Gabor David Kelen, M.D.

Headshot of Gabor David Kelen
  • Director, Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Professor of Emergency Medicine


Emergency Medicine

Research Interests

Emergency Medicine; Emerging Infections; Disaster Health more


Gabor Kelen, M.D., FRCP(C), FACEP, FAAEM, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University. He is also Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a member of the Center for Injury Prevention. 

Dr. Kelen became world renown for developing novel methods to study HIV and other blood borne pathogens with seminal work published in JAMA, NEJM, CID and Annals of Internal Medicine. His research in this area helped define the extent of the HIV epidemic, led to the adoption of universal precautions, and ushered in the era of HIV testing and counseling programs in ED settings.

In 1993, he became the first professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kelen was appointed the Director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) in 2002, an enterprise-wide entity created to oversee the Institutions endeavors in preparing for, and responding to, a high impact disaster, particularly from potential terrorist action. In November 2005, Dr. Kelen and his team were awarded a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to lead a consortium studying how the nation can best prepare for and respond to potential large-scale incidents and disasters. This fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence formally titled the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), studies deterrence, prevention, preparedness and response, including issues such as risk assessment, decision-making, infrastructure integrity, surge capacity and sensor networks. Dr. Kelen maintains an active research program and has been continuously funded since 1987.

Dr. Kelen has served in numerous senior administrative positions, including as Chair of the Medical Board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, a member of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins Hospital (ex officio) the Past President of the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine, the Past President of the Society of Teachers of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Kelen has more than 175 publications and has authored/edited several major texts. His research has been recognized through numerous awards including the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine's Hal Jayne Academic Excellence Award and Leadership Award, the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, and the Emergency Medicine Foundation Center of Excellence Award. In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Kelen was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science in 2005. more


  • Director, Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Director, Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR)
  • Director, Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER)
  • Professor of Emergency Medicine
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Medicine; University of Toronto - Temerty Faculty of Medicine (1979)


  • Internal Medicine; University of Toronto - Temerty Faculty of Medicine (1982)


  • Emergency Medicine; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1984)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Emergency Medicine (Emergency Medicine) (1985)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Recent Grants

  1. 2010-2013 Principal Investigator: National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response@ (PACER).  United States Department of Homeland Security (N00014-06-1-0991): $6,500,000
  2. 2010-2013 PI.  Principal Investigator.  Surge Capacity Metrics, DHS-PACER (N00014-06-1-0991):  $489,295
  3. 2011-2013 Mentor:  Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Clinician Scientist Award.  (Awardee JL Jenkins)

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Pham JC, Alblaihed L, Cheung DS, Levy F, Hill PM, Kelen GD, Pronovost PJ, Kirsch TD. Measuring patient safety in the emergency department. Am J Med Qual. 2014 Mar-Apr;29(2):99-104. doi: 10.1177/1062860613489846. Epub 2013 May 31. PMID: 23728473

Bayram JD, Sauer LM, Catlett C, Levin S, Cole G, Kirsch TD, Toerper M, Kelen G. Critical resources for hospital surge capacity: an expert consensus panel. PLoS Curr. 2013 Oct 7;5. pii: ecurrents.dis.67c1afe8d78ac2ab0ea52319eb119688. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.67c1afe8d78ac2ab0ea52319eb119688. PMID: 24162793

Dugas AF, Morton M, Beard R, Pines JM, Bayram JD, Hsieh YH, Kelen G, Uscher-Pines L, Jeng K, Cole G, Rothman R. Interventions to mitigate emergency department and hospital crowding during an infectious respiratory disease outbreak: results from an expert panel. PLoS Curr. 2013 Apr 17;5. pii: ecurrents.dis.1f277e0d2bf80f4b2bb1dd5f63a13993. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.1f277e0d2bf80f4b2bb1dd5f63a13993. PMID: 23856917

Hsieh YH, Kelen GD, Dugas AF, Chen KF, Rothman RE. Emergency Physicians' Adherence to Center for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance During the 2009 Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic. West J Emerg Med. 2013 Mar;14(2):191-9. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2012.11.12246. PMID: 23599869

James MM, Laeyendecker O, Sun J, Hoover DR, Mullis CE, Cousins MM, Coates T, Moore RD, Kelen GD, Fowler MG, Kumwenda JJ, Mofenson LM, Kumwenda NI, Taha TE, Eshleman SH. Antibody maturation and viral diversification in HIV-infected women. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57350. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057350. Epub 2013 Feb 27. PMID: 23460842

Kelen GD.  Emergency Department HIV Testing.  Reflections forward.  Ann Emerg Med 58:S168-S172, 2011

Kelen GD, Catlett CL.  Violence in the Health Care Setting.  JAMA 304;(22):2530-1, 2010

Kelen GD, McCarthy ML, Kraus CK, Ding R, Hsu EB, Li G, Shahan JB, Green GB.  Creation of surge capacity by early discharge of hospitalized patients at row risk for untoward events. (Lead Article) Dis Med Publ Health Prep 3(Suppl 1):S10-S16, 2009

Scheulen JJ, Thanner MH, Hsu EB, Latimer CK, Brown J, Kelen GD.  Electronic Mass Casualty Assessment and Planning Scenarios (EMCAPS):  Development and application of computer modeling to selected national planning scenarios for high consequence events.  Ann Emerg Med 53(2):226-232, 2009

Kelen GD, McCarthy ML.  Developing the science of health care emergency preparedness and response.  Dis Med Publ Health Prep 3(Suppl 1):S2-S3, 2009

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Elected, Institute of Medicine, 2005
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