An Open Letter and Invitation for Contributions

In Uncategorized by Brent Thoma2 Comments

Dear BoringEM supporters:

I greatly appreciate the support that this blog has received from the FOAM community since I started writing only a couple years ago. From the return readers, to the comments, to the tweets, to Mike Cadogan (@sandnsurf) setting up my new site, to @emchatter giving it skin, I would never have imagined receiving this much support.

I would like to build on this. However, with each post I am becoming more convinced that a solo blog is not the way I want to do that. While some sites (e.g. EMCrit) are able to pull it off in spades, I do not think this site will be able to meet its potential without partners. I see a ton of potential in the multi-collaborator model used by LITFL and ALiEM. Posts are more frequent, there is greater opportunity for peer review, each contributor has unique strengths and interests, and shared decision making leads to a better overall product.

To this end, I am proud to announce that we are now expanding our editorial board. I would like to warmly welcome Dr. Teresa Chan (@TChanMD), an attending emergency physician in Hamilton, ON, an avid FOAMite, a regular contributor to BoringEM, and an assistant professor at McMaster University. She will be helping me to develop this site as a multi-author blog. She brings with her experience as an Associate Editor at the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) blog. We have both learned a lot this year working with the likes of Dr. Michelle Lin (@M_Lin) from the ALiEM website, but also believe in supporting home grown Canadian content that speaks to our nation’s own docs.

We are looking for additional collaborators to write/edit for BoringEM. I have been lucky enough to recruit Dr. Chan, but I know there are a lot of FOAM lurkers out there that might be interested in taking the plunge and contributing. No particular experience is necessary, but solid writing skills and enthusiasm for emergency medicine are a must. Involvement in some aspect of the FOAM-o-sphere (e.g. Twitter) would be an asset, but we are happy to work with you to build your online presence.

As you may have noted, the writing style of BoringEM is not purely academic in that we do our best to make our posts entertaining and enjoyable to read. We encourage you to retain your personal ‘voice’ in all of your submissions and make them memorable with helpful pictures (see A Pictorial Approach to Ultrasound in Shock) and analogies (see Normal Saline: The Coke of Crystalloid Fluids).

In particular, we are looking for writers to contribute to the following sections:

Invitation for Contributions: Blog Types

1) Knowledge Translation

While my previous posts have often focused on discussing knowledge translation, moving forward the KT section will translate recent literature into practical, usable knowledge. A KT section piece should be focused only on one paper, but may cite related literature so that readers (and learners) can understand the body of work that lead up to the paper of interest. KT pieces should begin with a PICO question format and then help to guide readers towards controversy (presenting all sides as possible), but may also involve the author’s point of view so long as it is clearly demarcated. Length: 1000 words max with up to 10 citations.

2) Medical Concepts

The Medical Concepts section focuses on reviewing a core topic for emergency medicine learners. This section may cite both literature and review resources (e.g. other FOAM blogs, textbooks, review articles). The mandate of this section is to address basic medical concepts that are important for learners to truly grasp before moving on to advanced topics. Length: 1500 words max with up to 10 citations.

3) Mentorship

The Mentorship section aims to address the career counselling and need-to-know-but-boring aspects of emergency medicine. Thus far, it has focused on the CaRMS application process, but we hope to expand this section to include materials about aspects for residents and junior academic clinicians on how to advance their career. Senior clinicians are particularly welcome to share their pearls of wisdom, insights and opinions. Length: 1000 words max with up to 10 citations.

4) Tiny Tips

Tiny Tips is a section that provides a short backgrounder leading up to a SINGLE mnemonic that is meant to be a memory aid for learners. Length: 1 mnemonic, 200 words, and up to 3 citations.

5) Chalk Talks

Chalk Talks is the multimedia component of the site. We welcome videos or podcasts about key, frequently-asked (or frequently-taught) topics that all medical students that come through emergency medicine rotations should hear. Videos and podcasts should be approximately 5-10 minutes and include a text summary for the blog.

6) Counterpoint

Counterpoint is our editorial column. So far, this section has predominantly been a staging area for opinion pieces from our editorial board (mainly Dr. Chan) about medical education pieces. Submissions for this section will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and may incorporate substantial editing to ensure it is in line with the views of the editorial board. 1000 words max with up to 15 citations.

7) Boring Questions

Our newest column, Boring Questions will review one specific clinically relevant question in totality (e.g. What is the role of an abdominal film in a patient with abdo pain?). We particularly would like to invite medical students and junior residents to consider submitting for this section. Length: 500 words max with up to 10 citations.

BoringEM Publication Process

While we are welcoming new writers, we want to ensure our content remains high quality and trustworthy. As such, we will continue to maintain a robust editorial and internal peer review process. Potential contributors should expect that your work will be reviewed by our team and returned for revisions prior to publication.

There are no absolute prerequisites and I would encourage anyone that would be willing to write for BoringEM to contact us! Hopefully there are lots of great writers out there that are interested in contributing to the FOAM movement by partnering with us to expand BoringEM.

Thank you!

Brent Thoma
Editor-in-Chief, BoringEM


Dr. Brent Thoma is a medical educator, blogging geek, and trauma/emergency physician who works at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He founded BoringEM and is the CEO of CanadiEM.
BoringEM has been 'bringing the boring' to emergency medicine since 2012. In 2016 this Canadian blog brought its content to CanadiEM.