Shared decision making in emergency medicine has the potential to improve the quality, safety, and outcomes of emergency department (ED) patients. Given that the ED is the gateway to care for patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries and the safety net for patients otherwise unable to access care, shared decision making in the ED is relevant to numerous disciplines and the interests of the United States (U.S.) public. On May 10, 2016 the 16th annual Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) consensus conference, “Shared Decision Making: Development of a Policy-Relevant Patient-Centered Research Agenda” was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. During this one-day conference clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, patient and caregiver representatives, funding agency representatives, trainees, and content experts across many areas of medicine interacted to define high priority areas for research in 1 of 6 domains: 1) diagnostic testing; 2) policy, 3) dissemination/implementation and education, 4) development and testing of shared decision making approaches and tools in practice, 5) palliative care and geriatrics, and 6) vulnerable populations and limited health literacy. This manuscript describes the current state of shared decision making in the ED context, provides an overview of the conference planning process, the aims of the conference, the focus of each respective breakout session, the roles of patient and caregiver representatives and an overview of the conference agenda. The results of this conference published in this issue of AEM provide an essential summary of the future research priorities for shared decision making to increase quality of care and patient-centered outcomes.