What exactly is "scholarship" in Emergency Medicine?

The SAEM website houses a Faculty Development Handbook, which is a key document to read if you are an EM resident interested in academics or an EM faculty member. It reviews key points and issues in academic EM, including research, mentorship, promotions, and career longevity. I encourage you to take a look at this at: SAEM faculty development handbook.

In this electronic handbook, it specifically helps define what "scholarship" is. To be successful in academics, one needs to successfully build a portfolio of scholarly work. But what exactly IS "scholarship"?

Here is a snippet from the handbook on this topic in the Preface by Dr. Marcus Martin and Dr. E. John Gallagher:

The development of a successful career in any branch of academic medicine is predicated upon the systematic accumulation of a body of scholarly work. The Faculty Development Committee therefore began by seeking a working definition of the term scholarship to serve as the organizing principle for this Handbook. Ultimately, we settled upon a classification originally proposed a decade ago by Ernest Boyer of The Carnegie Foundation, and subsequently adopted by the Council of Academic Societies (CAS) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

This taxonomy divides scholarship into four major categories, as defined below:
  • The scholarship of discovery is that of original research. This is the predominant form of scholarship that has traditionally found the greatest favor with medical institutions during the latter half of the 20th century.
  • The scholarship of integration is that of trans-disciplinary merger of information from disparate branches of science and medicine, with the goal of formulating creative and novel insights. This is often the most difficult form of scholarship to characterize because it typically operates at the periphery of several disciplines, and may consequently be relatively far-removed from the mainstream of any single area of knowledge.
  • Closely allied to the scholarship of integration is the scholarship of application, which bridges the gap between theory and practice by bringing new information to bear on practical problem-solving, e.g., bench to bedside translocation of knowledge.
  • Finally, there is the scholarship of teaching, which requires intelligible communication of valid and reliable information supported by thoughtful, coherent reasoning from a knowledgeable source to students, younger physicians, and other colleagues.
The last type, the scholarship of teaching, is the most common form of scholarship in academic departments. This is where clinician-educators, such as myself, focus our time, effort, and passion. In the setting of increased clinical demands, though, it has been more and more difficult to maintain such active scholarship in academic departments. There was a hot article published in Academic EM focusing on this exact issue, which I'll review in the upcoming weeks.

(Schrader et al. Scholarship in emergency medicine in an environment of increasing clinical demand: proceedings from the 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges annual meeting. Acad Emerg Med. 2008; 15 (6): 567-72.)
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