The Emergency Medicine Residency at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Cooper University Hospital is a three-year program full of dynamic, high-energy, and friendly individuals with a wide range of academic interests and a strong sense of family. With more than 50 board-certified emergency medicine (EM) faculty providing education through an established curriculum and clinical supervision, EM residents learn the basic skills and gain the essential knowledge necessary to build a strong foundation in emergency medicine.
Learning and Skill Development in a Dynamic Environment
In all clinical areas, Cooper’s faculty provide its residents with clear, graduated, and progressive responsibilities per PGY year. This approach helps each resident develop the essential educational, leadership, and administrative skills to become a successful physician. Cooper residents learn to recognize and respond to the acutely ill and injured patient while developing the mature clinical judgment and the technical skills necessary to provide excellent emergency medical care. The clinical and didactic experience, coupled with close faculty mentoring, provides each Cooper resident with the training and knowledge required to become an outstanding EM physician and academician.
After completing the program, Cooper EM residency graduates obtain highly competitive positions and have been successful in both community and academic settings. Many graduates go on to complete EM fellowships in areas such as informatics, EMS, pediatric EM, ultrasound, toxicology, sports medicine, disaster medicine, geriatric EM, palliative care, global health, and critical care.
Training in Diverse Environments and Treating a Diverse Population
Cooper residents benefit from training in a variety of different settings and by treating a diverse patient population. Each setting brings unique challenges and unique training opportunities. For example, Cooper’s Emergency Department (ED) in Camden has an annual census of approximately 80,000 patients, of which more than 20% are pediatric patients. More than 20% of our patients are triaged with a high acuity level and approximately 25% are admitted to the hospital, making Cooper ED acuity high relative to other sites. To meet the demands of increasing patient volume, Cooper has expanded the size of its ED and now has a 42-bed, state-of-the-art facility.
Cooper is a Level 1 Trauma Center, serving a population of two million across southern New Jersey. With more than 2,200 trauma visits annually, Cooper has the busiest Level 1 Trauma Center in the state. MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper provides innovative, comprehensive cancer care each year to thousands of patients with cancer and is a full partner with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas – one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals.
With a large Hispanic population in the City of Camden, Cooper offers residents exposure to a culturally diverse patient population during residency. In addition to serving a large inner-city patient population, Cooper residents also care for many of the patients from the surrounding suburbs seeking care in the Cooper ED. This patient mix provides residents tremendous learning opportunities from the diverse pathology they encounter on a daily basis.
The Cooper Pediatric ED provides high-quality emergency care and resident education. Twenty percent of Cooper’s EM curriculum is focused on pediatric emergency medicine and is taught by our own pediatric EM faculty. Rotations in the Pediatric ED and Pediatric ICU provide a superb foundation in the evaluation and treatment of children in the ED. Cooper residents graduate as physicians competent and comfortable treating sick children of all ages.
In addition to clinical experience gained in Cooper’s ED, residents also train and work alongside EM faculty at Cooper’s three urgent care centers located in suburban areas of South Jersey. During their second and third years of residency, residents also spend two months in the Emergency Department at Virtua Mount Holly Hospital. Training at this busy, high-acuity community hospital ED (about 60,000 visits annually), serves as an outstanding complement to each resident’s training at Cooper. During their time in the Virtua ED, residents see both adults and pediatric patients who present with a wide variety of suburban injuries and illnesses.
Unique Training Opportunities
EM Residents at Cooper enjoy a bounty of unique additional educational and training opportunities. For example:
- Cooper’s EM program offers residents a unique experience in EMS and Disaster Medicine. The Division of EMS/Disaster Medicine brings expertise in Emergency Medicine Services, Disaster Medicine, Air and Transport Medicine, Public Health and Weapons of Mass Destruction to provide a resource to the EM program, hospital, community, region, and state. In 2016, Cooper became responsible for the entire EMS system in the City of Camden. Our residents now have the opportunity to provide daily medical command to our ground and flight crews. Residents learn the role of physicians in EMS medical direction and medical command, how to collaborate with different organizations during a disaster response, and how to provide appropriate care during mass casualty incidents. Residents work alongside our two EMS/Disaster fellows.
- Cooper residents engage in comprehensive training in bedside ultrasound. Working alongside several ultrasound fellowship-trained faculty, residents gain extensive hands-on experience using state-of-the art machines. Ultrasound training begins immediately for all incoming residents. This practical experience coupled with a formal didactic curriculum provides each resident with an outstanding foundation in EM ultrasound. We also have an ultrasound fellowship. Ultrasound is used in a wide variety of clinical and procedural applications, and the graduating residents are proficient in the performance of emergency bedside ultrasound and ultrasound-guided procedures.
