The EMS Experience

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an approved subspecialty of Emergency Medicine, and from the very beginning our residents are actively involved in this diverse and emerging field.   The goal of our curriculum is to provide residents with a broad exposure to the many different aspects of EMS, to foster an appreciation for the field of prehospital medicine especially as it intersects with emergency medicine, and to provide opportunities for interested residents to explore potential career options in EMS .

The scope of EMS is broad and encompasses prehospital ground transport, dispatch, aeromedical transport, event medicine, mobile integrated healthcare programs, tactical EMS, and disaster preparedness. The University of Chicago Medical Center is one of four state designated hospitals that provide medical oversight for the Chicago EMS System (Region XI), one of the largest and busiest EMS systems in the United States.

Our residents are integrated into our EMS system right from the beginning of residency when they take the Base Station course to become Emergency Communication Physicians (ECPs) during intern orientation.  This course is followed closely by a dedicated one-week EMS rotation during the intern year.  During this time, residents receive didactics in EMS system design and in medical oversight of EMS . They attend regional and state meetings if they are held during their rotation. They can participate in courses focused on the management of out of hospital cardiac arrest or additional ride time focused on out of hospital simulation. Residents have dedicated time at the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) where they learn about emergency dispatch, and they ride along with ALS ambulances to garner a better understanding of prehospital care in our city.  During their free time this week, they are given graduated responsiblity for providing Online Medical Control (OLMC) for cardiac arrest, complex refusals, or difficult cases when consulted by EMS through the telemetry radio.

This week sets the stage for continued EMS involvement during the second and third year where residents continue to provide online medical control for complex calls as well as become involved with UCAN, our hospital based aeromedical and ground critical care transport service. Throughout the course of residency, our residents augment their training with both mass gathering events and disaster drills.

Our residents are an integral part of our annual disaster drills. These drills provide practical experience regarding mass casualty triage, patient decontamination, and disaster management principles. As participants, they are assigned roles and are expected to manage an ED surge of mock patients with moulage in a simulated environment.

The EMS curriculum is supplemented by various didactic sessions during residency conference times. For those residents interested in pursuing EMS as a career, there are opportunities for mentorship, longitudinal projects, or involvement in additional EMS experiences in research, quality improvement, and tactical EMS. Additionally, each year one senior resident is chosen to be the Resident Director of EMS. This person works closely with the EMS faculty to improve upon our resident rotation and has the unique opportunity to become more intimately involved in the EMS system.

Please visit our websites for more information:
Region XI EMS System
Chicago South EMS System
EMS Fellowship

Katie Tataris, MD
Director, EMS Fellowship
EMS Medical Director, Chicago EMS System