Guidelines For Learners

Expectations | Learning Pathways | F1/F2 Meetings | F1/F2 Cases | Foundations III | Supplemental Courses
Independent Study |  Assessments | Earning Credit | Communication

Foundations of Emergency Medicine (FoEM) creates free, open-access, learner-centric, level-specific residency curricula that have been widely adopted in the United States.  All of our content is built with thousands of hours of volunteer time from EM faculty, residents and students around the country.  Over the last many years, we’ve developed our core content courses Foundations I (PGY-1s), Foundations II (PGY-2s) and Foundations III (PGY-3/4), in addition to numerous supplemental courses.  Our intent is to help you “grow roots” and build a sturdy framework for core knowledge within the practice of Emergency Medicine.  Check out our course summary below and detailed course descriptions here.


If your residency training program has officially adopted the FoEM curricula, our website will serve as a resource to guide your learning over the course of the year. Use specific course pages organized under the Learner Resources menu to better understand how each course will work and what resources are available to you.  If your training program has not adopted Foundations of Emergency Medicine, encourage them to!  It is free, so why not?  There are also a number of FoEM resources you can use for independent study (see below).  In general, you can direct questions about your program’s use of FoEM to your local Foundations Course Director (or program leaders); alternately, you can contact for inquiries about our national curricula.



Set high expectations- not only for what your training 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 thousands 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 FoEM courses at your institution. This is not the traditional norm in medical education; 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.

Medical training is both exhilarating and exhausting, the scope and pace of the FoEM courses keep 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

FoEM Learning Pathways provide vetted independent study resources that pair with our flipped classroom Foundations I (F1) and II (F2) course units.  LPs can be easily accessed from our home page by scrolling down and selecting the system of interest.  To ensure your learning time is as high-yield as possible, use each unit’s objective list to guide your independent study before Foundations meetings.  Learning Pathways offer a variety of specifically paired resources to best suit your learning preferences.  For more details about specific resources and strategic use, visit our Learning Pathways How-To page.


Foundations I & II Meetings

Foundations Meetings are classroom based learning sessions that correlate directly with independent study topics for any given unit of our core Foundations courses. 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 local Foundations Course 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” Foundations 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 local Foundations Course Director or other curriculum leader should provide you with detailed Essential Learning handouts (case teaching points) associated with each unit for your 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 programs using FoEM courses and in future years can benefit from the course in the same way you will.


Foundations I & II 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 you for FoEM course 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 our detailed Learner Guidelines for Foundations I and II (found at the link above). 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.


Foundations III

Foundations III is an advanced curriculum targeting PGY3/4 learners with a focus on the “Art of Emergency Medicine”. F3 provides a mix of critical care sessions and topics that are crucial to daily EM practice, but have traditionally been neglected within resident education (e.g. billing and coding, medicolegal pitfalls, decision-making capacity, care of vulnerable populations, wellness, etc).  F3 is different from F1 and F2 in that meeting time is used for large group topic discussion paired with small group or independent breakout activities.  The Foundations III course page includes suggested paired asynchronous content with each unit and full course modules are available for independent study.


Supplemental Courses

In addition to the core Foundations III and III courses, your site may also adopt some of our other innovative courses.  For learner guidelines, check out each specific course page under the Learner Resources menu.


Independent Study Resources

The following curricular resources were designed for independent study.  Check with your local program leadership to determine if you can earn asynchronous credit (III) for your work.

If your training program does not officially implement these FoEM courses, you may also use the following for independent study.



Rosh Review is our official provider of FoEM assessments.  If your training program hosts this resource, you should be able to complete paired assessments composed of In-Training Exam and written board review style questions that directly correlate with content from each unit of your Foundations course.  New this year, FoME paired assessments are also available through PEER. These tests may be required or simply made available for your optional review. Specific information and instructions for your program should be provided by your local Foundations Course Director.


Earning Credit for your Work

Since residents are asked to complete 2 hr 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 may 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.


FoEM Communication and Research

Over the course of the year, the main source of information about Foundations details at your site will be your program’s Foundations Course Director. These details and weekly course resources will likely be sent via email or hosted on a learning management system.  However, you will occasionally get updates directly from Team FoEM.

We strive to keep our content up-to-date and in keeping with best practices.  If you have any suggestions for improvement to our content, please visit our FoEM website and click the “Submit Feedback” link in the top right corner.

Every spring, we conduct surveys of our member program leaders and learners.  Information within these tools will help your program and our national leadership team evaluate the use and effectiveness of our curricular resources. This investment will help our national team and your program’s leadership ensure this curriculum continues to be a high-yield, effective and free resource for generations of EM learners to come.  Thank you in advanced for your time.