In Memoriam: Peter Rosen, MD, Founding Father of Emergency Medicine

November 21, 2019

Peter Rosen, MD, clinical professor at the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine, passed away Nov. 11 at his home in Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 84. Dr. Rosen was widely regarded as emergency medicine’s founding father.

Peter Rosen, MD, clinical professor at the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine, passed away Nov. 11 at his home in Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 84.

Dr. Rosen was widely regarded as emergency medicine’s founding father. Among his many accomplishments is "Rosen’s Emergency Management: Concepts and Clinical Practice," the first comprehensive textbook of emergency medicine. Dr. Rosen was the founding editor and force behind the textbook, which remains highly regarded as EM’s flagship “field manual.”

Throughout his long and fruitful career, Dr. Rosen spoke, wrote and consulted on all matters of emergency medicine, specifically focusing on the establishment of emergency medicine as a specialty and creating EM residency programs.

At the time of his passing, Dr. Rosen also was a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and professor emeritus at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine.

Dr. Rosen held offices in several academic societies and won numerous prestigious awards related to his work teaching and counseling generations of emergency medicine physicians.

Among Dr. Rosen’s many honors were the SAEM Leadership Award for Outstanding Contribution to Academic Emergency Medicine and ACEP’s Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medicine Award and its Award for Outstanding Contribution in Education. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993. In 2013, Dr. Rosen was awarded an honorary PhD in Science from his medical school alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, for his work in the establishment of the specialty of emergency medicine.

Dr. Rosen was an academic emergency physician since 1971. He received his undergraduate degree in pre-medicine from the University of Chicago in 1955 and his medical degree in 1960 from Washington University medical school.

“It is impossible to describe the depth and breadth of impact that Peter Rosen had on the practice of emergency medicine, here in the United States and throughout the world," said Sam Keim, MD, head of the UArizona Department of Emergency Medicine. "His uncompromising advocacy from the 1970s onward for specialized residency training, original research, and advocacy for patients of all socioeconomic and diverse backgrounds established the specialty onto a path for outstanding achievements we see today. We emergency physicians all stand on the extraordinary platform that he constructed. He loved Tucson and the University of Arizona. He is dearly missed.”