Is there a minimum USMLE Step 1 score required?

No, we do not have a Step-1 score cut-off. Applications are reviewed as a composite reflection of a student’s performance. We encourage applicants with Step-1 scores below the national mean to highlight other areas in which they have excelled and believe will make them a great Emergency Physician.

Do you accept COMLEX in lieu of USMLE Step-1?

Yes, COMLEX scores are accepted though most of our previously matched Osteopathic graduates have also taken the USMLE exams.

Do you accept IMG applicants?

Yes, IMG applicants are encouraged to apply via ERAS similarly to students of US medical schools.

What visas do you sponsor?

H-1B visas can be considered. More institutional specifics regarding visa applications and processes can be found on the UK Graduate Medical Education FAQ page.

What is the timeline for interview invites?

We will begin sending interview invitations in the middle of October and continue throughout the season on a rolling basis. UK Emergency Medicine (UKEM) does not send formal letters of rejection for your application as we continuously review qualified candidates throughout the interview season and openings in our schedule occur even late into January.

What is the application deadline?

While there is no formal deadline for your application, we encourage interested candidates to have their complete ERAS file prepared by October 21st when programs can first view your information. We receive hundreds of applications to review annually and having the complete set of documents available by this date will assure that your information is appropriately considered.

How is the University of Kentucky unique amongst other emergency medicine residencies?

UKEM is uniquely positioned as the only Level 1 trauma and specialty hospital in central, eastern or southern Kentucky. The city of Lexington provides our residents with the opportunity to care for patients with urban medical and traumatic pathology. Our larger catchment area consists of rural, Appalachian communities that have often minimal access to medical care and patients with very complex chronic disease. Collectively, this gives our trainees a rich, balanced learning environment preparing them to work anywhere in the country following graduation.

Is this program accredited?

Yes, UKEM remains accredited by the ACGME without any citations or areas of concern.

Is this a 3 or 4 year program?

3 year program. 

What is the emergency department like at the University of Kentucky-Chandler Medical Center?

UK-Chandler Medical Center (“Chandler”) is a Level 1 Trauma Center and quaternary care center caring for >85,000 patient visits annually. We are the first to receive or the ultimate destination for regional transfers that require trauma surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, or other medical subspecialty care. Additionally, we are also an accredited PCI and a stroke center. The Chandler ED is also the physical site for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital ED, a pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center and hub for subspecialty pediatric care. The patients that present to Chandler are often higher acuity and require more intervention than those at Good Samaritan. It is a very busy ED with all the medical and surgical subspecialties available 24/7. 

What is the ED at Good Samaritan Hospital like?

UK Good Samaritan Hospital (“Good Sam”) is our community affiliate hospital approximately 2 miles from Chandler and staffed by the same EM faculty group. Good Sam cares for close to 30,000 patient visits annually and is generally lower acuity on average, functioning like a community hospital rather than an academic hospital. Good Sam does have a medical ICU as well as some UK subspecialty services that still receive sick patients. Additionally, Good Sam hosts an inpatient psychiatric unit with on call adult and pediatric psychiatric specialists available at all hours.

What is the ED at Ephraim McDowell Hospital like?

During PGY-2 year residents spend 1 month at Ephraim McDowell Hospital, a community hospital ~45min away from Lexington in Danville, KY that sees a volume of nearly 30,000 patients per year. Residents are given autonomy for patient care and work alongside board certified emergency physicians, some of whom are prior graduates of the program. This is a highly valued rotation by our trainees and one in which they feel their confidence in clinical decision making actively develops.

How many hospitals are staffed by the residents?

Chandler is our primary hospital which is staffed by our residents daily. Good Samaritan has started having one ED resident 3-4 times a week. Residents construct their own schedule with the physicians at Ephraim McDowell while maintaining standard duty hours per ACGME requirements.

