In the last thirty years, Emergency Medicine in the United States has developed from a novel idea into a full academic discipline with a unique body of knowledge, over a dozen peer reviewed scientific journals, and several hundred textbooks. Most medical schools have academic departments of Emergency Medicine, and it is the third most popular residency choice for medical students.

UCSF has long had an accomplished Emergency Medicine faculty, including a number of nationally prominent leaders in the specialty. The faculty were based at both UCSF Medical Center on Parnassus and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, both divisions of other departments, with a department of Emergency Medicine at UCSF Fresno. In July of 2008, the UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine was formed, incorporating faculty from all three sites. 

The UCSF-SFGH emergency medicine residency program had its inaugural year in 2008, and now has a full complement of 56 residents in its four-year program. UCSF-Fresno has had a highly respected emergency medicine residency program since 1978.