Welcome to the Andrew Levitt Center for Social Emergency Medicine, an independent nonprofit research and advocacy institute
Our work at the Levitt Center explores the interplay of the emergency care system and social forces such as food insecurity, unstable housing, community and interpersonal violence and human exploitation, as together they influence the health of our communities.
An estimated one-third of emergency department (ED) visits are for primary care, and patients often view the ED as a gateway to basic healthcare. Unfortunately, EDs in many areas of the nation are so crowded that they must regularly divert patients to other facilities, and the number of EDs nationally declines every year. The challenges of frequent ED use, racial disparities in pain management, and the scourge of hunger have motivated us to search for solutions in the discipline of emergency medicine and among ED stakeholders. In order to understand and address the challenges, ED researchers must expand their perspective on the nature of emergency care by recognizing the important and growing social role of the ED in the U.S. healthcare system and society.
At the Levitt Center, we offer the notion of Social Emergency Medicine (SEM) as a framework for this expanded perspective. Through research and advocacy, our goal is to expand the practice of emergency medicine to include social context in every encounter and to reach into all corners of our community to reduce the burden of acute illness.