Stanford Medicine appoints inaugural chair of Department of Emergency Medicine

Andra Blomkalns, a leader in medical device innovation and translational medicine, will head Stanford’s emergency medicine department.

Andra Blomkalns

Andra Blomkalns, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has been appointed the inaugural chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her first day will be Sept. 15.

“Dr. Blomkalns has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and the translation of academic discovery to the patient bedside,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “As a distinguished clinician and mentor, she is also deeply committed to our tripartite mission of patient care, research and education. I’m delighted she will be joining us.”

Blomkalns will lead the department as preparations unfold for the final phase of construction at the new Stanford Hospital, which is scheduled to open in late 2019 and which will include a new, larger space for emergency care. (Sam Shen, MD, clinical associate professor of emergency medicine, and Mary Hawn, MD, professor and chair of of surgery, have been serving as interim co-chairs of the department.)

Blomkalns is the division chief of general emergency medicine and vice chair for academic affairs and business development at UT Southwestern’s Department of Emergency Medicine. She also is on the intellectual property advisory committee and serves as the clinical liaison to the office for technology development.

“I’m thrilled to be coming to Stanford,” said Blomkalns, a native of New Orleans. “My passion for technology development and medical device innovation fits perfectly with Stanford’s leadership in this arena. Stanford has the unique capacity to become the home of the world’s leading experts in emergency care innovation.”

During her three-year tenure at UT Southwestern, Blomkalns’ academic work focused on the evaluation and improvement of the process for technology development and commercialization. She earned an MBA at the University of Texas-Dallas this year with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship.

‘Proven innovator and leader’

Previously, Blomkalns served as residency program director and vice chair for academic affairs in emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Her research has focused on cardiovascular emergencies, obesity and dietary influences on health and disease.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a proven innovator and leader like Dr. Blomkalns joining our institution,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “She has a distinguished record as a compassionate clinician and an accomplished researcher in academic medicine. As we plan for the opening of our new Stanford Hospital in 2019, her appointment as the inaugural chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine comes at a critical time. We are incredibly pleased to have such an outstanding leader join us to help us advance the emergency care services that we offer to patients in our community.” 

Blomkalns received her medical degree in 1997 from Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. She is former president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Dennis Lund, MD, interim CEO and chief medical officer of Stanford Children’s Health, said, “We welcome Dr. Blomkalns to Stanford Medicine and excitedly anticipate her arrival to oversee the development of the Department of Emergency Medicine. We know that she will be an excellent leader and partner in the emergency care of children.”

The search committee was led by Leslee Subak, MD, professor and chair of of obstetrics and gynecology, and Odette Harris, MD, professor of neurosurgery.

“We are excited about the selection of Dr. Blomkalns,” Harris said. “She brings energy and vision as assets to a fantastic department poised for progress and growth. Her leadership is well-anticipated.”

“Her passion for strategic innovation will inspire novel science and new collaborations,” added Subak.

The Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford was established in 2015. Previously it was a division in the Department of Surgery.

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