Designing the Workforce of the Future

April 9, 2021

Message from Dr. RJ Sontag, EMRA President

Over the past two years, EMRA has partnered with a multi-organizational (ABEM, ACOEP, AOBEM, CORD, and SAEM) workforce study group convened by ACEP. Earlier this week, this group was joined by others with staked interest in the specialty to discuss the findings of Emergency Medicine Physician Workforce: Projections for 2030, and to present our recommendations for improving the future of emergency care. The findings present a complex picture of the changing workforce, where healthcare trends and external forces are reshaping our specialty. Remarkably, for the first time in history, we could have a surplus of nearly 10,000 emergency physicians in the next decade.

EMRA members have already felt the pressures of these changing workforce trends. Our members and their families have experienced the frustrations of finding employment during a pandemic and of having their contracts rescinded. The prospect of one in five emergency physicians without a job in the next decade deepens our resolve. We know that solutions require urgency.

As we convened to envision the future, we also paused and thought about the past, remembering what emergency medicine used to be. Emergency rooms used to be literal rooms, right off the loading dock, with exposed pipes and cracked walls. There were no specialists. The ER was staffed by interns, part-time doctors or even nurses. No one had any particular training.

But a group of scrappy young physicians stood up and knew that this was not right. They knew that it was not good for our patients. They believed in emergency medicine. They believed in the power of banding together to make change. They built a new future, a future based on safe and effective patient care, grounded in a new body of research, and founded on rigorous training. They helped create the exciting and groundbreaking specialty that we know today.

The future looks different. The urgency of these changes give us an opportunity. It gives us–the young scrappy emergency medicine physicians-in-training of today–the power to design our future: a future where we lead, with new solutions for safe and effective patient care. And just like the founders of this specialty, we believe in Emergency Medicine.
EMRA is ready to lead, to grow our specialty to new horizons, and to continue to work together for a better future.

RJ Sontag, MD
EMRA President

EMRA continues to have your back, even in a changing environment. Our resources for students and residents continue to expand.

  • Whether you’re looking to find the best clerkship, residency, fellowship, or job, EMRA Match offers a robust set of tools to empower your search. EMRA recently launched EMRA Job Match, pointing to vetted EM jobs. This powerful resource bookends your training from clerkship to your post-residency career.
  • Our Career Planning Resources set you up for success as you embark on your job search. These resources are curated by residents, for residents, to ensure you have what you need for the first step of your career.
  • Continue to build your network by participating in our Student-Resident Mentorship Program. Numerous opportunities for both resident mentors and student mentees exist across EMRA Committees.
  • Supporting a diverse workforce continues to be one of EMRA’s top priorities. We’ve partnered with ACEP to introduce a Diversity Mentorship Initiative for those underrepresented in medicine to connect with mentors in the specialty.

Our work around the future of our specialty -- in all aspects -- is ongoing as we strive to represent the best specialty in medicine. Get involved, ask questions, grow your tribe and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns we encourage you to reach out to us. EMRA is here for you.

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