What’s New and In the Queue for Academic Medicine

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What’s New: A Preview of the September Issue
The September issue of Academic Medicine is now available! Read the entire issue online at academicmedicine.org or on your iPad using the Academic Medicine for iPad app. This issue includes a collection on resilience, wellness, and burnout. Highlights from the issue include:

The Missing Link: Connection Is the Key to Resilience in Medical Education
In this Commentary, McKenna and colleagues propose that connection to colleagues, patients, and profession is fundamental to medical learners’ resilience, highlighting “social resilience” as a key factor in overall well-being. 

Peer Support for Clinicians: A Programmatic Approach
Shapiro and Galowitz describe the origin, structure, and basic workings of the one-on-one peer support program at the Center for Professionalism and Peer Support, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and describe the important components for a peer support conversation.

In Their Own Words: An Analysis of the Experiences of Medical Interns Participating in a Prospective Cohort Study of Depression
Mata and colleagues compared the subjective experiences of interns with and without symptoms of depression to explore what made the year difficult, easy, and memorable, and how they had changed.

Burnout and Alcohol Abuse/Dependence Among U.S. Medical Students
In a national survey of more than 4,000 students, Jackson and colleagues found that 32.4% met criteria for alcohol abuse/dependence, with connections between debt, burnout, depression, other factors, and alcohol abuse/dependence.

Recognizing Patients’ Emotions: Teaching Health Care Providers to Interpret Facial Expressions
Ragsdale and colleagues found participants showed substantial improvement in skill and knowledge scores, and modest improvement in importance and confidence ratings, after a 90-minute workshop to teach physicians and physicians-in-training to interpret facial expressions and to use that skill in the context of patient care. A blog post to this article written by the author is available.

What’s In the Queue: A Sneak Peek
Here’s a preview of an upcoming perspective by Baker and colleagues.

Using National Health Care Databases to Inform Curriculum Development
Amy J. Baker, MA, Mark R. Raymond, PhD, Steven A. Haist, MD, and John R. Boulet, PhD

One challenge when implementing case-based learning, and other approaches to contextualized learning, is determining which clinical problems to include. This article illustrates how health care utilization data, readily available from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), can be incorporated into an educational needs assessment to identify medical problems physicians are likely to encounter in clinical practice. The NCHS survey data summarize patient demographics, diagnoses, and interventions for tens of thousands of patients seen in various settings, including emergency departments, clinics, and hospitals.

Selected data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: Emergency Department illustrate how instructional materials can be derived from the results of such public-use health care data. Using fever as the reason to visit the emergency department, the patient management path is depicted in the form of a case drill-down by exploring the most common diagnoses, blood tests, diagnostic studies, procedures, and medications associated with fever.

Although these types of data are quite useful, they should not serve as the sole basis for determining which instructional cases to include. Additional sources of information should be considered to ensure the inclusion of cases that represent infrequent but high-impact problems and those that illustrate fundamental principles that generalize to other cases.

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