Resident Involvement in Tactical Medicine: 12 Years Later

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019 Apr;34(2):217-219. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X19000013. Epub 2019 Mar 29.


Introduction: Interest in tactical medicine, the provision of medical support to law enforcement and military special operations teams, continues to grow. The majority of tactical physicians are emergency physicians with additional training and experience in tactical operations. A 2005 survey found that 18% of responding Emergency Medicine (EM) residencies offered their resident physicians structured exposure to tactical medicine at that time.

Methods: This study sought to assess interval changes in tactical medicine exposure during EM residency and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) fellowship training. A secure online survey was distributed electronically to all 212 EM residency programs and 44 EMS fellowship programs in the United States.

Results: Responses were received from 99 (46%) EM residency and 40 (91%) EMS fellowship programs. Results showed that 52 (53%) of the responding residencies offered physician trainees formal exposure to tactical medicine as part of their training (P < .0001 compared to 18% in 2005). In addition, 32 (72%) of the 40 responding EMS fellowships (newly established since the initial survey) offered this opportunity. Experiences ranged from observation to active participation during tactical training and call-outs. The EM residents and EMS fellows provide support to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. A small number of programs (six residencies and four fellowships) allowed a subset of qualified trainees to be armed during tactical operations.

Conclusion: Overall, training opportunities in tactical medicine have grown significantly over the last decade from 18% to 53% of responding EM residencies. In addition, 72% of responding EMS fellowships incorporate tactical medicine in their training program.Petit NP, Stopyra JP, Padilla RA, Bozeman WP. Resident involvement in tactical medicine: 12 years later. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):217-219.

Keywords: ACGME Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; EM Emergency Medicine; EMS Emergency Medical Services; TEMS Tactical Emergency Medical Support; tactical EMS; tactical medicine; training.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Military Medicine
  • North Carolina
  • Police
  • Surveys and Questionnaires