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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the accreditation status of the UC Irvine School of Medicine's Emergency Medicine program?

The program was approved by the Residency Review Committee for Emergency Medicine in February 1989 and fully re-accredited in 1992, 1996 and 1999. In 2005, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approved the residency to participate in a pilot program with an 8-year accreditation cycle, one of only 34 in the country, indicating the highest level of confidence in the training program. At our last accreditation, we were granted a 10-year accreditation cycle and we are currently accredited through 2021.

Does the program have its own independent department?

Yes. We are a fully independent department, both within the hospital and medical school. We are proud of our efforts to secure our own departmental status in 2002, the first of the five UC Health Sciences campuses to earn such independence. Our department alone has 50,000 patient visits annually.

What are the average number of shifts worked per month and how long are they?

Our rotations are on a 4-week block schedule. Shift lengths in the emergency department are 8-, 9-, 10-, or 12-hours, with an average shift length of 9.6 hours. Our shift lengths vary to maximize wellness and efficiency. First-year residents work 19-20 shifts/block; second year residents work 20 shifts/block and third year residents work 17 shifts/block. The schedule allows the resident to pursue academic, leadership and teaching interests beyond the clinical arena. This is essential to their professional growth. Residents also receive four weeks of vacation annually.

Are faculty present in the ED? What are their backgrounds?

Full-time faculty members are present 24 hours a day with triple coverage between 10am and midnight. All faculty members are board-certified in emergency medicine, and most have completed fellowships in related fields. Other board certifications held by our faculty members include infectious disease, internal medicine, medical toxicology, geriatrics and pediatrics. UC Irvine emergency medicine residents are fortunate to have nearly a 1:1 faculty/resident ratio.

What is the trauma experience like?

As the only level 1 trauma center in Orange County, our robust trauma experience is one of the strengths of the program. Training is designed to provide the full spectrum of trauma care, not just initial emergency department stabilization. Residents experience being the first advanced trauma provider in the field, trauma care in the ED, participation as an integral team member in a dedicated trauma team. They also provide trauma critical care in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) after initial stabilization. 

Our emergency department receives over 5,000 major trauma activations a year and 500 major burn cases. Ten percent of ED patients go directly to surgery. Eighty-five percent of patients are victims of blunt trauma and about 15 percent suffer penetrating trauma.

What emergency medicine fellowships do you offer?

We offer Emergency Medicine fellowships  in the following: Faculty Development, Ultrasound, Informatics, Medical Education and EMS/Disaster. These fellowships add to the rich academic environment available to our residents, affording them the opportunity to participate in local, regional and national research and policy issues.

In addition, the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine and the Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine are edited and produced in our department. This provides residents ample opportunities to be involved in the creation, editing and management of the journal. Finally, the department houses the Center for Trauma & Injury Prevention Research.

What are some innovative changes in the program?

Our simulation curriculum is an integral part of the residency program, offering our residents an additional method of absorbing medical knowledge. These monthly sessions are combined with our ultrasound training program. We offer highly engaging weekly didactics utilizing a combination of games, team-based learning and other interactive sessions. Our residents are part of a fast-paced emergency department and obtain experience and education in resource utilization and emergency department flow.