Emergency Medicine Residency Program - Iowa Methodist Medical Center


Message from the Program Director


Thank you for your interest in the Iowa Methodist Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residency Program. We are an energetic new emergency medicine residency, recently accredited by the ACGME, with over thirty board-certified, hospital employed, emergency medicine trained physicians. Our three-year program will offer six categorical positions each year.

We have spent years planning, designing, and cultivating a curriculum designed to produce well-rounded leaders that can excel in any environment or fellowship upon graduation. At Iowa Methodist, we welcome thinkers, visionaries not afraid to question the way things are done and physicians driven to provide the best care for their patients. You will feel this innovative energy support you from every angle of our department. Our future residents are the new focal point in our mission to give our patients care that exceeds their expectations and creates a prosperous learning environment.  

Meeting your professional goals requires individualized training within a diverse and sophisticated clinical setting, and our promise of excellence in achieving those goals will require a lot of work and support. You will practice in central Iowa's only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center and tertiary referral center in downtown Des Moines, expand your knowledge and comfort caring for the most critical children in Iowa's only Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center and gain a tremendous grasp of rural medicine and its unique challenges in our single physician coverage rural emergency department. Through these types of excellent training environments, you will leave us with an unmatched skill set and confidence to become a leader in emergency medicine.  

Training in the only emergency medicine residency program in Des Moines, the state's capitol and largest city, comes with many other benefits. Opportunities for growth and experience beyond academics are at your fingertips, from a large ground and flight EMS system, community outreach programs, and mass gathering events in and out of the city. Our diverse group of faculty will facilitate those opportunities to explore your interests and establish your niche.  

UnityPoint Health has a storied history of residency education, dating as far back to the 1940s. The emergency medicine residency will join six other residency programs. This will give our residents the opportunity to build camaraderie with other residents, but they will not be competing for procedures or patient encounters.  

On your first day of residency, you will be matched with a faculty mentor based on your interests. Your mentor will help you adjust to life as a resident, moving into a new city, and provide guidance on a professional and personal level. This level of personal connection is emblematic of the value we place on each individual resident's success. We know our emergency medicine residents will excel here and find a happy balance in their personal and professional lives, an experience and skill they can take onto their careers.  

On behalf of our department, we appreciate your interest in our program and are here to answer any questions you may have.  


Nash Whitaker, MD, MSEd, MBA 
Residency Program Director 
Iowa Methodist Medical Center 
Department of Emergency Medicine



Exceptional Emergency Medicine Program

Our program seeks to ensure residents' exposure to rigorous scholarly activity, research, clinical training and a well-rounded practice of emergency medicine in a community-based setting.

About Our Program

UnityPoint Health – Des Moines is excited to introduce a new emergency medicine residency program. This will be a three-year program with six residents per year. Rotations will include the adult ED, pediatric ED, ICU, Level 1 trauma surgery service, among others. Core rotations will occur primarily at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Blank Children's Hospital within UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. The program recently received ACGME accreditation and is funded and committed to by our emergency medicine physicians and the hospital administration.

Program Overview

Mission Statement
To train skilled, compassionate, and professional physicians who are leaders in providing emergency care to their communities. 
Guiding Principles
  • Graduate residents with outstanding medical knowledge and procedural competency. 
  • Develop physicians with outstanding decision-making proficiency. 
  • Cultivate professionals who excel at communication and care coordination achieved through teamwork and accountability. 
  • Recognize honesty and integrity as foundational for all members of our team. 
  • Invest in the wellness and resiliency of our residents and faculty. 
  • Understand and advance the needs of the Iowa healthcare community in which the residents are training. 
  • Advance the scope and practice of emergency medicine through scholarly and professional work. 
Program Details
  • Three-year program with six residents per year in the state's largest metropolitan city. 
  • Train in the only Adult Level 1 and first pediatric Level 2 Trauma Centers in Central/Western Iowa. 
  • Exceptional clinical training and active scholarly activity in a wellrounded practice of emergency medicine in a nonprofit, community based setting. 
  • Unique Rotation Opportunities: EMS flight experience, rural EM, first-month orientation block, residency class retreats, and a wide array of electives with ample space to develop niche expertise. 
  • Learn from more than 30 hospital-employed, board-certified EM physicians. 
  • Superior clinical educators with frequent 1:1 teaching ensuring that each resident takes on increasing responsibility and experiences meaningful autonomy. 
  • No competing subspecialty learners. 
  • Robust, engaging and individually tailored didactic curriculum. 
  • Frequent teaching opportunities with student rotators from Des Moines University and the University of Iowa. 

Program Leadership

Curriculum Structure

First Year
  • Intern Orientation (4 weeks)
  • Emergency Medicine (20 Weeks)
  • Blank Children's Hospital Pediatric Emergency Medicine (8 Weeks)
  • Methodist ICU (8 Weeks)
  • Anesthesia/Ultrasound (4 Weeks)
  • Obstetrics (4 weeks)
  • Trauma (4 weeks)
Second Year
  • Emergency Medicine (28 weeks)
  • Blank Children's Hospital Pediatric ICU (4 weeks) 
  • Grinnell Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • EMS / Admin / Research (4 weeks) 
  • Methodist ICU (4 weeks) 
  • Trauma (4 weeks) 
  • Elective (4 weeks) 
Third Year
  • Emergency Medicine (32 Weeks)
  • Blank Children's Hospital Pediatric Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Methodist ICU (4 weeks)
  • Blank Children's Hospital Pediatric ICU (4 weeks)
  • Elective (8 weeks)
  • Rural EM 
  • Ultrasound 
  • Hospice/Palliative Care 
  • Radiology 
  • Physical Therapy 
  • Advanced Airway 
  • Administration / Quality Review 
  • Ethics
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Retrieval Medicine (Helicopter EMS)

These are just a few of the options available. 

