I don’t have any data…of course, that’s never stopped me before… but I suspect that most CEs didn’t plan to get rich or famous in health professions education. My clinical practice funds my academic work. My education scholarship doesn’t stand a chance against the drug trials in the annual departmental report, where the metrics must fit a pie chart. (How do you fit a qualitative study into a pie chart?) I suspect that my personal driver as an educator is the delayed gratification of encountering a former student or resident. Reflecting on the successes they’ve enjoyed in their career is the best reward in education.
Of course, the vitality of medical education requires, in part, other disciplines to recognize and acknowledge its contributions. (Last week, I suggested that medical education was not a discrete discipline, which makes the challenges of external recognition even harder.)
Acknowledging numerous local and national awards, I suggest that a relatively “new” (since 2004) international award deserves closer attention from CEs. The attention is deserved mainly because of the caliber of past recipients (Henk Schmidt – 2004; Ron Harden – 2006; Geoff Norman – 2008; Richard Reznick & David Irby – 2010, Cees van der Vleuten – 2012). Of note, the award is given by the Karolinska Institutet, which also hands out the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. I’m encouraged by this “Nobel-lite” prize for research in medical education… it won’t replace the conversations with current and past students, but it signals to me that the recognition of health professions education is increasing.