transcranial Doppler sonography, in order to better diagnose patients who are suspected of suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

JPS, as a result of its partnership with Texas Health Care, now has its first Medical Director of Acute Care Surgery and Trauma Research, Therese Duane, M.D. Dr. Duane, who is also Vice-Chair of Quality and Safety at JPS, has an extensive background in trauma surgical care and related research. She recently shared her thoughts on her new role at JPS:

Q: What does your new position at JPS entail?

A: “The position is one that I am creating, as it is new to the institution. I will be assessing what research capabilities JPS currently has and building from there. The first things that I will do with the team in place is begin establishing and building prospective observational databases that can be accessed continuously to answer ongoing clinical questions. In addition to this work, I will bring funded research to JPS to build the resource base and expand the interventional capabilities of the institution.”

Q: You have an extensive background in medical research. What is it about JPS (or North Texas) that made you want to come here to practice and conduct research?

A: “I had been looking at positions all over the country and my husband and I decided that what we really wanted to do was have a positive impact on a community. The leadership at JPS is very eager to elevate the academic standards of the health system and we felt that with the positive momentum in place we could have the biggest impact on the community of Tarrant County and North Texas.”

Q: What specific area(s) of research will you be focusing on in 2015? What do you hope your research will lead to?

A: “I will be looking specifically at surgical infections and collaborating with my husband, Jeffrey Tessier, M.D., who is the new Medical Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship, to evaluate current treatment paradigms and how they impact outcomes on patients. This general approach then allows us to devise new care processes that we can investigate prospectively in order to determine if we can show a difference in outcome and therefore update the evidence to guide our practice.”

Q: What would be some examples of past research you have conducted or been involved with that has changed medical care practices?

A: “I have participated in practice management guidelines for the Eastern Association of the Surgery for Trauma (EAST), where we defined optimal practice for cervical spine evaluation and penetrating trauma to the thorax and abdominal regions.

“Also, I have looked at optimal evaluation strategies in the trauma resuscitation area that has allowed for the elimination of routine plain pelvic and lateral cervical spine films. Not only has this strategy decreased cost to the patient, but it also has made our evaluation of the trauma patient more efficient.

“Finally, I have published research findings on optimal approaches to central line placement and management, as well as co-authored trials on optimal duration of therapy for intra-abdominal infections in the surgical patient. These are just a few of the topics that have altered practice guidelines in trauma, emergency general surgery and critical care.”

Dr. Duane is enthusiastic about her dual leadership responsibilities at JPS, noting that her “role as vice-chair for quality and safety at JPS will also allow for a lot of research into quality metrics and how well they reflect patient care outcomes.”

The research program that Dr. Duane will lead at JPS, combined with the proven trauma and general patient care the hospital provides, is yet one more reason that the Tarrant County public hospital will be continue to be a leading, innovative health care provider for North Texas.