Highlighting and Translating Canadian EM Education

In Featured Education Innovations (FEI), Great Evidence in Medical education Summary (GEMeS) by Teresa ChanLeave a Comment

Three key papers were developed at the 2013 Canadian Association of Emergency Physician‘s (CAEP) Educational Scholarship Academic Symposium and published in the May 2014 edition of CJEM that explain the value of educational scholarship in emergency medicine. They outlined the importance of innovating and improving teaching and learning in our specialty [1], endorsed the support and develop scholars in EM [2], and described how we can move forward using a pragmatic “how-to” guide [3]. Since then, the Canadian EM community has worked to celebrate and recognize the work of the medical educators within our specialty. In particular, the CAEP Academic Section has been highlighting innovations in Canadian EM education through two unique projects.

The CAEP Academic Section Projects

CAEP’s academic section projects were originally devised by Dr. Jonathan Sherbino (co-chair of the Academic Section of CAEP; Associate Professor at McMaster University), and Julien Poitras (Associate professor at Laval, who also is the Dean for Faculty directions and strategic projects there). Over the past year I have worked with these two gentlemen and Jennifer Artz of the CAEP staff to co-lead two initiatives from the Academic Section of CAEP. aimed at enhancing knowledge translation in Canada:

1. Featured Educational Innovations (FEI) – A rotating series that features educational innovations from each Canadian emergency medicine program.  We are very happy to have Ken Milne (of Skeptics Guide to Emergency Medicine fame) helping to interview the innovators and create a monthly podcast (CAEP cast) that allows educators to explain their initiatives.

2. Great Evidence in Medical education Summary (GEMeS) – This is a knowledge translation project that that looks to translate medical education papers into the emergency medicine context.  This series hopes to translate some of the great knowledge out there into usable tidbits for EM educators everywhere.

More about Featured Educational Innovations

The Featured Educational Innovations (FEI) series provides educators from across Canada with an international platform to share their innovations. Their projects (along with their successes, failures, and improvements) are described in detail with the creation of a scholarly document that allows medical educators looking for new ideas to replicate their work. Check them out here.

More about GEMeS

The Great Evidence in Medical education Summaries (GEMeS)  project is a bit different.  These little write ups are “gems” that highlight key papers from medical education, and help to summarize concepts and translate them for the practicing clinician who teaches in the ED.

Interview with the Project Leads

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Drs. Sherbino and Poitras about the first year of the GEMeS project. Their responses to my questions are outlined below.

Question 1:  How do you think it has gone in this pilot year?

JS:  Anecdotally, it seems to have achieved some real momentum.  The social media space within EM is promoting it, people are reaching out to me personally about the intitiative etc.  So, I think the “reach” is there.  But whether GEMeS is influencing the delivery of EM education is a big leap…

JP:  Rather well if I look at it from the ‘editing’ point of view. We succeeded in delivering on time quality material.  I agree that the global impact is not yet at a full blown level, but we have not yet a full cycle completed. The fact we are rotating through the 17 schools is a great idea, and I think it will help to raise interest and awareness of the initiative.

Question 2: How do you hope the GEMeS write ups will help Canadian EM physicians?

JS:  Education is a challenging task that too many educators approach with an ad lib attitude.  The challenge of teaching can be partially mitigated by adopting evidence-informed practices that improve the efficiency of learning.  Why use trial and error if you can build on another educator’s experience?  I have two goals for GEMeS: 1. share practical evidence and 2. increase connections within the EM education community.
JP:  The GEMeS project renders easily available a core of literature to help an EM teacher (in his/her teaching capacities).  It makes great material to choose an article for a journal club on med ed too.  It can also be used for teaching EM residents of our programs who have to acquire competencies in med ed – as bedside teaching material, as a corpus of articles to know for them (as future good teachers).  Finally, I hope that it might help to inspire new ideas/questions/studies/projects for our teachers/residents.

Question 3:  What was your thoughts on the original idea?  Has it evolved in your mind into something different over the year?

JP: Pretty much on target. One of the things that was envisioned was the possibility to receive automatically the new GEMeS monthly through email (as a subscription/feed). Currently right now, the FEI has been well integrated into the CAEP monthly newsletter, but in the next while hopefully we can similarly to this with the GEMeS project.

JS:  The original idea was a second order peer review of classic EM education publications.  A “Cole’s notes” take on education scholarship.  While GEMeS still uses great headlines, the rigour of each review is much better than I imagined.


1. Sherbino, J., Van Melle, E., Bandiera, G., McEwen, J., Leblanc, C., Bhanji, F., … & Snell, L. (2014). Education scholarship in emergency medicine part 1: innovating and improving teaching and learning. CJEM, 16, S1-5.

2. Bandiera, G., LeBlanc, C., Regehr, G., Snell, L., Frank, J. R., & Sherbino, J. (2014). Education scholarship in emergency medicine part 2: supporting and developing scholars. CJEM, 16, S6-S12.

3. Bhanji, F., Cheng, A., Frank, J., Snell, L., & Sherbino, J. (2014). Education scholarship in emergency medicine part 3: a ‘‘how-to’’guide. CJEM, 16, 00-00.

Teresa Chan

Senior Editor at CanadiEM
Emergency Physician. Medical Educator. #FOAMed Supporter, Producer and Researcher. Chief Strategy Officer of CanadiEM. Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University.