What do the different hospitals have to offer? ​​

Each hospital serves a different patient population and comes with its own set of resources which affects your treatment options in certain cases. Our two major hospitals are Chandler and Good Samaritan. Chandler has 24 hour ED pharmacy coverage, every subspecialty available, hyperbaric chamber, IR, multiple ICUs, in person Spanish interpreters (and online interpreters for the >200 languages spoken in our community), Child Life specialists, and social workers. Good Samaritan has in person ED pharmacy coverage until 7pm, interpretation services, social workers, and a unit secretary that calls your consults. 

​How much time in the residency is devoted to the emergency department?

  • PGY1: 6 months in the ED, 1 month ED US, 1 month ED orthopedics 

  • PGY2: 8 months in the ED, 1 month at Ephraim McDowell ED 

  • PGY3: 11 months in the ED, 1 month elective 

​Are there teaching opportunities for the residents?

Yes! Education is at the heart of our mission at UKEM. We have medical student clerkships for both MS-3 and MS-4 students that allow for residents to function in a clinical setting as teachers. The PGY-2 usually works with the MS3s and the PGY-3s usually work with the MS-4s. Other traditional opportunities for teaching exist in medical student procedural skills labs, paramedic education, high fidelity simulation sessions, events with the EM Student Interest Group as well as working with our subspecialty faculty in areas like ultrasound, toxicology and critical care.

How much responsibility do residents have?

Residents are able to jump in feet first on day one. Along with attending faculty, residents are primary caregivers, proceduralists, and decision makers in the ED. Autonomy is granted early in training at UKEM, though the ED is staffed with a minimum of 2 EM attendings 24/7. During the second half of the PGY-2 year and first half of the PGY-3 year, ED residents carry the code pager for the hospital. Residents have primary responsibility for  airway management in coding patients and often run the hospital floor codes. 

What are the specific roles of the different classes of residents?

UKEM does not adhere to a strict system of graduated responsibility. Interns are encouraged to learn how to lead resuscitation teams and trauma activations from an early stage in training. This is a point of pride amongst our residents and senior trainees actively teach younger residents while also managing overall flow in the department. 

What are the relations like with the other clinical services in the hospitals?

UKEM maintains excellent relationships with other clinical services and sub-specialists. Our rotations in orthopedics, trauma surgery, trauma ICU, CVICU, MICU and PICU create close relationships with our colleagues throughout the hospital. 

What formal didactics are offered?

We have weekly conference on Thursdays. Normal conference days are from 7 AM to 11 AM. A typical conference day could include oral board cases, resident or attending lectures, ultrasound/ECG/airway reviews, and lectures from other specialty staff like pharmacy. Simulation is incorporated into scheduled conference time and a longitudinal simulation program exists to allow for small group learning in the simulation lab. In addition, we have an annual Ultrasim Procedure Day as well as a Wilderness Medicine conference day at one of our attending’s horse farm. Residents also participate and lead Journal Club activities throughout the academic year. 

Are the residents relieved of their clinical duties to attend the didactic conferences?

Yes! Thursday mornings are reserved for conference and no residents are scheduled to work in the ED during that time. For the majority of off service rotations, residents are also allowed to attend the required EM weekly conference as long as patient care commitments are worked out with the specific team. Individualized Interactive Instruction (formerly “asynchronous learning”) opportunities are provided to make up for unavoidable absences and can count for up to 20% of conference attendance annually. 

​What research opportunities are available?

A number of ongoing research opportunities are available. We have a diverse faculty who are involved in many different studies including: toxicology, pharmacy, public health, global health, stroke, sepsis, medical education, ED operations, pediatrics amongst other projects. UKEM will sponsor travel for research presentations.

​How are the residents evaluated? How often?

Residents are evaluated on an ongoing basis throughout the year, facilitated via the Med-hub Residency Management System. Evaluations consist of faculty shift evaluations and semi-annual evaluations, 360 evaluations from other residents and nursing staff, off service rotation faculty, as well as shorter reviews from medical students and patients. The collective portfolio of a resident’s individual evaluations is reviewed by the CCC and a report is generated consistent with the EM Milestones. Residents can view their evaluations digitally at any time via Med-hub and the Program Directors review the composite reports with each resident twice annually.

