Editorial Board Q&A: Anthony R. Artino Jr, PhD

Artino (002) (003)Anthony R. Artino Jr, PhD, professor, Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland

Describe your current activities. 

I’m a Professor of Medicine and Deputy Director for Graduate Programs in Health Professions Education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. I am also a Captain in the U.S. Navy with just over 20 years of active-duty service. In my current role, I’m responsible for teaching, research, and administrative leadership. In terms of research, most recently I’ve worked with several colleagues to explore responsible research practices in academic medicine and the use of alternative metrics to help researchers gauge how their work is disseminated outside of traditional publications (e.g., posts on weblogs and tweets on Twitter). Keep your eye out for a couple of upcoming papers on these topics in Academic Medicine!

What gaps do you see in the current academic medicine scholarship?

One of the biggest gaps I see in academic medicine is knowledge translation (or lack thereof). In other words, I think we need more work that explores the role of medical education research in medical education practice. Academic medicine is a growing field, and evidence from our research has provided new insights into how and why certain learning strategies and interventions work, while others do not. Despite this growth of knowledge, many medical educators still don’t consult the research literature when making decisions about curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Some of the research questions I think we need to explore include: Why don’t we have more knowledge translation in the field, and what can we do to promote knowledge uptake and application?

Name two to three seminal Academic Medicine articles that everyone in your field should read.

That’s a tough one, but if I had to pick just a couple, I would probably go with David Cook’s 2005 article entitled “The Research We Still Are Not Doing: An Agenda for the Study of Computer-Based Learning.” In this article, David reiterates a caution that scholars in the field of educational technology have long argued – the idea that it makes no sense to conduct so-called “media-comparison studies,” where researchers compare instruction in one type of media to instruction in another. Such studies are hopelessly confounded, and David does a nice job articulating this argument and calling for more rigorous research.

I also really enjoyed reading the recent article by Elaine Van Melle and her co-authors. The article, entitled “Using Contribution Analysis to Evaluate Competency-Based Medical Education Programs: It’s All about Rigor in Thinking,” is still in the published-ahead-of-print category, and so it’s a little too new to be considered “seminal.” Nonetheless, it’s quite fascinating and, in my opinion, should be required reading for anyone attempting to answer the ubiquitous question: “does my program work?”

What issues will we be reading about in Academic Medicine in five years? 

I hope we’ll be reading more articles that explore translational research efforts in academic medicine. We have to figure out how best to promote knowledge uptake and application. And like everything we do in medical education, the question of knowledge translation should be studied in a systematic way. I’m also hopeful that over the next few years the quality of our measurement tools in medical education will improve, particularly the survey instruments used for research purposes. In some of our most recent work, we’ve found major problems related to the quality of the individual items found in published survey tools.

What book(s) are you reading right now? 

Actually, I don’t do a ton of “reading for fun.” I do, however, listen to lots of audio books. Three of my recent favorites are Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, David Brooks’ The Road to Character, and Angela Duckworth’s Grit. I’m also a big fan of podcasts. Truth be told, I’m slightly obsessed. Some of my favorites are Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, NPR’s How I Built This, Planet Money, and Invisibilia, and Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics Radio. If you ever need to pass the time on a long trip, these podcasts are just what the doctor ordered.

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