Paula J Tanabe
Laurel Chadwick Distinguished Professor of Nursing

Paula Tanabe is a Tenured Professor in the Schools of Nursing and Medicine at Duke. She earned a BS in Nursing at Rush University and an MS in Nursing at Loyola University, Chicago. She completed her PhD in 1996 at the University of Illinois-Chicago. From 2004 to 2006, she was a post-doctoral Health Services Research Fellow at Northwestern University, and completed an MPH at Northwestern in 2006.

Dr. Tanabe’s research in emergency medicine and health services includes studies of pain management practices in the emergency department (ED) with a strong emphasis on improving the care of persons in the ED with sickle cell disease. Dr. Tanabe developed the Emergency Department Sickle Cell Assessment of Needs and Strengths (ED-SCANS), a quality improvement framework aimed at improving the care of adults with sickle cell disease in the ED setting. She has also developed a pediatric version of the ED-SCANS. She is a member of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health Expert Panel developing evidence-based guidelines for primary care providers in the care of patients with sickle cell disease. Dr. Tanabe is collaborating with Community Care of North Carolina to disseminate the emergency department guidelines from NHLBI throughout emergency departments in North Carolina. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Emergency Nursing and the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Tanabe has also conducted research in the area of emergency department triage. She is one of four members of Emergency Severity Index (ESI) Triage Research Group and has conducted research on this triage system and worked with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop standard training materials; ESI is now used in over 50% of all EDs in the United States, and also in several other countries. Dr. Tanabe has over 30 years of experience as an ED nurse, researcher and educator and has published more than 40 journal articles.

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