The CORD Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine
Disclosures: The authors have no disclosures or conflicts to report.
Supervising Editor: Terry Kowalenko, MD.
In 2010 the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) established an Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine to define, promote, recognize, and reward excellence in education, education research, and education leadership in emergency medicine. In this article we describe the mission and aims of the Academy. Academies for medical educators are widespread in medical schools today and have produced many benefits both for faculty and for educational programs. Little effort, however, has been devoted to such a model in graduate medical education specialty societies. While CORD and other emergency medicine organizations have developed numerous initiatives to advance excellence in education, we believe that this effort will be accelerated if housed in the form of an Academy that emphasizes scholarship in teaching and other education activities. The CORD Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine is a new model for promoting excellence in education in graduate medical education specialty societies.
ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2010; 17:S13–S15 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
In 1990, Ernest Boyer published a treatise that proposed that those involved in education move beyond the traditional definition of scholarship to include not only research (the scholarship of discovery), but also the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of teaching.1 To be recognized as scholarship, however, these areas of faculty activity must be characterized by the following: clear goals, adequate preparation, appropriate methods, significant results, effective presentation, and reflective critique.2
There are clear benefits to emergency medicine (EM) educators in adopting a rigorous approach to discovering, developing, and disseminating evidence-based efforts through research and teaching that are effective, meet the definitions of scholarship as defined above, and ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.3 The mandates of the Accreditation Committee on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Outcome Project,4 of developing valid and reliable ways to teach and assess residents in achievement of the core competencies necessary for the independent practice of their specialty, make this goal for evidence-based teaching particularly compelling. Also, there is always a significant need for communication about methods, tools, and techniques. In addition, there are numerous educators in EM who are involved in teaching and who would benefit from greater recognition for their efforts, skill, and innovation. Finally, faculty development in this area could be enhanced with a robust network of qualified mentors and experts to advance the skill development of interested educators.
Certainly several recent efforts in EM in this regard are to be applauded, such as the coordinated effort to certify a pool of EM educators through the Medical Education Research Certification (MERC) process of the Association of American Medical Colleges (MERC at CORD Scholars Program). Also, the recent establishment of an annual Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) supplement to the journal Academic Emergency Medicine for the dissemination of recent education research and education advances in EM is a worthy effort. The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Educational Research Interest Group, whose charge is to develop interest, expertise, collaboration, and networking in education research, is another noteworthy example. An additional example is the process both CORD and SAEM have recently developed for providing grant funding for education research projects. Finally, the Clerkships Directors in Emergency Medicine, an academy of SAEM, has focused a number of efforts in the area of education scholarship. We believe, however, that advancement in education scholarship will be further accelerated if housed in the form of an Academy and that this is a natural progression of the efforts of CORD to advance scholarship and teaching.
The mission of the CORD Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine is to define, promote, recognize, and reward excellence in education, education research, and education leadership.
We hope to realize the mission of the Academy through the following activities:
- 1 Providing evidence-based information to inform and advance education, education assessment, education research, and education innovation.
- 2 Developing enduring materials that are useful for education, education assessment, and education research.
- 3 Promoting communication and collaboration and the development of “learning communities” within and outside of our organization and/or discipline to advance education, education assessment, education research, education innovation, and education leadership.
- 4 Providing a support network for those working in medical education and education research.
- 5 Providing guidelines and opportunities for faculty development, mentoring, and advancement in education, education assessment, education research, education innovation, and education leadership.
- 6 Developing a process to recognize excellence in teaching.
Academies for medical educators have become widespread in the recent past. Searle et al.5 reported that 36 of 122 medical schools responding to a national survey reported having medical education academies. Her work also stressed that care in the formation of an academy is crucial to its future success. Irby and colleagues,6 in a paper that describes successful models in a number of U.S. medical schools, discusses the impact of the academies on the medical educator. According to Irby et al., academies provide a number of special benefits: 1) a second academic “home” for educators to reach across traditional boundaries to those with similar passions and interests; 2) a more clearly defined pathway for faculty development, academic advancement, and the development of education scholarship, thus leading to improved educational quality and increased satisfaction and rewards for teaching; 3) a significant increase in both the quality and the quantity of faculty research and scholarship; and 4) a stronger and more visible platform for organizational planning and advocacy.
In 2010, the CORD Board of Directors approved the establishment of the CORD Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine. The expectation for the CORD Academy is that it will provide its members, as well as the larger community of academic emergency physicians, a unique structure for realizing such benefits as noted above. The Academy will strive to make explicit the link between the assessment of education effectiveness, education innovation, and education scholarship. We anticipate that the more intense collaboration through the Academy model will promote better informal and formal sharing of ideas and reduce duplication of effort both vertically (preserving organizational and scholarly “memory”) and horizontally (across EM and other academic medical societies). Collaborative investigation will also improve the quality of research by promoting guidance by skilled mentors, thus enhancing study design and increasing the number of subjects though multicenter designs, frequently an issue of concern in education research projects.3
We believe that enhanced research quality, the support and involvement of seasoned faculty mentors, and a larger, more widespread, and more formal organizational structure will improve the success of individual investigators, groups, and EM academic organizations in securing grant funding. Greater collaboration will also increase momentum and build on a solid base of collective expertise and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of scholarly effort. Collaboration across disciplines will be promoted, with liaisons between expert educators, trained investigators, research support staff, clinicians, and academic faculty.5 The support role of the Academy will also extend to the offering of information, resources, and guidance about the process of scholarship in education, including guidelines and suggestions for promotion and/or tenure efforts, as well as special distinction related to teaching and to education scholarship.
The Academy will promote leadership in education scholarship, as EM educators gain credibility as a result of excellence in research and produce work that improves the quality of teaching for EM trainees and trainees in other specialties, and highlights EM as a specialty in the forefront of education scholarship in graduate and undergraduate medical education. Although there is a successful model for an Academy across schools of osteopathic medicine,7 the CORD Academy will be the only one of its kind in EM education today and could serve as a model for other specialties in the development of their own efforts in promoting scholarship and teaching through formation of a teaching academy. The Academy can serve as a unified voice within and outside of EM for issues related to scholarship in education and a visible source for expertise in this area.
As a unique structure within CORD, it is critical to success that the activities and operations of the Academy mutually support, and are synergistic with, other CORD activities that promote the mission of CORD as a resource for educators. Also important for growth and development will be initiatives for inclusion and collaboration with colleagues in other EM organizations.
We understand that the goals and intent of the Academy are broad and ambitious. We also believe that, given the interest, energy, enthusiasm, and skill that is characteristic of the academic EM community, the CORD Academy for Scholarship in Education in Emergency Medicine will thrive and serve as a model for advancement in education scholarship among our larger EM community and other specialty societies as well.