Steven Brooks

It remains the most important grant that I have listed on my CV …

June 11 2012 - KGH physician Dr. Steven Brooks working in the emergency department at Kingston General Hospital.
June 11 2012 – KGH physician Dr. Steven Brooks working in the emergency department at Kingston General Hospital.

I was the proud winner of a small grant from the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians in 2007 to conduct a systematic review of the literature on a particular prehospital strategy for the management of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction patients.  This was the first grant I had ever won. In fact, this project was my first foray into emergency medicine research. For any of you who have ever done a systematic review of literature, you know that the work can be very challenging and tedious.  Nonetheless, I found myself driven to find the answer to the research question we had posed.

I wrote the CAEP grant application during the last year of my emergency medicine residency.  At the time, I had developed an interest in research, but hadn’t really made the commitment in my own heart to a career focused on emergency medicine research, so it was a pivotal time for me. I was lucky enough to have excellent mentorship from Dr. Laurie Morrison and others at the University of Toronto.  The work with that was supported with this grant forged a mentor-mentee relationship that continues to this day!

Even though this grant was relatively small, it remains the most important grant that I have listed on my CV.  Anyone who looks at my CV can see that this grant was the seed for many other grant and salary support opportunities.  It was this small grant that demonstrated to others that I was making a commitment to research and had some potential.  It is so important for early investigators to have the opportunity to apply for and win these smaller research grants so that they can develop a track record and be more competitive when applying for larger grants and salary support awards.

Winning this grant got me addicted to research. I began to learn the art of designing a tight research question and marketing it in the form of a convincing grant application. The joy, sense of accomplishment and vote of confidence provided by the CAEP Research Grant played a huge role in my decision to make research such a big part of my career.  Almost a decade later, I am a Clinician-Scientist  and Associate Professor in the Department of emergency medicine at Queen’s University.  I am the Principal Investigator on several CIHR- and HSFC-funded studies on resuscitation and cardiac arrest.  I have had the good fortune of being an investigator on more than 24 grants since that initial one provided by CAEP. I am trying to improve the community response to cardiac arrest through the use of new technology for crowdsourcing and knowledge translation. I now have the privilege of mentoring clinical and research trainees who are considering careers in emergency medicine research.  I always point them towards this grant opportunity and hope that it can be the catalyst for them that it was for me.

 

Steven C. Brooks

Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen’s University