Date: January 7th, 2015

This is a SGEM Xtra. Rather than being my usual skeptical self I am going to be Happy. Why am I so happy? Is it to wish all the SGEM listeners Happy New Years? Well sure, Happy New Years, but what I really want to do is make a Happy announcement

I have joined the New Emergency Medicine Abstracts (EMA) Team. For those of you not familiar with EMA they have been producing EM education for over 30 years. EMA has been trying to cut the knowledge translation window down by disseminating critically appraised literature before there was an internet!

Dr. Richard Bukata started EMA back in the 1970’s. He was subsequently joined by Dr. Jerome Hoffman and the two of them became the voices of EM medical education.

Their audio product quickly became known as the Rick and Jerry show.

header1I am one of the EM physicians these two giants have helped train. I am a better doctor who provides better care to patients because of listening to Rick and Jerry over the years.

They each bring a unique perspective and style to the literature. Rick was the front line, hard working community emergency physician. He could easily put the complex research into an easily understandable and digestible form. Rick had the gift of being able to translate how the literature could be applied in the “real” world.

Jerry on the other hand taught me how to be skeptical of anything I read. He had a laser focus on the method sections, limitations of studies and conflicts of interests. Jerry was teaching and talking about over testing, over diagnosing and over treating before anyone mentioned the term choosing wisely.


Drs. Richard Bukata and Jerome Hoffman

Now, I grew up when the Muppet Show was popular on TV. Years later, when I started listening to EMA it brought back some fond memories. Rick and Jerry reminded me of the two men sitting in the balcony commenting on the program. Stalter and Waldorf would combine sharp wit with their editorial comments. They seemed just like Rick and Jerry picking out the essential take home points about each article while always finding the balance between education and entertainment.

There is a very cool quote from Marshall McLuhan who said; “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” Rick and Jerry found that balance every month. Their chemistry was phenomenal and you could hear it come across month after month.

Emergency Medicine Abstracts is one of the main reasons I got involved in medical education. I am happy, humbled and honored to join the New EMA Team. What an opportunity to work with the Lennon and McCartney of emergency medicine education. It is a cliché only because it is true…I am going to be standing on the shoulders of giants.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 5.48.54 PMBut don’t panic! If you are a long time subscriber to EMA you will still get your monthly dose of Rick and Jerry. There will be no going into withdrawal or what could be called DA (Delirium Abstractem).

Dr. Bukata will be doing a monthly interview with a leader in emergency medicine. They may be a researcher, administrator or opinion leader. It will be a chance to hear from the voices of people who have changed or are changing emergency medicine through their work.

Dr. Hoffman will also have a monthly section where he brings his unique style, approach and opinion we have all come to expect and appreciate. I am affectionately calling this the Andy Rooney segment of the show. Jerry will give a critical and skeptical view of a recent topic of interest (big pharma, lack of methods in research, over testing, over diagnosing and over treating).

The New EMA consist of three fantastic teams to review the literature. Each team has two outstanding physicians who are amazing communicators and educators.  There will be  slight change to the format with the addition of a moderator. The moderator will provide some continuity between the three teams. I will be moderating two of the teams and Jerry will be the moderator for the third team.

I like to think of the EMA format change sort of like the changes that took place at the Tonight Show. The great concept of EMA will continue in a way that made it so successful for decades. There will be 30 abstracts reviewed and commented on each month.

But just like the Tonight Show there will be a new host sitting in the chair. So in essence I will be acting like Jimmy Fallon. My job will be to moderate these talented abstractors, move the show along and keep it fresh and entertaining (while still being skeptical).

EM Swami and Darth Educator

EM Swami and Darth Educator

East Coast EMA Team:  The first team is from the East Coast consisting of Dr. Rob Rogers and Dr. Anand Swaminathan.

Rob runs the iTeachEM blog and podcast and is the director of the Teaching Course. He also started an educational think tank with Dr. Salim Rezaie called the Teaching Institute (flipping the world of medical education). Rob is a powerful force in the world of medical education and is known as Darth Educator. Some would say; Rob’s joining the New EMA team is an awakening, have you felt it?