- Cooper residents also gain outstanding critical care exposure while rotating on the trauma and medical intensive care services. Cooper’s critical care and EM faculty include several nationally recognized leaders in critical care medicine. Cooper’s institutional focus on critical care led to the creation of a multidisciplinary team of emergency medicine, medical, and surgical critical care staff who oversee the care of critically ill and injured patients. The faculty include several EM/critical care faculty who oversee the implementation of collaborative patient care and research protocols in the ED. Residents gain extensive clinical exposure to the treatment of patients in shock and post cardiac arrest syndromes, including the initial evaluation and stabilization of post cardiac arrest patients transferred to Cooper for targeted temperature management.
- An exciting addition to both Camden’s community and our residency program is Cooper’s focus on Addiction Medicine, a cutting-edge and growing area of EM. Our department currently has two board-certified addiction medicine specialists who not only provide medication-assisted treatment, but who have developed an award-winning comprehensive substance use disorder curriculum for our residency program. We also have a new Addiction Medicine fellowship that began in 2020 and continues to expand. Residents can elect to work with these physicians in the Addiction Medicine clinic.
- Cooper focuses on training the next educators. Our residents spend two weeks of their PGY-3 year on a teaching rotation. In addition, we have a new Medical Education Fellowship.
- Cooper has faculty specializing in simulation, administration, process improvement, palliative care, patient safety, undergraduate education, geriatrics, critical care, toxicology, EMS, disaster medicine, pediatrics, addiction medicine, medical education and ultrasound to provide residents with the most comprehensive EM training experience possible.
Cooper's Innovative Educational Website - EMDaily
An exciting development at Cooper was the 2016 launch of our educational website: EMDaily (emdaily.cooperhealth.org). This site is a collaborative effort between faculty and residents designed to provide brief, daily educational EM content in the following categories: Back to Basics, Advanced Practice, Imaging/Radiology, EM Conference Day, Critical Care, and Board Review questions. Nearly half of Cooper’s EM residents provide educational content for the site. This year, we will incorporate residents in leadership positions within EMDaily, such as chief editor, daily content editors, advertising directors, and podcast contributors.
Academic Education and Curriculum
Cooper residents attend 5.5 hours per week of conference. The core curriculum is taught over an 18-month period in monthly modules. Each module is devoted to a core content area; e.g. trauma, critical care, or infectious disease. Residents receive protection from clinical duties during conferences and the majority of the curriculum is taught by Cooper EM faculty. In addition, a resident development lecture series provides residents an opportunity to grow on a personal, professional, and business perspective.
The core curriculum is taught in both a traditional lecture-based setting and using the new, non-traditional “flipped classroom” method. In the past several years, Cooper has embraced innovative instruction through the use and development of podcasts, directed reading assignments, and the expansion of our asynchronous content. We have adopted the EM Foundations program to support our asynchronous teaching.
To ensure that each EM resident acquires the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful during residency and after graduation, our lectures are complemented with monthly faculty-led, small group case-based discussions and monthly module questions. Additionally we have a robust simulation and procedural curriculum, including advanced procedure labs for our senior residents.
Our monthly core curriculum is supplemented with our ECG conferences, ultrasound conferences, management conferences, interdisciplinary conferences (ICU, Trauma, Peds), toxicology conferences, business and ethics conferences, and EMS conferences. On one conference day per month, our seniors are split from our juniors and given targeted instruction on CV development, job application, oral board review, and other pertinent topics for soon-to-be graduates.
Research and Electives
Residents are also encouraged to participate in clinical research activities within the ED. Core research faculty oversee departmental, resident, and student projects. There are a number of Scholarly Tracks in which a resident can participate (click here). The residents have an additional four weeks of elective time during their senior year and are given the flexibility to choose electives that may help them develop their academic niche or augment their education. Examples of electives that residents have chosen in the past include: advanced ultrasound, palliative care, toxicology, administration, medical student education, orthopedics, various international activities, pediatric emergency medicine, and critical care.
Learning the Business of Emergency Medicine
Over the past few years, Cooper has developed a robust resident experience in the systems-based practice of EM. Residents receive significant education and feedback on billing/charting, patient experience, case management, patient safety, and process improvement. This education on the “Business of Emergency Medicine” provides residents a tremendous skill set to assist with the transition to independent practice.
With our medical school, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, our partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center, our Comprehensive Stroke Program, our Regional Trauma Center, and our Critical Care program, Cooper is an outstanding place to train and one of the best programs for emergency medicine.