Category Archives: Research

Feed a Discipline (With Research Questions): Become Shark Bait

Winston R Liaw, MD, MPH

Winston R Liaw, MD, MPH

Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.

  • Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Each year, my colleague, Alex Krist, and I sit down with our Virginia Commonwealth University family medicine residents to brainstorm potential research topics for their scholarly activities, and each year, we encounter a similar series of events. Initially, there is silence (frequently prolonged and often deafening) followed by musings about their lack of research experience. Then, a brave soul offers a question that has been plaguing her. A classmate asks a similar but related question. The conversation reminds a third resident about a different question he always wanted to answer. By the end of the hour, we have a list of fascinating, important questions.

  • Do calorie counters improve patient outcomes?
  • Why do our patients use the emergency room next door when our walk in clinic is open?
  • Has the new patient portal affected the volume and type of phone calls we receive?
  • Are patients at the community health center interested in doing video visits?

Your STFM Research Committee thought that family medicine residents and faculty nationwide may similarly have pressing questions to answer but lack the means to do so. Initially conceived by STFM Research Committee members Tammy Chang and Rob Post, we launched a session at the 2016 STFM Conference entitled: “Shark Tank for Family Medicine: Real-time Feedback for Primary Care Research Ideas”. During the workshop, seven participants pitched research ideas to three “sharks” (well-established primary care researchers). The sharks provided real-time feedback and then selected participants to mentor over the year. For those of you not tuned in to pop culture, our workshop is based on the TV show Shark Tank where contestants pitch business ideas to established entrepreneurs and winners receive funding and mentorship.

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Democratizing the Conversation for Greater Good: Social Media Usage at Academic Conferences

By Chris Morley, PhD, Ben Miller, PsyD,  and Mark Ryan, MD

Recently, there has been some discussion about whether the sharing of information presented during academic conferences via social media is appropriate, taking form in both peer-reviewed literature1–4 and in online blogs5 and social media, with a particular focus on Twitter.

Predictably, there are arguments presented against the sharing of material via social media that frequently center on the protection of copyrights, patents, intellectual property, or simply ideas-in-formation. Other arguments tend to fret over whether the sharing of a table, figure, or text, presented in a conference, may somehow represent prior publication that might interfere with the ability to later incorporate the same text into a formal journal publication. The crux of either argument tends to be that the presenter has shared information in one form, but that any sharing of that information beyond that context without the presenter’s express permission infringes upon intellectual property rights and/or future publication possibilities.

This antiquated view of information sharing is in need of disruption. Academia, of all, should learn a thing or two about the need to stay relevant in a day and age where people learn of their news from Twitter. It really puts things in perspective when one considers that most academicians wait 8–12 months (or longer!) for a peer-review process to be complete to allow them to share their findings. Conferences have long been one of the best ways to allow for academicians to share their findings with a broader audience while waiting on the laborious and lengthy peer-review process to complete.

However, should we take it as far as to tell people to not tweet what they hear or see at a conference?

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Qualitative Research: How an Educational Project Changed the Way I Think About Research

Joanna L Drowos DO, MPH, MBA

Joanna L Drowos DO, MPH, MBA

Approximately 60 seconds into the jubilation over my acceptance to the prestigious Harvard Macy Institute Course for Educators in the Health Professions, I came to the stark realization that I would now need to develop a scholarly project at my own institution. Though somewhat daunting as a junior faculty member at a very young medical school, this presented an exciting opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience in medical education.

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