Frequently Asked Questions

What's Iowa got that other programs don't?

• We have two dual-boarded emergency medicine and critical care faculty who divide their time evenly between the emergency department and the MICU and SNICU respectively. This allows us to offer our residents unparalleled critical care education, both in the department and during their ICU rotations.
• We have a diverse faculty with diverse interests including critical care, ultrasound, simulation, sports medicine, international medicine, emergency medicine services and others.
• Our Emergency Department supports a full time clinical pharmacist that assists with patient care and is highly involved in our research programs.
• We have 24-hours a day of full social work support dedicated to the Emergency Department.
• The use of ultrasound in the practice of Emergency Medicine is expanding exponentially. The University of Iowa Emergency Department recently purchased new, state of the art ultrasound equipment to assist our residents in learning this fundamental skill. The residency program also supports a full time director of the ultrasound curriculum.
• Medical simulation is used extensively within the residency training program. The residency has a full time simulation director who coordinates this area of the residency curriculum. Residents receive training using high-fidelity simulators to augment their clinical experience.
• The residency program has a close relationship with our partner community hospital in Cedar Rapids, with residents spending several months learning there. This allows residents to experience patient care not only in a large academic center, but also at a large community hospital.
• Iowa City is a highly intellectual community with premier arts events that are accessible to residents in terms of cost and location.
• We have an outstanding school system for children in grades K-12.
• A great training program and a high quality of life at an affordable price.

What are the fellowship opportunities available?

Currently, Sports Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Palliative Care are available, with plans in place to develop International Medicine and Emergency Medical Services fellowships.

Where is Iowa City?

Iowa City is 220 miles directly west of Chicago on Interstate 80. It’s also within a 4-5 hour drive to Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis. It has the cultural, educational, social and political opportunities of a bigger city with the values and ambiance of a Midwestern town. It’s clean, safe, nothing is farther than a 15 minute car ride, it has a great city bus system (with bike racks!), wonderful parks, sports, schools, and even sailing. Those who have lived here and left, frequently return because what they were looking for was in their own back yard. But we’re not the only ones who think Iowa City is great:

• The 2011-2012 Best Doctors® database recognized 315 doctors from UI Hospitals and Clinics and UI Children’s Hospital
• U.S. News & World Report: The national new magazine’s “America’s Best Hospitals” rankings for 2011 include two clinical specialties in the Top 10 – Ear, Nose and Throat (5th), Ophthalmology (6th) and seven others in the top 40.
• No. 3 out of 75 mid-size cities for volunteer rate (“Volunteering in America,” Corporation for National & Community Service, June 2011)
• No. 13 “Best Small Places for Business and Careers” (Forbes, April 2011)
• No. 9 out of 179 on best performing small cities list (“Milken Institute,” October 2010)
• “Healthiest Town in the United States: (Men’s Journal, February 2010)
• “Top Towns for Jobs: (MSN CareerBuilder, January 2010)
• Ranked as one of America’s Top 100 Adventure Cities (National Geographic Adventure, October 2009)
• No. 5 “Best Places to Begin a Career,” Metros Under 500,000 (Forbes Magazine, July 2009)
• No. 13 “Top College Towns for Jobs” (Forbes Magazine, May 2009)
• No. 5 best-educated city under 250,000 (USA Today, August 2009)

How ethnically diverse are the patients?

Like a lot of university towns, we have a large international community. Growing cultural diversity is another reason Iowa City is an interesting place to live. Diversity is embraced and celebrated with city and university events, festivals, clubs and programs. The University works hard to recruit and retain minorities with its affirmative action policies. About 13% of Iowa Citians are non-white.

What’s the weather like in Iowa City?

It depends on what you like. For about two weeks every winter it’s very cold and windy and for two weeks every summer it’s really hot and humid. The rest of the time it’s pretty nice. We have a lot of sunny days even in the winter – 166 per year. Our average snowfall is 28”, average rainfall is 35”, average temperature in the summer is 72.6 and in the winter, 23.7. We consider our weather character building.

What is there to do in Iowa City when you’re not working?

There are 15 different festivals and art fairs, plus concerts and race events. There are many music venues, sports events and neighborhood street fairs and garden walks. We also have a really big mall and several smaller ones, 41 parks, 9 golf courses, 6 public tennis courts, 6 public pools, some lakes and a reservoir with trails, camping & boating. There are bike trails, some famous bookstores, a ton of galleries and excellent museums. There are half a dozen or more performing arts venues including Hancher Auditorium. There's always something going on. Find more information from the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

What's Iowa City like for kids and families?

There's ice skating, bowling, organized sports, 50 public parks, miniature golf, a great public library, a toy library, fun centers, swimming pools and 3 beaches, 9 museums including a children's museum, dance companies and public recreation centers that feature many activities for kids and families at little or no cost. We also have 20 movie screens and 50-licensed daycare providers. The Iowa City schools are perennially ranked among the top schools in the nation. Iowa City is unique in the facilities and services available for individuals with disabilities. Many families who have a family member with a disability are reluctant to leave Iowa City because they cannot duplicate those services in another location.

Are there any job opportunities for my spouse/significant other?

Yes, in March 2011, Iowa City had an average of 3% unemployment. Also check out The University of Iowa's Dual Career Network. 

Is it possible to do an international elective in your program?


Is this a family friendly program?

Yes! We love children and support residents in their efforts to balance work with family life. We have several dual physician resident and faculty families and understand the stresses. Women residents receive up to 6 weeks of paid maternity leave after delivery. Men get 5 working days off for paternity leave. The house staff health insurance policy provides full coverage for spouses and children. There are several childcare facilities near the hospital and one on-site. The training program also has activities during the year where all family members are invited.

Is there sufficient patient volume so that I can have multiple exposures to a variety of diseases?

Currently, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Emergency Department (ED) sees > 60,000 patients per year. Of these, approximately 82% are adults, and 18% pediatrics. Trauma patients represented approximately 22% of our patients, surgical non-trauma 8%, medical 58%, obstetric 5%, and psychiatric 8%. Of the patients seen in the ED, 30% are admitted to the hospital with approximately 4% being admitted to an intensive care unit.

Do you have a research project requirement for graduation?

Yes. Our RRC requires residents to complete a scholarly activity prior to graduation. The scholarly activity requirements include:
• A thorough review of the scientific literature relevant to their topic
• Development of a publication-quality manuscript or product (curriculum, protocol, etc.) upon completion of the project.
• Presentation of findings at national, state or at a minimum, Iowa’s EM Research Day

If you have additional questions please contact our program coordinator at