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Steven L. Bernstein MD

Professor of Emergency Medicine; Vice Chair, Academic Affairs

Research Interests

Smoking cessation; Healthcare access; Information technology; Disparities


Research Summary

Dr. Bernstein's chief interest is in clinical trials of tobacco dependence treatment. He developed a screening and treatment intervention for tobacco users in the hospital emergency department, and programs to train providers in tobacco control.

Before coming to Yale in January, 2009, Dr. Bernstein was Vice Chair for Research and Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology & Population Health, and Family & Social Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. At Einstein, he was the PI of a study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that examined the efficacy of a brief motivational interview and nicotine replacement therapy for adult smokers in the ED. Dr. Bernstein maintains an active clinical practice in the ED at Yale New Haven Hospital.

From 2004-2006, Dr. Bernstein chaired the Smoking Cessation Task Force for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The task force was funded by a grant from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, a national program office of the RWJF. The task force, composed of members of all major national organizations in emergency medicine, published an educational, research, and clinical agenda for ED personnel in the arena of tobacco control.

Dr. Bernstein’s other research program concerns the effects of ED crowding on quality of care. He developed the ED Work Index (EDWIN), a validated measure of crowding that has been linked to adverse events. He also chaired SAEM’s ED Crowding Task Force.

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Bernstein's chief interest is in clinical trials of tobacco dependence treatment. He developed a screening and treatment intervention for tobacco users in the hospital emergency department, and programs to train providers in tobacco control.

Before coming to Yale in January, 2009, Dr. Bernstein was Vice Chair for Research and Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology&Population Health, and Family&Social Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. At Einstein, he was the PI of a study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that examined the efficacy of a brief motivational interview and nicotine replacement therapy for adult smokers in the ED. The trial demonstrated the feasibility and efficacy of brief interventions for adult ED patients who smoke. His work in ED-based tobacco control has also been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Legacy Foundation. Dr. Bernstein authored the clinical practice guideline addressing tobacco control interventions in the ED and has presented his work at many national meetings. He has served as an advisor on technical panels for The Joint Commission and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Along with Dr. D’Onofrio, Dr. Bernstein co-chaired the 2009 Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference on Public Health in the ED: Surveillance, Screening, and Intervention. This meeting brought together over 150 attendees and speakers from many federal agencies, emergency medicine, and other specialties to create a research agenda for public health-relevant activities in the ED. The conference was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NIDA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Mental Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Conference proceedings will be published in the November, 2009 issue of AEM.

Dr. Bernstein founded and led the Bronx Einstein Alliance for Tobacco-Free Health, a center supported by the New York State Department of Health, to train all Bronx providers and healthcare systems in tobacco control. He also serves as the co-mentor on a number of career development awards for junior faculty in the field of tobacco control.

At Einstein, Dr. Bernstein founded a center, supported by the CDC and the Association of American Medical Colleges, to enhance the teaching of public health, population health, and prevention to residents in emergency medicine and primary care.

Dr. Bernstein maintains an active clinical practice in the ED at Yale New Haven Hospital. He lectures routinely to students and faculty in several departments on the principles and practice of tobacco control.

From 2004-2006, Dr. Bernstein chaired the Smoking Cessation Task Force for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The task force was funded by a grant from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, a national program office of the RWJF. The task force, composed of members of all major national organizations in emergency medicine, published an educational, research, and clinical agenda for ED personnel in the arena of tobacco control. The group’s follow-up project, also funded by RWJF, was an 8-ED study that demonstrated the efficacy of a one-hour lecture and placement of National Quitline wallet cards in the ED in improving emergency physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding tobacco control.

Dr. Bernstein’s other research program concerns the effects of ED crowding on quality of care. He developed the ED Work Index (EDWIN), a validated measure of crowding that has been linked to adverse events. He also chaired SAEM’s ED Crowding Task Force.


Selected Publications

  • Bernstein SL, Yu S, Dziura J, Post L, Rigotti N. Undertreatment of tobacco use relative to other chronic conditions. Am J Public Health Published online ahead of print June 13, 2013: e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301112
  • Bernstein SL, D’Onofrio G. Substance Use and Behavioral Health in US Emergency Departments: Transforming the Model of Emergency Care. Health Affairs 2013; 32:2122-2128.
  • Shuter J, Bernstein SL, Moadel A. Cigarette Smoking Behaviors in Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. Am J Health Behavior 2012;36:75-85.
  • Bernstein SL, Bijur P, Cooperman N, Jearld S, Arnsten JH, Moadel A, Gallagher EJ. A Randomized Trial of a Multicomponent Cessation Strategy for Emergency Department Smokers. Acad Emerg Med 2011;18:575-583.
  • Bernstein SL, Cabral L, Maantay J, Arno P, Peprah D, Lounsbury D, Shelley D. Disparities in Access to Cigarettes and Nicotine Replacement Products in New York City Pharmacies. Am J Public Health 2009;99:1699-1704.
  • Bernstein SL. The clinical impact of health behaviors on ED visits. Acad Emerg Med 2009;16:1054-1059.

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