Education Scholarship: Definitions and “How-to”

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) did a pretty amazing thing in 2013.  It established an annual academic symposium that provides recommendations and sets benchmarks for academic performance of all university-based departments (divisions) of emergency medicine. (A few caveats, the recommendations and benchmarks are voluntary and not tied to funding or infrastructure support.  However, they are based on the consensus opinion of the Canadian emergency medicine community and are not influenced by institutional politics.)

The first symposium in 2013 was dedicated to education scholarship. (See here and here for previous posts that unpack this topic.)  A series of papers outlining the recommendations from this national consultation were recently published in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. (Conflict alert, I was an author on these papers.)

The first paper in the series addresses an expanded concept of scholarship, differentiating innovation and research. The Academic Section of the CAEP endorses the Canadian Association for Medical Education’s (CAME) definition: “‘Education Scholarship is an umbrella term which can encompass both research and innovation in health professions education. Quality in education scholarship is attained through work that is: peer-reviewed, publicly disseminated and provides a platform that others can build on.”

The second paper in the series addresses the support and development of scholars. Eleven recommendations detail how academic (divisions)departments should develop infrastructure, operational and career support for young and established education scholars.

The final paper in the series provides a “how-to”guide to transform an education innovation into a scholarship.

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Ten recommendations detail how the Canadian academic emergency medicine community should collectively work towards advancing medical education (via scholarship).

The message(s) from this series is not unique to emergency medicine.  Rather, the global education community should guard against factors that isolate an education innovation, thus, permitting a cycle of continued re-invention that neither advances the field nor engages other learners or teachers.

Image courtesy Max Pixel be freely distributed with a Creative Commons Zero – CC0