About Foundations

Mission Statement | Curriculum Overview | Guiding Principles | The Foundations Approach | Curriculum Access


To create a free, open-access, comprehensive Emergency Medicine curriculum that will serve as the educational gold standard within our specialty.


The Foundations of Emergency Medicine curriculum was created to “reinvent the wheel” and create a new standard for innovative education in our profession. It provides a novel, learner-centric approach that is intended to replace the “teach to the middle” norm. Using a flipped classroom model, a guided independent review of EM core content is provided to capable adult learners. In person meeting time is reserved for active, case-based, small group learning and focused critical teaching points. While this method does require a substantial commitment on the part of residency leadership and faculty instructors, the investment is worthwhile. This is how we help our highest need learners “grow roots” by developing a solid framework for Emergency Medicine knowledge and avoid gaps inherent in traditional curricular approaches.


Roots First- It is essential to lay a groundwork of fundamental knowledge for early learners in Emergency Medicine since all come with different exposure through training and clinical experience.
Protect Diversity- Not all adult learners are the same and they don’t all learn the same way. As educators, we must caters to residents with diverse learning styles.
Challenge Knowledge- In the classroom setting, we must provide active learning opportunities, challenge knowledge in simulated clinical situations and provide directed feedback and teaching.
Open Collaboration- We strive to create Emergency Medicine course resources that will be of value to others, can be easily adopted by other sites and are designed to grow over time based on feedback and shared ideas.


The following are core components to the curriculum design:

Flipped Classroom- With this approach, adult learners review high-yield, carefully curated asynchronous resources that lay a groundwork of core content; classroom time is reserved for active case-based application of knowledge in a small group setting.

Learning Pathways- Foundations provides Learning Pathways for self-directed review of core EM content and learner choice based on learning style. Learners access independent study content through this website and have the option to use a traditional textbook, a high-yield text reference or multimedia resources- all of which cover the same core content.

Comfortable and Collaborative Foundations Meetings- The cornerstone of this course involves weekly Foundations Meetings, in which learners are expected to make use of acquired knowledge and skills through small group patient cases and oral boards style review. These cases are used not for board prep, but rather as a tool for collaborative learning and simulation of the true clinical environment. Learners work in small groups led by a senior resident or faculty instructors to discuss the case differential and clinical approach, demonstrate appropriate diagnosis and management for the case in question and review curated learning points.

Differentiated Learning- Foundations’ learner friendly approaches not only cater to various learning styles with Learning Pathways, but also different level learners. PGY-1s review fundamental knowledge with Foundations I, PGY2/3s are challenged by Foundations II advanced topics and PGY3/4s solidify knowledge in the role of resident teachers.

Portability and Open Access- The Foundations website presents up-to-date curricular materials for active Foundations sites. Detailed guidelines for implementation, course management, learner and small group instructor skills and expectations are available on the website to promote easy adoption of the curriculum at satellite sites.


In line with the FOAMed movement, this is a not-for-profit venture. This curriculum is available as a free resource to all Emergency Medicine programs. However, Foundations curriculum planning and didactic resources are password protected in order to prevent unrestricted distribution and to preserve the learner experience. If your program has any interest in learning more about Foundations of Emergency Medicine or potentially incorporating it as a part of your innovative strategy, feel free to contact the Course Director to gain access to additional content.