Reviewed and revised 4 December 2014

FOAM – Free Open Access Meducation – Medical education for anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The term FOAM was coined in June 2012 in a pub in Dublin, over a pint of Guinness during ICEM 2012 [watch the Dublin video]. This page is dedicated to collating the resources that healthcare professionals and students can access to take part in the FOAM movement.

FOAM is a collection of resources, a community and an ethos. The FOAM community spontaneously emerged from the collection of constantly evolving, collaborative and interactive open access medical education resources being distributed on the web with one objective — to make the world a better place. FOAM is independent of platform or media — it includes blogs, podcasts, tweets, Google hangouts, online videos, text documents, photographs, facebook groups, and a whole lot more.

FOAM should not be seen as a teaching philosophy or strategy, but rather as a globally accessible crowd-sourced educational adjunct providing inline (contextual) and offline (asynchronous) content to augment traditional educational principles.
FOAM is the concept, #FOAMed is the Twitter hashtag


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.

— from International EM Education Efforts & E-Learning by Joe Lex 2012

We review emergency medicine and critical care (EMCC) FOAM weekly in The LITFL Review. Anyone who reads it and follows the links will agree that EMCC FOAM resources are sophisticated, cutting edge learning resources that enable clinicians and students to update their knowledge and improve their understanding in a fun, motivating and time efficient way. It is all free, and can be accessed by anyone, at anytime, anywhere. We believe that together with asynchronous learning and the flipped classroom, FOAM is part of the future of medical education and lifelong learning.

In March 2013 the emergency medicine and critical care FOAM movement crystallised in a unique conference called SMACC (Social Media and Critical Care). This was followed a year later by an even more successful event held on the Gold Coast, smaccGOLD, before over 2,000 people assembled in 2015 for SMACC Chicago. In June 2016, SMACC will be held in Dublin — the place where FOAM began. Subscribe to the SMACC Podcast on iTunes.

What is FOAM?

Slides, links and audio only version available at ‘Why FOAM? Facts, Fallacies and Foibles‘.

Support and join the FOAM party

What the Journals and Media say…

FOAMed resources

FOAMed Hashtags on Twitter

  • #FOAMed (FOAM)
  • #FOAMlit – Research and Literature Collated via @BrentThoma
  • #FOAMcc (critical care)
  • There are lots of others: #FOAMtox (for toxicology), #FOAN (for nursing), #FOAMped (for paediatrics), #FOAM4GP (for general practice), #FOAMim (for internal medicine)
FOAMed Languages
FOAM commentary from across the web

Lots are people are talking about FOAM and #FOAMed. Here is what some of them are saying:

Bill Hinckley (president of AMPA – Air Medical Physician Association) on why he thinks everyone should get #FOAMed:

A discussion of FOAM by the team at ACILCI (in Turkish!):

Find out how many people are using #FOAMed (and who they are… and what they are saying) on the Symplur #FOAMed homepage. Also, this is the answer to Why the #FOAMed hashtag?


Search for FOAM using this customised Google search tool.

Why would anyone want to make FOAM?

Consider these three questions:

Q1. Have you ever spent untold hours preparing a talk that was attended by 8 people — of which a few were cognitively incapacitated by a recent night shift and the rest by post-prandial stupor? (That’s right the lowest level of expertise is not unconscious incompetence, it’s plain old unconscious!)

Q2. Did you go into medicine to help others?

Q3. Do you want a quick, easy way to establish an international reputation as an effective clinical educator?

Many of us interested in clinical education would say ‘hell yes!’ to all of these questions. That’s why it makes perfect sense for us to record videos of our presentations, turn the research we’ve done and experiences we’ve had  into a blogposts, and record our discussions as podcasts. Then share them with all the world.

The above is an excerpt from the iTeachEM post titled Individual Interactive Instruction

LITFL talks about FOAM

Mike Cadogan talks about FOAM at the International Conference of Emergency Medicine 2012 in Dublin here:

Chris Nickson talks about FOAM at the Bedside Critical Care Conference 2012 in the Whitsunday Islands here:

Chris Nickson’s 400 second long guide to handling information overload in an age of FOAM: “Dr INFOlove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The FOAM” (a PK SMACC-talk):

Do you Believe in FOAM?

Become a FOAM supporter!

FOAMed by Domhnall Brannigan

FOAMed by Domhnall Brannigan – click image for source

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