Emergency Medicine

Real-life emergency medical research today to improve the care of tomorrow

The Emergency Medicine Division at UWA was established in 1996 to provide teaching and research support to emergency departments in Perth hospitals. Our research is unique in that it looks at the first few hours of patient attendance within a medical facility where immediate treatment, for potentially life-threatening illnesses or injuries, is needed.

Final-year MD students study within the Emergency Medicine Division to gain practical experience in critical illness, trauma, toxicology and undifferentiated presentations. Students are able to refine their clinical skills and diagnostic reasoning through day-to-day exposure to real-life situations, while under the supervision of qualified doctors.

The Emergency Medicine Division offers postgraduate research opportunities in collaboration with the Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine.

Emergency Medicine researchers and educators collaborate with a number of local and international institutions to improve the diagnosis and treatment of emergency medicine patients. These include the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Rural Health West.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics 2017-2018

8 million people+ visited Australian public hospital emergency departments

Patients aged 65+ made up more than 22% of the emergency department presentations

hospital Created with Sketch.

Injuries and poisonings accounted for 1 in 4 presentations. Abdominal pain and chest pain were the most common causes for admission to hospital

WA tops states for alcohol-related emergency admissions

Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine


The Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine (CCREM) is located within the Medical Research Foundation Building on the Royal Perth Hospital site. CCREM is a unique unit that brings together clinical staff working in the Emergency Department and laboratory scientists with expertise in immunology and molecular biology. The Centre has a small in-situ wet laboratory space within the Royal Perth Hospital Emergency Department, and access to comprehensive laboratory facilities in the Medical Research Foundation building. 

Our core research themes are:

  • Determining the cellular mechanisms that amplify anaphylactic, septic and haemorrhagic shock
  • Improving outcomes from severe sepsis and respiratory emergencies (specifically septic shock, pneumonia, anaphylaxis, pneumothorax and thromboembolic disease) through a series of multicentre clinical trials informed by our ongoing mechanistic research
  • Admission avoidance for elderly patients and others with complex needs
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of systems of care

This Centre investigates a number of conditions within the spectrum of disease treated by EDs including; sepsis, trauma, anaphylaxis, geriatric syndromes, chest pain, snake and spider envenoming and drug overdose. 

Our academics hold appointments within UWA’s Division of Emergency Medicine and clinical appointments at Royal Perth Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital. The Centre receives ongoing funding from Royal Perth Hospital, the Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation and the University of Western Australia to continue its vital research.  


UWA’s Emergency Medicine researchers are recognised for their international excellence and commitment to investigating underlying mechanisms of disease, common emergency clinical problems and translational research. This research has direct benefits to Emergency Department patients by improving their treatment and clinical outcomes.

Research is undertaken in a number of fields including toxicology, immunology, allergy, respiratory medicine, critical care, geriatrics, disaster preparedness, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, prehospital care, diagnostic testing, health systems, medical education, cardiology, microbiology and infectious diseases, clinical pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, and evidence-based practice. 

The Division of Emergency Medicine is active in local, national and international multisite research collaborations, and welcomes opportunities to expand its research activities.

UWA Projects

Acute interventions to prevent recurrent falls in older patients presenting to EDs
A single centre study to investigate Allied Health teams’ interventions in the ED.
Disaster preparedness in young people, an international survey
A survey across nine countries to describe disaster preparedness education and preparedness in high-school children.
Impact of the National Emergency Access Target
A national epidemiological study of changes in ED function following introduction of the Four Hour Rule.
Rates of Pulmonary Emboli with Computed Tomographic Pulmonary Angiograms in Emergency Departments (RESPECT-ED)
A multi-centre project investigating strategies for diagnosis of pulmonary embolism with computed tomography pulmonary angiography.

CCREM Projects

Chest Pain Registry
The chest pain registry is a longitudinal study of patients presenting to the Emergency Department with chest pain and is looking at medium term outcomes of these patients. Coordinated by CCREM partner, Fremantle Hospital Emergency Medicine Research.
Critical illness and shock study (CISS)
A prospective study of patients presenting to the Emergency Department with critical illness or injury that compromise the cardiovascular and/or respiratory systems. Currently focusing on the acute immune response to anaphylaxis, septic shock, traumatic brain injury and post-cardiac arrest.
Identification of biomarkers that correlate with clinical features and outcomes following concussion
Clinical data, imaging, neuropsychological testing and blood samples of patients with concussion will be correlated with outcomes. This may lead to the development of improved tools for diagnosis and prognosis.
A study to assess the effectiveness of current ED treatment in the reduction of symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax Study
An Australasian randomised controlled trial of conservative management with observation only versus interventional (aspiration and/or insertion of chest drain) treatment of primary spontaneous pneumothorax.
Restricted Fluid Resuscitation in Sepsis-associated Hypotension Trial (REFRESH)
A multicentre randomised trial of fluid restricted versus fluid liberal resuscitation in early management of sepsis.
Western Australian Illicit Substance Evaluation (WISE)
A single centre observational study of patients with suspected intoxication with illicit stimulant drugs.


Teaching and education


We pride ourselves on our commitment to innovative, high-quality teaching. UWA Emergency Medicine academics have received numerous Teaching and Learning Awards including: 

  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • UWA Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Faculty Excellence in Contribution to Curriculum Development
  • Faculty Excellence in Individual Teaching
  • Clinical Tutor of the Year Award from the WA Medical Students Society
  • EF Haywood Award for Teaching Excellence at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

We teach throughout all years of the UWA MD program, and the Head of the Division was also the Program Director of the UWA MD program from 2010 to 2018, with medical education expertise across all facets of clinical education including educational governance, curriculum design, content delivery, clinical supervision, assessment, and evaluation.

Our academics contribute to pre-vocational and vocational teaching of junior hospital doctors. In particular, we support Australasian College for Emergency Medicine advanced trainees through accredited research registrar terms at Royal Perth Hospital, geriatric emergency registrar terms at Fiona Stanley Hospital, and medical education registrar terms at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

We are active in continuing professional education of rural health professionals through one-day and two-day emergency up-skilling workshops in collaboration with Rural Health West. These include airway emergencies, acute bone and joint injuries, cardiac emergencies and neurological emergencies. We also conduct a number of Emergency Medicine in the Wilderness courses each year, at remote sites around WA.

Contact Professor Tony Celenza