D’Onofrio named head of emergency medicine

Gail D’Onofrio, M.S., M.D., associate professor of surgery (emergency medicine), has been named section chief of emergency medicine at the medical school and chief of adult emergency services at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She had led both services in an interim position since 2004.

Gail D’Onofrio
Gail D’Onofrio

D’Onofrio practiced nursing for many years before getting her medical degree in 1987. She chose emergency medicine, she said, for the excitement of making a radical difference in patients’ lives, literally in seconds. She calls her practice one of “controlled chaos” and acknowledges that it takes a particular personality to cope. In addition to her clinical work, she has done research on using the emergency department to move alcohol and drug abusers into treatment. She recently received a $3.6 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to test a counseling intervention with harmful and hazardous drinkers. Half of all major traumas are alcohol- or drug-related, so addressing substance abuse can prevent visits to the emergency department.

In her dual roles she manages emergency departments on-site and at a satellite clinic in Guilford, Conn., and conducts research, teaches medical students and is responsible for emergency physicians in residency. She is also medical director of Women’s Heart Advantage, a New Haven-based program aimed at educating patients and clinicians about the risks of cardiovascular disease in women. And she heads Project ASSERT, a program in which health promotion advocates screen emergency department patients for drug and alcohol abuse.