Marisa Preyer

Effective March 1, 2023, Arjun Venkatesh MED ’14 will become the new face of emergency medicine at Yale. 

As the new chair of the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine and chief of emergency medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, Venkatesh’s goals for the program focus a patient-centered approach and an effort to create an equitable environment for all.

Following a nationwide search, Venkatesh was selected for his exceptional leadership capabilities, according to Nancy Brown — the dean of the Yale School of Medicine and a professor of internal medicine.

“Under Dr. Venkatesh’s leadership, we have the opportunity to influence the practice of emergency medicine, not only at Yale but nationally,” Brown told the News.

Venkatesh has worked in Yale’s Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, also known as CORE, for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he researched and advanced efforts to improve the quality of the U.S. healthcare system in terms of patient outcomes, costs of care and overall equity.

In this role, Venkatesh aims to bring these goals to fruition in Yale’s emergency medicine departments, namely through the maintenance and growth of a diverse and inclusive medical team. He highlighted the importance of this directive in the settings of both the School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital by connecting these efforts to creating the best possible experience for patients of all backgrounds.

“We are the front door to the hospital, and we are a refuge for vulnerable populations seeking care,” Venkatesh said. “If we don’t look like our community, then we can’t succeed at healing our community. We will continue to be intentional in not just recruitment, but also creating a culture of inclusivity in our department so that people who are underrepresented in medicine keep seeking out opportunities at Yale.”

Venkatesh has long been excited by the diagnostic puzzles that a clinical professional encounters every day in medicine. He said that his formative experience as a second-year medical student perfectly aligned with the way that emergency medicine operates.

“I got hooked to emergency medicine the first time I had the chance to shadow a faculty member and learn how to use a stethoscope,” Venkatesh said. “I also appreciated that emergency care was one of the few places in medicine aligned to my values – we take care of anyone, anytime regardless of their ability to pay – that is a unique privilege to be part of the healthcare safety net.”

Venkatesh will lead an emergency medicine education department that receives some of the highest National Institutes of Health funding for its work, according to associate professor of emergency medicine Sharon Chekijian MED ’01 SPH ’11.

“In our faculty group we have top-notch researchers in substance use disorder[s], global emergency care development, simulation education and ultrasound education,” Chekijian said. “All of us have our clinical work as well as taking care of the community that surrounds us.”

Chekijian said that the School of Medicine has a drive for consistent improvement, noting how Venkatesh is the perfect candidate with expertise in clinical care, education and research to further this objective.

Chekijian cited the mission “to advance the science as the practice of emergency medicine” of Yale’s Emergency Medicine Program while lauding Venkatesh’s position as one of the best professionals to make this a reality.

“Emergency medicine is a fairly new specialty in the landscape of medicine,” Chekijian said. “This means we take building the specialty and its domain very seriously.”

Yale New Haven Hospital is the only hospital in Connecticut with a Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma facility designation.

Alexandra Martinez-Garcia covers Community Health and Policy and the Yale-New Haven Health System for the SciTech desk. Originally from Gales Ferry, CT, she is a sophomore in Silliman College majoring in Neuroscience.