Do the residents get to evaluate the faculty and rotations?

Yes. Residents are able to evaluate attending quarterly as well as for each off-service rotation. We also perform a more comprehensive overall evaluation of the program annually in which residents get to provide feedback into a formal report that is reviewed by the institutional GME office.

What does Lexington have to offer?

Lexington is a wonderful place to work and live. The landscapes are stunning and the city is surrounded by tons of opportunity for outdoor recreation. There is an ever growing culinary, brewery and distillery scene and sports from college athletics to world class equestrian events run year round. Check out for more ideas of how to explore our hometown.

Do you get a chance to see the rest of the bluegrass region?

Absolutely. Many of our residents, faculty and colleagues in the hospital embrace the region and often get out together to explore. World class rock climbing, cycling, running, paddling are just outside of town. 

How is the residency program governed?

Our residency is structured with one Program Director and two Assistant Program Directors. All 12 of our PGY3s function in leadership positions and are stakeholders in the Program Evaluation Committee. 12 core faculty members are also dedicated to specifically attending to the programmatic needs for our learners, including our Chair who was a former Program Director himself.

What does the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC) do?

The PEC meets on a bimonthly basis as a group that directs and makes decisions directly affecting the residency program. PEC is composed of the 3 program directors, core faculty and chief residents. This collection of stakeholders in our program allows senior residents to promote the interests of all residents as well as allowing them to serve as a conduit for communicating administrative decision-making to all of our trainees. We believe in maintaining resident input for the direction of the program and PEC is the formalization of this goal. 

What does the Clinical Competency Committee (CCC) do?

The CCC is a group of core faculty that meet throughout the semester for individual resident evaluation review and assignment of EM Milestones throughout the 3 years. The CCC meets 3 times per semester and each residency class is reviewed twice annually. Faculty review progress from clinical evaluations, completion of administrative tasks, and measures of fund of knowledge (such as the EM In-Training Exam) and generate a formal report that is reviewed with residents at semi-annual meetings with the program directors. This process allows us to give consistent feedback throughout training and support residents in targeted areas of need.

Who would do well at UKEM?

We look for future residents who are invested in the program and look to join their co-residents and faculty as part of a larger UKEM family. People who do well here are self motivated, adaptable, humble, and friendly. If you have a passion to care for underserved communities in both urban and remote rural environments, UKEM may be the residency program for you.

​How are applicants selected?

Applications from the ERAS portal are reviewed in full by our Program Directors and are selected for invitations to interview based on both academic achievements and fit for our residency family. We continue to grow our diverse, successful alumni network with excellent physicians taking academic, community and fellowship positions in all corners of the USA.

​Does the date that I interview affect my position on the residency rank order list? Should I plan to interview only in January, for example?

No, we regularly match future residents that interview throughout the season. Our review and organization of the rank list is based on your actual application and interview with the recruitment team. You should interview at the most convenient opportunity for you. 

Have there been any recent changes in the program?

We have replaced a surgical floor month for a cardiovascular ICU month and replaced neurology for ophthalmology 2 week rotation to our intern curriculum. We also recently implemented a short “Morning Report,” at the day shift turnover to enhance clinical education. To afford our EM residents more opportunities for deliveries, we began partnering in Spring 2021 with Kings Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, KY for a new home our mandatory OBGYN rotation month. We have also added a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship and Medical Education Fellowship this year, as well as a special track for residents interested in Critical Care Medicine. 

What is the future of the UK residency in emergency medicine?

We aim to continue to bring in diverse individuals who will shape our program to train sharp minds and caring individuals who want to better the lives of those in the commonwealth. 

Do you have a resident mentoring program?

All core faculty serve as formal mentors for the residents. Each of these faculty members will work with a group of residents representing the PGY-1, 2 and 3 classes. Often mentor/mentee sessions will take place outside of the hospital over food/drink or other fun activities. Our core faculty are invested in your success and the 1-2-3 design allows for senior residents to additionally reflect on their successful experiences with more junior residents.