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.


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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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine