A Little Alphabet Soup: UA/EMS Becomes SAEM

At a 1968 meeting of the American College of Surgeons, 6 young ED directors decided to pull together a national meeting on the challenges of emergency medicine. In March of 1970 they held an organizational meeting in Birmingham, Alabama with representatives from 96 of 119 medical schools in the United States and Canada. That November the University Association for Emergency Medical Services (UA/EMS) was officially born, with a broad goal of improving the quality and delivery of emergency medical care.

Many of the nation’s academic surgeons joined UA/EMS, and from this foundation UA/EMS had more credibility than ACEP in the many debates surrounding emergency medicine at the time. But UA/EMS was stretched thin, and in 1973 hired ACEP to manage its affairs, an arrangement that lasted 8 years. Perhaps predictably, UA/EMS worked closely with ACEP and the Society of Critical Care Medicine on specialty recognition, forming the Federation for Emergency and Critical Care Medicine in 1973 to push the American Medical Association for a Section Council on Emergency Medicine.

In 1989 UA/EMS merged with the Society of Teachers of Emergency Medicine to become the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

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