The other super star on the East Coast EMA Team is the Dr. Anand Swaminathan or EM Swami. He is the assistant program director for the Belleview program out of New York City. He is young, smart, energetic doctor part of the EM Lyceum team. EM Lyceum was started by a group of emergency physicians at Bellevue Hospital whose goal is to encourage academic debate, discuss nuances in clinical practice, and encourage learning in a non-intimidating, enjoyable fashion.

Swami has a voice made for medical education. If you have heard him on any of the SGEM Classic paper series with me over the last two years you know what I am talking about. These Classic episodes have become some of the most popular and most downloaded episodes on the SGEM.

Combining Swami’s youth and talent with Rob’s clinical expertise and teaching experience is going to make the East Coast EMA Team a powerhouse of emergency medical education.

Billy Mallon and Michelle Lin

Billy Mallon and Michelle Lin

West Coast EMA Team: This team from California is also fantastic and a little cocky. There has already been some trash talk by one of the members. This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows Dr. William Mallon.

Billy is a Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
 at the University of Southern California. He has been with EMA for about 20 years as faculty at their EM/Critical Care conferences, doing the EM Boot Camp and teaching the EMA board review course. Billy is a very smart and passionate speaker. You never have to wonder…what does Billy really think about this topic?

So who in the world could possible hold their own with such a big, brash, boisterous individual? An ALIEM, not alien but ALIEM – Dr. Michelle Lin from the hugely successful knowledge translation project Academic Life in Emergency Medicine. Michelle is a Social Media super star of medical education. It will be Billy’s bravado combined with Michelle’s measured approach with me stuck in the middle. It should make for some amazing education.

Chris Carpenter and Ken Milne

Chris Carpenter and Ken Milne

Middle America/Canada EMA Team: The third and perhaps best team will be coming out of Middle America. Dr. Chris Carpenter from Washington University. Chris is one of the smartest person I have ever met. If you are standing in a room full of people wondering, who is the smartest person in the room? And if Chris is there, you’ve met him, it’s Chris (Captain Cranium). My IQ goes up just by standing near this guy.

Chris wrote the book on evidence-based medicine…no literally wrote the book – it’s called Evidence-Based Emergency Care: Diagnostic Testing and Clinical Decision Rules. Chris is also the world expert on geriatric emergency medicine.

I will be the other half of this team. While I have been doing research and teaching for many years I am still a front line ER doc working full time mainly out of community and rural hospitals.

So Chris will bring the Ivory Tower view with systematic reviews, propensity scores likelihood ratios and I will be there to help people see the forest plots from the trees, explaining how can we really apply this research/literature in the community setting. What happens if you don’t have easy access to an MRI or PET scan? How are you going to manage patients that need to be transferred to tertiary centers? The moderator for our urban/rural divide will be Jerry Hoffman.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-29-at-6.08.14-PMNow some listeners may be worried about my commitment to FOAMed (Free Open Access to Medical Education). Fear not SGEM listeners. The SGEM will continue. I will still be doing critical reviews in addition to my EMA role. The goal is still to cut the KT window down from over 10 years to less than 1 year.

However, EMA is also part of the FOAM movement. Emergency Medicine Abstracts have been offering their product for years to EMRA members (Emergency Medicine Residents Association) and the CAEP resident members (Canadian Association of Emergency Physician) for FREE. That’s right FREE. So you can get access to the New EMA by log gin into the EMRA or CAEP Resident websites.

Then once you graduate and have become addicted to the great content you can subscribe. EMA subscribers get 360 papers reviewed a year by EM experts. But you get more than just the abstracts,  you also get:

  1. A monthly deep dive/essay on a single topic
  2. Interview by Rick Bukata with a EM leader
  3. Lecture recorded from the EM/Critical Care conference
  4. A segment with Jerry Hoffman discussing an important issue
  5. The entire EMA database which goes all the way back to 1977 with abstracts, essays, lectures, audio files and more

Your subscription also helps pays it forward to the next generation of EM doctors. You are helping provide this awesome resource to EM residents. Even if you are not working in an academic/teaching center you can help train the future physicians. You can make sure they have the best education possible so that patients are getting the best care.

Now you should understand why I am so Happy to be part of the New EMA team. But if this blog or podcast has not convinced you of my enthusiasm take a look at this Happy EMA Team video of the New EMA Team.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 4.48.27 PM

Remember to be skeptical of anything you learn,

even if you heard it on the Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine