Guidelines For Learners

Expectations | Learning Pathways | Foundation Meetings | Foundations Cases | EKG Courses Assessments | Earning Credit | Communication

The Foundations of Emergency Medicine curriculum is an innovative course that combines high-yield independent learning assignments and interactive case-based meetings. The intent is to help you “grow roots” and build a sturdy framework for core knowledge within the practice of Emergency Medicine.

If your residency training program has officially adopted the Foundations approach, this site will serve as a resource to guide your learning over the course of the year. Use the resources provided under this Learner Resources section to better understand how the course will work and what resources are available to you. Be sure to also review sections for specific courses you may be involved with- Foundations I, Foundations II, Foundations III, EKG I, EKG II and Imaging I. If your training program has not adopted Foundations of Emergency Medicine but you are interested in following along on your own, feel free to contact our Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kristen Grabow Moore (


Set high expectations- not only for what your program will do for you but for what you should do for yourself and your future patients.

Thousands of hours were donated to the development of Foundations of Emergency Medicine and hundreds more will contribute to further growth and improvement in the coming year. Your program is dedicating a significant amount of time, energy and faculty resources to implement Foundations at your institution. This is not the norm; as your educators we are going above and beyond. The purpose of this investment is to ensure that you are equipped with fundamental knowledge essential for your success as an Emergency Physician and vital to competent care of your patients.

Residency is both exhilarating and exhausting, the scope and pace of the Foundations curriculum keeps this in mind. However, as an adult learner, the onus is on you to hold yourself accountable. You must prioritize and invest in your continued education within our specialty. Prepare for Foundations Meetings. Engage in discussion. Your professional integrity and the best interests of your patients will depend on this.

Learning Pathways

There is no one “right” way to learn Emergency Medicine. As a seasoned student who has made a commitment to lifelong learning, you should be aware of what method works best for you. Foundations of Emergency Medicine is based on a flipped classroom model. This method relies on your independent review of core knowledge prior to each Foundations Meeting. Foundations Learning Pathways allow a variety of options for your independent study. Each pathway will cover the same weekly learning topics and is intended to take 1-2hr to complete.

Foundations I Learners may choose from 3 different Learning Pathways:

  • Traditional Textbook- includes reading selections from Rosen’s OR Tintinalli’s
  • High-Yield Text- River’s Written Board Review book OR Tintinalli Manual
  • Multimedia- Hippo Videos AND FOAM resources

Foundations II Learners may choose from 2 different Learning Pathways:

  • Text-based- mixed readings from “Critical Care Medicine”, Harwood-Nuss and primary literature
  • Multimedia- FOAM resources with optional supplement of Hippo Videos

Details about each option above can be found under the course pages (Foundations I, Foundations II) within the Learner Resources menu. Your Foundations Site Director should be able to help direct you towards options for accessing these resources, either through your institutional online library, provided by your residency or for purchase using CME funds. If your program makes use of EM Coach, you may also use this as an alternative resource for independent study prior to Foundations Meetings.  It is important for you to review all the assigned preparation materials prior to each Foundations Meeting.

Foundations Meetings

Foundations Meetings are classroom based learning sessions that correlate directly with independent study topics for any given unit of your Foundations course. Meeting time will focus on active, practice-based learning that will challenge you to make use of the knowledge you gained on your own. The general schedule for each course can be found under course pages (Foundations I, Foundations II, Foundations III) within the Learner Resources menu. Keep in mind, your program may be making significant changes from the standard schedule and your Foundations Site Director will provide you with a detailed schedule for your institution.

During typical Foundations Meetings (F1 & F2), you will be divided into small groups and given two to three different “oral boards style” cases. The content of the case will be related to specific learning topics covered in your Learning Pathways assignments. Although you may be assigned a specific role within your group, all group members should collaborate during the case and discuss the working differential, key management steps, etc. During or after each case, your instructor will review key learning points and answer any questions you may have about the case and case topic.

After each meeting, your Foundations Site Director or other curriculum leader should provide you with detailed learning points associated with each case for your optional independent review. You should definitely review these on your own after any missed Foundations Meeting in order to keep on track with learning goals for the year. Please keep copies of these learning points private- don’t share them or post them elsewhere on the internet. This will ensure that learners at other Foundations sites and in future years can benefit from the course in the same way you will.

Foundations Cases

While you are likely unfamiliar with the “oral boards format”, it is a standard of assessment in our specialty and will be part of the board-certification process after you graduate residency. This style of case is used within the Foundations curriculum (F1 and F2), 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.

There are a number of resources on our Quicklinks for Learners page to help prepare your for Foundations learning. Expect that it will take time and practice for you to become efficient and skilled at “playing the game” of oral boards style cases. For tips and tricks to help introduce you to this format and help you to be successful during meeting time, please review Learner Guide to Foundations Cases. If you’d like, you may also review the provided example cases (example F1 or F2 case) to get a better sense of how to complete a case. At the beginning of each Foundations Meeting, you will be provided a note sheet that will remind you of the general format and strategy for oral boards cases, which is also available for reference through the link above.

EKG Courses

In addition to the core Foundations III and III courses, your site may also adopt EKG I and/or EKG II courses. For more information on these courses, please refer to Learner Resources -> EKG Courses page.

Imaging I Course

In addition to the courses above, your site may also adopt the Imaging I course. For more information on this course, please refer to Learner Resources -> Imaging I page.

Foundations Frameworks

Frameworks, a supplementary curriculum for Foundations of Emergency Medicine, focuses on teaching organized approaches to common clinical entities. The Frameworks curriculum aims to equip emergency medicine residents with cognitive scaffolding to efficiently work up and care for undifferentiated patients (eg “Approach to AMS”, “Approach to Stroke”, “Approach to Syncope”, etc).

For the current academic year, there will be a Framework included within Learning Pathway assignments for each unit of the Foundations I curriculum. This content will soon expand to include Foundations II. For more information about Foundations Frameworks, and for access to all Frameworks for independent study, please review the dedicated Frameworks webpage.


If you program subscribes to Rosh Review or EM Coach may be able to complete mini-tests composed of inservice and written board review style questions that directly correlate with content from each unit of your Foundations course. These tests may be either assigned/required or simply made available for your optional review. Specific information and instructions for your institution should be provided by your Foundations Site Director.

Earning Credit for your Work

Since residents are asked to complete 1-2hr of independent study within the Foundations Learning Pathways for each unit of Foundations I and Foundations II, we encourage residency programs to award you asynchronous credit (also called III) for this time. It will be up to your residency leadership how much, if any, credit will be awarded.

In order to monitor resident progress and performance over the course of the year, your site may keep track of information related to Foundations Meetings including resident attendance, completion of asynchronous work and performance on associated assessments. As a part of this, you will be asked to complete a short (1 min) survey after each Foundations Meeting to gain credit for attendance and independent study time. It is in your best interest to stay on top of these surveys on a weekly basis, and complete them even if you are off-service or miss a Foundations Meeting.

Foundations Communication and Research

Over the course of the year, the main source of information about Foundations details at your site will be your Site Director. These details and weekly course resources will likely be sent via email.  However, you will occasionally get updates directly from our National Foundations Team.

Important requirements from our national team include the following:

  • Learners are expected to complete an annual survey (spring)

Information within these tools will help your site and our national team evaluate the use and effectiveness of our course resources. This investment of time will help our national team and your site’s leadership ensure this curriculum continues to be a high-yield, effective and free resource for generations of EM residents to come.