Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

As health care professionals working on Emergency medicine, our history is still being written. Let’s say you would like to learn which countries officially recognize Emergency Medicine (EM) as a specialty, and want to make a beautiful interactive infographic depicting these countries with their official EM recognition years (Because, why not?). It should be an easy task, right? WRONG.

What is your guess?

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How many countries recognize Emergency Medicine as a specialty?

Even though it seems like a simple question which should have a clear answer, the answer is somewhat of a conundrum. There are a few difficulties for the answer. First of all, what is the definition of “recognition”? Could it be possible to consider having an EM residency program or the presence of EM specialists in a country as recognition? Probably not. Secondly, some of the countries recognize EM as a specialty but the exact year of recognition is unclear. Also, the answer may vary between articles and makes it hard to choose one. To make things clear, we have accepted the definition of “recognition” as a country’s official approvement of Emergency Medicine as a primary specialty. Countries recognizing EM as a supra-specialty (such as Switzerland) were also considered as a recognizing country in our list.

Anyway, we have rolled our sleeves up and dug deep. Many articles and tweets later, we had all the data available on this topic. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time an article or blog post lists EM’s official dates of recognition for the entire world. We have also taken one step further and showed them on a neat interactive map.

So here we go: As of 05/2019, there are 82 countries in the world which recognize EM as a specialty. 13 countries from Africa, 27 countries from Asia, 13 countries from the America, 27 countries from Europe, and two countries from Oceania recognize EM.

As a well-known fact, the first two countries to recognize EM as a specialty are the United States and the U.K. Which are the latest? Germany and Denmark are the most recent of these countries, as both of them recognized EM in 2018. Perhaps, one year later, there will be new countries which welcome EM specialty. Who knows?

Shall we take a look at the current situation in an eye-pleasing way? Of course! You can view our interactive map right here. You can view maps with colors corresponding to the years of EM recognition for each country in the world (darker the color, earlier the date) in Figure 1. You can also view continental maps for Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe and Oceania in Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, respectively.

Figure 1. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

WORLD

Figure 2. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

AFRICA

Figure 3. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

ASIA

Figure 4. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

AMERICA

Figure 5. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

EUROPE

Figure 6. Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

OCEANIA

For the ones who believe nothing is better than a list, all countries are listed in alphabetical order in Table 1. Table 1. List of counties which recognize EM as a specialty (alphabetical order).

Table 1. List of counties which recognise EM as a specialty (alphabetical order).
Country Name Year of Recognition
Albania 2011
Argentina 2010
Australia 1993
Bahrain 2001 *
Belgium 2005
Bulgaria 1996
Botswana 2011
Brazil 2016
Canada 1979
Chile 2013
Colombia 2005
Costa Rica 1994
Croatia 2009
Cuba 2000 §
Czech Republic 2013
Denmark 2018
Dominican Republic 2000
Egypt 2003
Estonia 2015
Ethiopia 2010
Finland 2012
France 2015
Georgia 2015
Germany 2018 #
Ghana 2015
Greece 2017 #
Haiti 2014
Hong Kong 1997
Hungary 2003
Iceland 1992
India 2009
Iran 2002
Iraq 2013
Ireland 2003
Israel 2009
Italy 2008
Japan 2003
Jordan 2003
Kenya 2017
Laos 2017
Lebanon 2012
Libya 2013
Lithuania 2013
Malaysia 2002
Malawi 2010
Malta 2004
Mexico 1986
Morocco 2002
Myanmar 2012
Netherlands 1998
New Zealand 1995
Nicaragua 1993
Norway 2017
Oman 1999
Pakistan 2010
Peru 1999
Philippines 1988
Poland 1999
Qatar 2000
Romania 1999
Rwanda 2013
Saudi Arabia 2001
Serbia 1992
Singapore 1984
Slovakia 2003
Slovenia 2006
South Africa 2004
South Korea 1996
Sri Lanka 2011
Sudan 2011
Sweden 2015
Switzerland 2009 #
Taiwan 1998
Tanzania 2011
Thailand 2003
Tunisia 2005
Turkey 1993
United Arab Emirates 2004
United Kingdom 1993
United States 1972
Vietnam 2010
Yemen 2000

* Exact year of EM recognition in Bahrain is unknown and establishing of The Bahrain Emergentologist Association (BEMASSO) in 2004 accepted as the recognition year for this infographic.
§ Cuba has an EM/intensive care unit (ICU) training program which was begun in 2000.
# EM is considered as a supra-specialty in Germany, Greece, and Switzerland.

That is all for now! Please feel free to share it and comment on this list. Also, please tell us if we had any countries left behind or if there were any mistakes. EM family grows every day!

Together we are stronger!

References and Further Reading

  • Swanson RC, Soto NR, Villafuerte AG, Emergency medicine in Peru, J Emerg Med. 2005 Oct;29(3):353-6, DOI:10.1016/j.jemermed.2005.02.013
  • Garcia-Rosas C, Iserson KV, Emergency medicine in México, J Emerg Med. 2006 Nov;31(4):441-5, DOI:10.1016/j.jemermed.2006.05.024
  • Al-Azri NH, Emergency medicine in Oman: current status and future challenges,Int J Emerg Med. 2009 Dec 11;2(4):199-203. doi: 10.1007/s12245-009-0143-6.
  • Sakr M, Wardrope J, Casualty, accident and emergency, or emergency medicine, the evolution, J Accid Emerg Med. 2000 Sep;17(5):314-9.
  • Pek J.H., Lim S.H., Ho H.F., Emergency medicine as a specialty in Asia, Acute Med Surg. 2016 Apr; 3(2): 65–73, doi: 10.1002/ams2.154
  • Fleischmann T, Fulde G.,Emergency medicine in modern Europe, Emerg Med Australas. 2007 Aug;19(4):300-2.
  • Partridge R., Emergency medicine in Cuba: an update, Am J Emerg Med. 2005 Sep;23(5):705-6, DOI: 10.1016/j.ajem.2005.03.006.
  • MacFarlane C, van Loggerenberg C, Kloeck W.,International EMS systems in South Africa–past, present, and future,Resuscitation. 2005 Feb;64(2):145-8,DOI:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2004.11.003
Cite this article as: Ibrahim Sarbay, "Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty," in International Emergency Medicine Education Project, May 13, 2019, https://iem-student.org/2019/05/13/countries-recognize-emergency-medicine/, date accessed: September 15, 2019

4 thoughts on “Countries Recognize Emergency Medicine as a Specialty

  1. Tunisia is one the first countries in africa to recognize EM as a speciality since 2005. I’m not sure about libya

  2. Qatar is one of the first Arab countries that recognize Emergency medicine as a speciality from 1998
    Yemen is recognizing EM as speciality and its emergency and disaster association is recognized by international federation of emergency medicine.

  3. hola soy Felipe Salazar de Ecuador, estoy finalizando el postgrado de emergencia, en el Ecuador la especialidad si esta reconocida desde 1995, como puede contactarme con ustedes?.

    hello i’m Felipe Salazar from Ecuador, i’m emergency physician, our speciality
    is recognized sice 1995.
    i would like to contact with you.
     

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