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Over the past two decades, the clinical application of ultrasound by emergency physicians has greatly expanded. Emergency physicians have adopted ultrasound to advance the timely and accurate evaluation and treatment of the acute patient. In 1994 the first emergency medicine ultrasound curriculum was published. It was a broadly written document that divided ultrasound into abdominal, pelvic and cardiac applications, and described the many uses of ultrasound in emergency practice. Since this landmark publication, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has mandated that performance and interpretation of ultrasound imaging is included in emergency medicine residency training and today all EM residencies have integrated formal education in ultrasound in their curriculum.

At UC Irvine School of Medicine students receive over 30 hours of ultrasound experience before reaching the MS3 year. This is done through podcasts, hands-on practice in small groups, pathology based simulation, and pre-clinical student-run electives. Since 2011 over 250 of our students have traveled to over 10 Countries to teach ultrasound to students, residents, midwives, and physicians who never received this training. They have also been actively involved in researching the benefits of this tool in hands of medical students. For example they screened 2300 high school student athletes for the condition of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and found seven cases! They also developed a routine obstetric ultrasound screening exam for Panamanian midwives to easily learn. To learn more about our exciting curriculum at UC Irvine School of Medicine then click here:

Dr. J. Christian Fox completed an EM Ultrasound Fellowship in 2001 and is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS). He performs bedside teaching of ultrasound skills to EM attendings, fellows and residents. He lectures frequently and holds weekly QA reviews of all ultrasounds preformed in the ED. Dr. Fox includes senior medical students in this education, and thus has developed this ultrasound elective. Dr. Fox explains the rationale behind educating physicians in ultrasound much earlier in their careers in his TEDx talk here:

Rotation Description: Students will be required to complete enough clinical shifts to perform a minimum of 100 bedside ultrasounds on ED patients. Students will be supervised by Dr. Fox, who will instruct them at the bedside on proper ultrasound techniques and interpretation. Indications for ED ultrasound, limitations, knobology, and image acquisition will be emphasized. The following applications of ED ultrasound include: cardiac, lung, ocular, musculoskeletal, intestinal, gallbladder, renal, aorta, testicular, endovaginal, FAST, deep vein thrombosis, and ultrasound guided procedures. All students will get the opportunity to perform these ultrasounds. Students will be required to keep a log of ultrasounds performed, and follow up on confirmatory studies obtained. All ultrasounds performed are recorded. Students will be required to attend the 3-hour QA session held each week by Dr. Fox, at which time the videos are reviewed. During the QA sessions, the students will learn to interpret normal ultrasound findings, pathology and image quality/technique. 

Educational Objectives

At the end of this ultrasound rotation, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic principles of ultrasound instrumentation.
  2. Recognize indications for point-of-care ultrasound.
  3. Perform ultrasound of the heart, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities.
  4. Obtain classic “windows” of each of the above bedside applications in a timely and accurate fashion.
  5. Read and interpret the aforementioned applications of point-of-care ultrasound.

Rotation duration: The rotation is four weeks. However, in some instances in which students come with a wealth of ultrasound experience then a 2-week option is made available.

Rotation evaluation: In order assess that each student has met the objectives, it is necessary to receive a passing grade on the American College of Emergency Medicine’s Ultrasound Examination. This is a difficult exam designed for residents and practicing physicians. Please click here in order to take the exam until a passing grade is obtained:

In order to schedule the rotation, go to VSAS and apply!