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Debbie Travers

Debbie Travers, PhD, RN, FAEN

Associate Professor

Phone: (919) 966-5357
Specialty Area: Systems/Policy/Informatics

Office: 4107

Dr. Travers' research background includes emergency nursing management, emergency medicine, medical informatics and information science. She has over twenty years' experience and certifications in emergency and informatics nursing. Her primary research interests involve emergency department triage and standardization of emergency department data for primary clinical care and support of secondary uses such as clinical research, administration and public health surveillance. She is a member of the Emergency Severity Index Research Team and a contributing author to the Emergency Severity Index Implementation Handbook. Dr. Travers and colleagues at the University of North Carolina developed the Emergency Medical Text Processor (EMT-P) system for use in standardization of emergency department chief complaint data.


  • Evaluation of the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) for pediatric triage.
  • Development and revisions to an electronic public health surveillance system, the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT)
  • Evaluation of the Emergency Medical Text Processor (EMT-P) system for syndromic surveillance.
  • Investigating data linkages and informatics tools to support improvements in the safety and quality of asthma care in emergency departments.
  • Evaluation of controlled terminologies for emergency department chief complaint documentation.
  • Patient triage during an influenza pandemic.


Travers ,  Waller A., Katznelson J., and Agans R.  (2009). Reliability and validity of the emergency severity index for pediatric triage.  Academic Emergency Medicine, 16(9), 843-849. Travers D and Mandelkehr, L. (2008).  The emerging field of informatics.  North Carolina Medical Journal, 69(1), 126-131. Haas, S.W., Travers, D., Tintinalli, J. E., Pollock, D, Waller, A., Barthell, E., (2008). Towards vocabulary control for chief complaint.  Academic Emergency Medicine, 15(5), 476-82. Hohenhaus, S. M., Travers , and Mecham, N.  (2008). Pediatric triage:  A review of emergency education literature.  Journal of the Emergency Nursing Association, 34(4), 308-313. Dara, J., Dowling, J. N., Travers , Cooper, G. F., and Chapman, W. W. (2007).  Evaluation of preprocessing techniques for chief complaint classification.  Journal of Biomedical Informatics 2008, 41(4), 613-23. Travers , Haas SW.  Unified Medical Language System Coverage of Emergency Medicine Chief Complaints. Academic Emergency Medicine.  2006; 13:1319-1323. Travers , Barnett C, Ising A, Waller A.  Timeliness of Emergency Department Diagnoses for Syndromic Surveillance.  Proc AMIA 2006 Symposium.  2006; 769-773. Tanabe P, Travers , Gilboy N, Rosenau A, Sierzega G, Rupp V, Martinovich Z, Adams JG. Refining Emergency Severity Index (ESI) Criteria. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2005; 12(6): 497-501. Gilboy N, Tanabe P, Travers DA, Rosenau AM, Eitel DR. Emergency Severity Index, Version 4: Implementation Handbook. AHRQ Publication No. 05-0046-2, May 2005. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Fernandes CM, Tanabe P, Bonalumi N, Gilboy N, Johnson LA, McNair RS, Rosenau AM, Sawchuk P, Suter R, Thompson D, Travers ;. Five-level triage: A report from the ACEP/ENA five-level triage task force. Journal of Emergency Nursing. 2005; 31(1): 39-50. Travers DA, Haas SW. Evaluation of Emergency Medical Text Processor, a system for cleaning chief complaint data. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2004; 11(11): 1170-1176. Travers DA. Identification of concepts from emergency department text using natural language processing techniques and the Unified Medical Language System®. Dissertation Abstracts International, 2004; 64(11). (UMI No. 3112086). Travers DA, Haas SW. Using nurses' natural language entries to build a concept-oriented terminology for patient's chief complaints in the emergency department. Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 2003; 36:260-270. Travers DA, Haas SW, Waller AE, Tintinalli JE. Diagnosis clusters for emergency medicine. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2003; 10(12): 1337-1344. Travers DA, Waller A, Haas S, Lober WB, Beard C. Emergency department data for bioterrorism surveillance: Electronic availability, timeliness, sources and standards. Proceedings of the AMIA Symposium. 2003; November. Eitel DR, Travers DA, Rosenau AM, Gilboy N, Wuerz RC. The Emergency Severity Index triage algorithm version 2 is reliable and valid. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2003; 10(10):1070-1080. Bordley WC, Travers , Scanlon P, Frush K, Hohenhaus S. Office preparedness for pediatric emergencies: A randomized, controlled trial of an office-based training program. Pediatrics. 2003 Aug;112(2):291-295. Gilboy N, Tanabe P, Travers DA, Eitel D, Wuerz R. Emergency Severity Index Implementation Handbook: A Five-level Triage System. Des Plaines, IL: Emergency Nurses Association. (2003). Travers DA, Waller AE, Bowling JM, Flowers D, Tintinalli J. Five-level triage system more effective than three-level in tertiary emergency department. Journal of Emergency Nursing. 2002; 28(5):395-400. Travers, D./strong, Waller A., Katznelson J., & Agans R. (2009). Reliability and validity of the emergency severity index for pediatric triage.  Academic Emergency Medicine, 16(9), 843-849. Travers, D./strong, Wu, S., Scholer, M., Westlake, M., Waller, A., &  McCalla, A. (2007).  Evaluation of a chief complaint processor for biosurveillance.  Proceedings of the 2007AMIA Symposium, 736-740. Travers, D./strong, & Haas, S. (2006). The unified medical language system© coverage of emergency department chief complaints.  Academic Emergency Medicine, 13, 1319-1323.