United States 2020 Emergency Medicine Resident Workforce Analysis

Ann Emerg Med. 2022 Jul;80(1):3-11. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2022.03.007. Epub 2022 May 12.


Study objective: To characterize the emergency medicine resident physician workforce and the residency programs training them.

Methods: We identified emergency medicine residents in the 2020 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile, analyzed demographic information, mapped both county-level population-adjusted and hospital referral region densities, and compared 2020 versus 2008 resident physician densities. We also analyzed all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited emergency medicine residency programs from 2013 to 2020, mapped state-level population-adjusted densities, and identified temporal trends in program location and state-level program densities. All population-adjusted densities were calculated using the US Census Bureau resident population estimates.

Results: There were 6,993 emergency medicine residents in the 2020 AMA dataset with complete information. Most of them (98%) were in urban areas. Compared with 2008, per 100,000 US population, this represents disproportionate increases in urban areas (total [0.5], urban [0.5], large rural [0.2] and small rural [0.05]). We further identified 160 (2013) to 265 (2020) residency programs using the ACGME data. The new programs were 3-year training programs that were disproportionately added to states with an already higher number of programs (Florida [5 to 19], Michigan [11 to 25], New York [21 to 31], Ohio [9 to 18], Pennsylvania [12 to 21], California [14 to 22]).

Conclusion: The number of emergency medicine residency programs has increased; most new programs were added to the states that already had emergency medicine residency programs. There is an emergency physician "desert" in the rural United States, lacking both residents and residency training programs. This analysis provides essential context to the ongoing conversation about the future of the emergency physician workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Emergency Medicine* / education
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • United States
  • Workforce