Pursuing an Emergency Medicine Fellowship as a Family Medicine Physician

Royce Joseph, MDRoyce Joseph, MD was a family medicine resident turned emergency medicine physician through an EM Fellowship and now is a Diplomate of the American Board of Physician® Specialties (ABPS). Dr. Joseph works for Basin Emergency Physicians at Pecos County Memorial Hospital in Fort Stockton, Texas, but was once a Long Island, New York firefighter. “It was in this role that I quickly learned the importance of always being prepared for the worst situation,” he said. “When a fire alarm went off, we blindly raced off toward a potentially dangerous situation with only a limited amount of information. This required that we be prepared, at all times, to perform the tactical rescue and firefighting techniques we were trained in.”

After graduating from medical school, he chose a family medicine residency because of the wide-open career prospects. “I did not want to limit my scope of practice,” he said, and the residency’s rigorous training gave him the ability to seamlessly deliver both acute and chronic care in the adult, pediatric, neonatal, geriatric, and pregnant populations across a variety of environments.

As Dr. Joseph did more rotations in the emergency department, he saw parallels to his firefighting experience in the ability of ED physicians to quickly amp up their response when complicated challenges were brought in through the ambulance bay doors. “Sure, the chief complaint may be a ‘sore throat’ and the diagnosis may be as benign as ‘strep throat,’” he said, “but I wanted to be trained and ready for the ‘sore throat’ patient that was actually suffering from angioedema that resulted in a compromised airway.” He found that being the go-to person in a patient’s most desperate time of need was the ultimate privilege.

Having completed his family medicine residency, Dr. Joseph felt prepared to take care of both the office patient and the hospitalized patient. He knew, however, that the ER was a different beast and it required a mental shift. He knew patients would present with limited amounts of information and only a small time window in which to take action. He knew he would need to get better at managing multiple sick patients at once, endure frequent interruptions, manage patient flow, and be ready for the potential crashing trauma patient bursting through the ambulance bay doors.

Dr. Joseph decided to pursue a fellowship in emergency medicine and chose Texas Tech University. Being a Level 2 Trauma Center and having a strong relationship with the local fire/air rescue departments were a major factor in his decision. With a passionate faculty, robust simulation center, an integrated ultrasound course, fire/helicopter ride-alongs, in-house IM, FM, OB/GYN residencies, and the opportunity to teach medical, PA, nursing, and paramedic students, Texas Tech made the educational environment a top priority.

He enjoyed the transition to working in the ER. “I was able to immediately deliver life/limb saving interventions such as pressors, intubation, chest decompression, conscious sedation, fracture reduction, and thrombolytics, etc., without having to wait on a blessing from a separate specialist.”

After successfully completing the fellowship program, Dr. Joseph took the next step and sought board certification. He knew that the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), a Member Board of the ABPS, offered qualified physicians with ER experience an opportunity to demonstrate their hard-earned skills and knowledge. “Proving that our emergency medicine training at Texas Tech was equal, if not superior, to the national standard was important to me,” he said. And after a rigorous application process, a comprehensive written exam, and a robust oral exam, Dr. Joseph became certified in emergency medicine through the BCEM.

“Patients rightfully demand expert care in their time of crisis, and certification by the BCEM demonstrates both mastery of the art of emergency medicine and a commitment to lifelong learning and advancement of the field,” he stated.

Here at the ABPS, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. If you, like Dr. Joseph, are an emergency medicine fellow, and would like to stand out as a leader in the specialty, contact the ABPS today to learn about the BCEM and its eligibility requirements.


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