Always on Call
Joshua Troke wears many hats - all in the name of helping people.
Joshua Troke knows how to multitask.
An executive story editor on Fox's medical procedural The Resident, he's also an emergency medicine physician at UCLA and a flight surgeon with the Air Force Reserves. "Any one of the careers could be amazing," he says. "Writing has been the most surprising of them all."
Growing up in Lancaster, California, he always knew he was going to be a doctor. "To be honest, I didn't know writing was a career," Troke admits.
As an undergrad at UCLA, he worked nights as an emergency trauma technician in the ER of UCLA Medical Center. After med school at Stanford, he returned to UCLA for his residency but decided halfway through to join the Air Force Reserves as a flight surgeon.
Because he wasn't busy enough? "I have a lot of family with military experience and a personal interest in space medicine and space exploration — I'm a big sci- fi nerd," he explains. One of the job requirements was becoming a pilot, so add that to his accomplishments as well.
A few years ago, he was telling a friend in the entertainment industry about the possibility of practicing medicine on a space station or moon colony. "My friend said, 'There should be a show about that.' That conversation stuck in my mind. It hit this weird itch that I didn't know I had."
So Troke scratched, first by secretly taking screenwriting classes at UCLA Extension. He got into the CBS Writers' Program, then landed as a staff writer on CBS's ER-based Code Black. Unsure whether writing would work out, he continued working at the ER every weekend, and in the reserves during breaks.
But writing seems to be panning out. After Code Black was canceled, Fox's The Resident snapped him up. The other writers on the show — which recently wrapped season two and has been picked up for season three — pepper him with medical questions as they work on their scripts.
They also ask about their own ailments, and that's fine with Troke. "That's the big reason I became a doctor," he says. "To try to help people." What's more, juggling 10 to 15 patients in the ER at any given time "prepared me for chaos," Troke says.
So, yes, he can handle the rigors of a writers' room. "Creatively it can be stressful on your brain, but it's not life or death."
Viewers can catch up on The Resident on Hulu, Fox Now or Fox on Demand.
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 5, 2019