Thursday mornings are protected conference time for residents to attend a comprehensive curriculum consisting of didactic lectures, asynchronous learning modules, simulation and cross-over events with other GME programs. 

This is an 18-month curriculum that will be cycled through twice during the three year program. Each month has a content theme and a dedicated faculty coordinator. 

The following year-long longitudinal curriculums are designed to give a consistent, continual exposure to core topics outside of the didactic content: wellness, ethics/administration, POCUS.

Emergency medicine residents will spend dedicated time in the Dorner-Villeneuve Simulation Education Center every conference block honing their resuscitation and procedural skills. The simulation curriculum consists of case and situation based educational experiences to cover both adult and pediatric emergency care. The sessions are multi-disciplinary with immediate feedback and debriefing taking place with residency faculty. Procedural skill simulations will include:

  • Airway management
  • Central venous catheter insertion
  • Arterial line insertion
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Paracentesis & thoracentesis
  • Vaginal delivery
  • Tube thoracostomy
  • Fracture care and more
Journal Club
A regular Journal Club meets monthly for a mix of socializing and science. A resident/faculty pairing is assigned to each month to select relevant and high-yield journal articles for review. This is a great opportunity to improve scholarship and sample a combination of local eateries or faculty homes.

Stipend and Benefits


The annual stipends for the respective levels are as follows (Effective Academic Year 2023-2024):

  • R1 - $65,985
  • R2 - $67,204
  • R3 - $69,038

Transition Allowance 

$750 relocation allowance is provided to all incoming residents. 


Health Insurance  

Residents may choose from two health insurance plans that best suit their individual needs. An annual health insurance bonus that partially funds the cost of a single-coverage health and dental insurance premium is given to each resident. 

Life Insurance 

The program provides group life insurance equal to the resident's annual stipend at no charge to the resident. 

Resident Liability Coverage 

General and professional liability coverage is provided for residents enrolled in the residency program through a combination of commercial insurance and self-insured retention. Coverages are no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $5,000,000 aggregate per policy year. 

Short and Long-Term Disability Coverage 

Short and long-term disability coverage is provided to residents. Short-term disability coverage (STD) is used when the resident is away from work for at least seven (7) days due to a non-work-related illness or injury. STD pays 60% of weekly earnings for a maximum of 26 weeks with no waiting period. Long-term disability insurance coverage ensures that residents will receive a minimum of 70% of their monthly salary if they are disabled due to illness or accident, on or off the job, following a 90-day qualifying period. 

Travel Insurance 

All residents receive travel insurance coverage while traveling on medical center business. 


All residents receive three weeks of paid vacation per year and one week of educational/sick leave. 

Residents are allocated $700 per year that can be used to purchase textbooks, educational software, or to attend approved medical meetings. 
  • Free Parking - All residents may park in a reserved area of the hospital parking facility at no charge. 
  • Meal Stipend - A fixed monthly allowance is provided to residents for meals in the medical center cafeteria. 
  • Paid Licensure - Fees for all licenses required by the residency program are paid by the program. 
  • Lab Coats - Two free lab coats are provided to all first-year residents. 
  • Fitness Center on premises 
  • Day Care Services on premises 
  • Employee Assistance Center 

Application Process

Residents are selected through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®), a program of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Applications to our residency programs are only accepted through ERAS.

Our selection process is based upon multiple factors, including general academic performance, clinical performance, Standardized Letters of Evaluation (SLOEs), personal qualities and achievements. The Iowa Methodist Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residency Program accepts applications from September through December.

  • J1 visas are sponsored, ECFMG certification is required to be considered for an interview
  • 6 months of US clinical experience strongly preferred (observerships do not count, must be hands on experience)

The selection committee reviews all material and interviews a select group of qualified applicants to fill the six categorical positions. Interviews will be conducted starting in October.

Nurse Applying.jpg

Applying to Residencies with ERAS®

Applications are only accepted through the Electronic Application Service (ERAS®), a program of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

ERAS® Application

Visiting Students

The Iowa Methodist Medical Center Emergency Medicine Residency Program is a VSLO program participant. We are excited to offer visiting medical students who are specifically interested in Emergency Medicine a four-week away rotation.

Applications are typically assigned based on availability on a first-come-first-serve basis from July through November of each academic year. Applications open on April 1 and are determined on an ongoing basis thereafter. Applicants will be expected to adhere to the dates scheduled as prescribed by our program and must be able to attend all four-weeks of any given rotation. We are also a site that requires first day attendance. All students who complete a fourth-year rotation within our department will be eligible to receive a Standardized Letter of Evaluation (SLOE).

Please note that our rotation is currently open to students attending an LCME or AOA accredited medical school within the United States.

We require a Program Letter of Agreement (PLA) with the student’s home institution. A Program Letter of Agreement is not the same as an Affiliation Agreement. If we are unable to establish a Program Letter of Agreement between our institution and the visiting student's home institution within 45-days of the block start date, the student will not be able to rotate.

Please visit the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program to get started. There is also a VSLO Student Learning Opportunities program video available as reference.

Contact Information

Please contact us if you have questions or for more information about our program.

Iowa Methodist Emergency Medicine Residency Program
UnityPoint Health – Des Moines
1415 Woodland Ave, Suite 140
Des Moines, Iowa 50309