What Family Medicine Residency Program Directors Should Let Residents Interested in Emergency Medicine Know

What Family Medicine Residency Program Directors Should Let Residents Interested in Emergency Medicine KnowThere’s no lack of information regarding the contributions of family physicians to our healthcare system, particularly in emergency medicine. Without these professionals, it’s a simple fact that many parts of the country would be without adequate emergency medical care.

The shortage of emergency physicians is especially acute in rural areas, where emergency departments have long relied on the services of doctors trained in family medicine. Like emergency medicine physicians, family doctors are considered generalists who routinely see patients regardless of age, gender, or medical condition. In rural and other underserved areas, where the ER is often the only access to health care, family medicine training makes physicians the nearly ideal emergency services professional, capable of providing a wide spectrum of medical care.

Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM)

Unfortunately, family doctors working in ERs are often not granted the same level of professional respect as colleagues with residency training in emergency medicine. To distinguish themselves, family physicians with extensive ER experience seek out certification in emergency medicine with the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), a Member Board of the nationally recognized American Board of Physician Specialties®. BCEM certification serves as demonstrable proof that a physician has the skills and knowledge to deliver safe and effective emergency care.

The good news for family medicine residents is that they don’t need to also complete an emergency medicine residency to be eligible for BCEM certification. Family medicine doctors with a minimum of five years and 7,000 hours of ER casework are eligible to apply with the BCEM, as are family physicians who have completed graduate training in an emergency medicine fellowship approved by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians (AAEP). Fellowships recognized by the AAEP meet the high training standards that allow physicians to demonstrate mastery in emergency medicine through BCEM certification.

Emergency Medicine Fellowships for Primary Trained Physicians

An AAEP-recognized program offers a broad scope of training and teaching, such as grand rounds, didactics, and workshops that would be difficult to arrange and support without an educational infrastructure. These fellowship programs also support a larger educational infrastructure, keeping physicians up to date on medical literature and practices.

After completing an AAEP-approved fellowship, primary care physicians are eligible to apply for certification with the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM). Once candidates are deemed eligible, they must pass both a written and oral examination to earn certification with the BCEM. The computer-based written exam consists of 325 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must pass the written exam in order to take the oral component.

For more information about dates and fees for the application and the written exam, click here.

Once granted, all BCEM certifications are good for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.

The process for BCEM certification is rigorous, but when physicians achieve BCEM certification, they:

  • Become recognized as qualified emergency medicine physicians, positioning themselves as leaders in the healthcare community and expanding their career opportunities
  • Enjoy opportunities to exchange information about clinical experiences and best practices
  • Have a meaningful voice as a valued participant in the community

We encourage you to inform your family medicine residents who are interested in emergency medicine about BCEM. If you would like to learn more about the BCEM, contact the ABPS today.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine