It’s a New Year!

Lots to learn about running a better sports medicine fellowship from Dr. Irfan Asif

What’s that you say?  A ‘new year’?  But we’re months away from January 1! It’s hardly time to sing Auld Lang Syne….

However, if you are a physician in North America, a new year most definitely has begun — whether it is July 1 for most, or August 1 for the remainder, pretty much all post-graduate medical education programs begin at this time of year.  And so, if you are involved in a sports medicine fellowship in Canada or the USA, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions……..

Such as.  How can I make my sports medicine fellowship better?  How might I structure a regular educational feature such as journal club in such a way as to improve the educational outcomes of the people under my charge?

For starters, you could familiarize yourself with media found frequently in CJSM.  And specifically, you could go to one of the fonts of wisdom on this matter, one of our regularly recurring contributors, Dr. Irfan Asif.

Dr. Asif has been very generous with his time when it comes to this publication.  He has been profiled in these blog pages; he has been interviewed for one of our podcasts; he has been a frequent author.  He has also been instrumental in the formation of an what is becoming something of an annual tradition at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) conference:  a joint presentation by BJSM, Sports Health, and CJSM on how young authors can enjoy publication success.

In this post, I specifically want to draw to your attention two products of Dr. Asif’s work.  The first is a study that has been published ahead of print on journal clubs in sports medicine fellowships. The second is a statement published in our May 2017 edition on sports medicine fellowship ‘standards of excellence.’ 

Both resources I found illuminating.  Both gave me pause to reflect on what I, and my fellow attending faculty, could do to improve the sports medicine fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Already one of the better pediatric training sites in the country, it can be improved, as any organization can continuously improve.

Journal club is an excellent example of an educational program that sometimes fails to deliver on its potential.  I am involved in journal clubs for the fellowship as well as with residency training at my home hospital. Some months I’ll attend three such gatherings.

One of the pearls I found in Dr. Asif’s study was the recommendation for a formal process tool that can be used by a presenter to ‘deconstruct’ an article being read at journal club; a tool by which the presenter and attendees can gain the most.  One example is the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine’s (CEBM) critical appraisal tool. 

We’ve begun having our fellow use the CEBM tool with good effect.  The fellow notes that he/she gets ‘more out of the article’ than when left to analyze in an ad lib fashion.  And those of us listening in attendance are able to extract the important nuggets of information, or discover the fundamental flaws of a study, in a way we heretofore had not experienced.

If you are, indeed, at the beginning of a new academic year, take a look at those resources, and make a commitment to implement a process that holds promise for improvement.  Your fellow(s), and you, will likely benefit in the upcoming year.


About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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