Christina Powell, OMS-III

What is FOAMed?

FOAMed stands for Free Open Access Medical (FOAM) Education. If you spend any time on social media stalking the emergency medicine community, you’ll see a plethora of physicians sharing  great ideas, clinical skills, and novel pearls for the community to use and apply in its practice.  If you listened to a good lecture on cardiac conditions, post it. If you read a new article on thrombolytics, tweet it. The information is a dynamic collection of evolving and collaborative educational resources distributed online that is constantly updated, getting you quickly up to date at a moment’s notice. The beauty of FOAMed is the interactions surrounding the new information presented on social media. The open discussion and scholarly discourse that occurs is independent of platform or media; it includes blogs, podcasts, tweets, Google hangouts, online videos, facebook groups, photographs, etc. It’s free, and accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

According to symplur, a website that tracks health care related hashtags, there were over 31,000 tweets using the #FOAMed hashtag in October 2017 alone.1  FOAMed is a growing movement to expand critical care and emergency medicine education to a wide population with a robust online dialog that is timely, multi-national, and largely politically neutral. Hashtags bring all the posted education together for ease of access and visibility.

#FOAMed Benefits

  • Current topics and constantly updated
  • Quick access to scholarly information
  • Snapshots, videos, and quick summaries to stay up to date on the go
  • Ability to collaborate with colleagues globally

“If you want to know how we practiced medicine 5 years ago, read a textbook.

If you want to know how we practiced medicine 2 years ago, read a journal.

If you want to know how we practice medicine now, go to a (good) conference.

If you want to know how we will practice medicine in the future, listen in the hallways and use FOAM.”

Joe Lex 

How can you get involved in the #FOAMed movement?

A simple way to start is by establishing a professional Twitter account. Unlike other social media sites, Twitter allows you to follow many people online without requiring an invitation or acceptance from fellow users. You can easily follow residency programs, attendings, scholarly journals, or health care leaders without having to know them personally. Your Twitter account can not only be a mechanism of networking and identity in a sea of future emergency medicine professionals, but you can also create an individually tailored and curated profile of medical information, freely available at any time. There are some key Twitter users that consistently tweet links to high-yield content or relevant FOAM articles, and you should be their newest Twitter follower!

Other benefits of Twitter for professionals:

  • Global interactions – educational collaborations across the globe
  • Search optimization – find current publications faster on Twitter than Pubmed!
  • Lifelong learning – keep up to date on new articles by following the publication itself on Twitter
  • Medical conferences – keep up-to-date on events and speakers, especially ours at the RSO!
  • Stay on top of current events within seconds of looking at your phone

Who should you start following?

FOAM Starter @Foamstarter

The Bottom Line  @WICSBottomLine

Academic Life in EM  @ALIEMteam

FOAMcast  @FOAMpodcast

FOAM Highlights  @FOAM_Highlights

EM Res Podcast @BobStuntz  @Radiopaedia

Steve Carroll, DO @embasic

Haney Mallemat @CriticalCareNow

Rob Cooney, MD, MEd @EMEducator

BoringEM @BoringEM

Rob Bryant @robjbryant13

Tessa Davis  @TessaRDavis

Teresa Chan  @TChanMD

The EMCrit Crew @Emcrit

FOAMed on MEDucation @med_FOAMed

And shameless plug, the ACOEP-RSO @ACOEPRSO!


  1. “The #FOAMed Influencers.” Symplur. Accessed: 11/23/17.
  2.  “International EM Education Efforts & E-Learning” Free Emergency Medicine Talks: Emergency Medicine Education for Everyone. Accessed: 11/23/17.