Platts-Mills given Young Investigator Award

Timothy Platts-Mills, MD, MSc, assistant professor of emergency medicine, was awarded a 2014 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

Platts-Mills given Young Investigator Award click to enlarge Dr. Timothy Platts-Mills

Dr. Platts-Mills came to UNC after completing his residency in Emergency Medicine at UCSF-Fresno. During his first few years, he collaborated with Dr. Sam McLean, one of the top NIH-funded emergency medicine researchers in the country, on their mutual interest in improving outcomes for patients with acute pain resulting from trauma.

His clinical experience helped him gain insight into the challenges of treating acute musculoskeletal pain in older adults. He found the need for research to identify effective treatments to prevent persistent pain and functional decline. To advance his research in these areas, Dr. Platts-Mills competed successfully for an institutional KL 2 award in the NIH-funded UNC CTSA program. He also obtained a Masters of Science in Clinical Research at UNC School of Public Health, one of the top public health schools in the world. In July of 2013, he was awarded an independent K23 career-development award from the National Institute on Aging to examine risk factors for persistent pain and functional decline for older adults experiencing motor vehicle collision.

Dr. Platts-Mills has already built his own impressive research-funding track record with over $1 million in extramural funding. His work has been published in top journals including BMJ, Annals of Emergency Medicine, and Academic Emergency Medicine. To date, Dr. Platts-Mills’ collective work indicates that older adults are less likely to receive pain treatment than younger adults, that side effects in the first week of treatment are common and routinely result in medication discontinuation, and that shared decision making in the selection of outpatient analgesics may reduce side effects and pain symptoms. Initial results from his ongoing longitudinal study of outcomes for older adults experiencing MVC indicate the important role of persistent pain in the development of functional decline in this population, and support further efforts to improve the initial care of musculoskeletal pain in the elderly.

Dr. Platts-Mills has also developed into a leader in academic emergency medicine, taking on leadership responsibilities in national organizations and serving as Chair of SAEM’s Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine in 2011-2012. He currently serves as co-Chair of the American Pain Society’s Geriatric Special Interest Group. Since 2011, he has served as a Decision Editor in the area of geriatrics for Annals of Emergency Medicine.

In addition to his rapidly evolving research career, Dr. Platts-Mills is an outstanding clinician educator and mentor. He received three consecutive emergency medicine residency teaching awards, including the Socrates Award, given annually to the top faculty clinical educator. This year, he received the prestigious UNC Medical Student Research Mentor Award.

This article was written by Dr. Sam McLean.

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