TGIF: Collaborating creatively with great people

What part of your job do you love the most?

In academic emergency medicine, nothing energizes me more than brainstorming with creative, like-minded, and motivated people. From my experience, most of my past major projects have all started in similar informal, small-group settings.

For instance, the CDEM organization was built when a small group of undergraduate medical educators went to dinner during a SAEM conference. We conspired to build something bigger and better. Two years later now, we now have over 100 members and are a new member of the major interdisciplinary organization Alliance for Clinical Education.

1. This week, I got a call from Chad Kessler (Univ of Illinois-Chicago) who was interested in bringing medical education more to the forefront of EM. We brainstormed about building a "thinktank" of like-minded educators interested in pushing education to the 21st century. There is so much to be learned in the literature outside of EM and medicine in general. I suggested building a dynamic database somewhere to list the ongoing educational projects and research in EM. We too often work in silos. Collaboration is key in educational research. Any ideas how to build a database that everyone would participate in?

2. As a member of KidsCareEverywhere (KCE), I am headed off to Vietnam this month to help teach a conference jointly hosted by our organization and UCSF. This conference will assess pediatricians' knowledge before and after learning a new decision-support software PEMSoft. The members of the KCE team met for the last time for a dry-run of the conference and a brainstorming session to anticipate potential hiccups.

One problem which I'm still a little worried about is the access to laptops and electricity. Because we are testing the participants on their ability to navigate the new technology, we need everyone to have their own laptop. We doubt that participants will all have laptops, but we have backup plans to share. We're more concerned about poor battery life for the existing laptops and something as seemingly simple as access to electrical outlets. I have a feeling we'll be buying long extension cords while in Vietnam.

Check out our new 1 GB USB thumb drives that just came in! We are giving out to the participants, preloaded with the PEMSoft user manual, hospital-specific documents, and the lecture slides.

3. For our residency program, I'm running the Education Area of Distinction (AOD). There are a variety of AODs available, which allow our residents to "specialize" in a niche in EM. I have two rock star residents in the Education AOD - Liz Brown and Eric Silman. We met to discuss how we were going to take the education world by storm. It always helps to do this over a BBQ meal.

iPhone photo of the inaugural meeting at Baby Blues BBQ. Sorry it's so blurry - Digital SLR cameras apparently do don't well when dropped on the floor. In the Canon shop.

The first project, spearheaded by Eric, involves posting interesting cases onto this blog. I'm going to open up a Saturday slot called "A Case Presentation from UCSF-SFGH". Every Saturday, a short case from the residency program's Follow-Up Conference series will be highlighted to illustrate key clinical pearls.
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