Getting Medical Education Work Published

So You DID It, Now What? – Getting Your Medical Educational Work Published

By Dr. Corey Heitz
Director, Undergraduate Medical Education
Carilion Clinic Department of Emergency Medicine
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
Roanoke, VA
Twitter: @CHeitzMD

Conflicts: Dr. Heitz is the associate editor for Emergency Medicine Simulation for the AAMC MedEdPORTAL.

 What is scholarship? 

In 1990, Ernest Boyer proposed that the traditional definition of scholarship be modified. Scholarship generally referred to scholarship of discovery, that is, research. He proposed the following:

Scholarship of integration – the synthesis of information across disciplines, time, or topics.

Scholarship of application (or engagement) – the expansion of a faculty’s skills and knowledge to areas outside the university (such as into the community)

Scholarship of teaching and learning – this differs from scholarly teaching in that it requires the dissemination and availability for public evaluation and review.

So what is educational scholarship? In short, educational scholarship is the process by which your efforts as a teacher are modified, shared, critiqued, and used to influence the wider educational world.

Why is educational scholarship important?

Moving beyond day to day teaching, turning your work into true educational scholarship can help others improve the way they teach (by sharing expert methods that have been tested and possibly peer reviewed), improve the quality of what students learn (by sharing curricular materials and other deliverables), to impact clinical care and outcomes, to impart a sense of the importance of learning to our academic centers, our communities, and future generations of educators and learners.

That’s all well and good…how do I make my educational work scholarly?

Whether you choose to publish your education work in its entirety on the AAMC MedEdPORTAL and receive full peer-reviewed, or disseminate it freely through the internet in the form of a blog, podcast, etc, or if you decide to publish an education innovation in a journal or conference abstract, the same general criteria must be met. Ask yourself the two following questions as you decide if you are ready to move from “I taught” to “I created scholarly work”

Did I undertake appropriate instructional design? Most reviewers of educational work will be looking at the background information and needs assessment – how did you know what to teach?; the objectives – are they specific and measureable?; the curricular methods – are they complete and reproducible?; and the measurements of effectiveness – did you show that your objectives were met?

Did I reflect on my work, improve it, and have I measured or at minimum discussed effectiveness and responses to feedback? To create educational scholarship, you must show that you planned in advance to measure your effectiveness in an appropriate way, that you have obtained learner feedback, and that you have reflected on your work and have planned for improvements in future iterations.

See Sherbino J, Education Scholarship and its Impact on Emergency Medicine Education. West J Emerg Med. 2015 Nov; 16(6): 804–809. for a detailed list of criteria.

Scholarship does not have to be research

However, there are similar features. Good educational scholarship is planned in advance, uses reproducible, generalizable methodology, and can show results. “I gave a good lecture/workshop” does not make that lecture or workshop scholarship. What was the instructional design that went into the planning? What novel or innovative methodologies did you use (or what novel information was shared?) How was effectiveness measured? What went well and what needs to be changed in the future?

Ok…did all that. Where can I put it?

Many journals publish educational innovations or curricular articles. The benefit to this is it reads much more like a research article or curricular description, and you do not need to provide an exhaustive list of materials, curricular details, etc. (see below, MedEdPORTAL) Some journals to consider:

Teaching and Learning in Medicine

Medical Teacher

Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine

Academic Emergency Medicine Education and Teaching (AEM E&T)

Simulation in Healthcare

For full curricular publication, consider the AAMC MedEdPORTAL or MERLOT. These sites require the entire curriculum, in detail. MedEdPORTAL submissions undergo standard peer review, receive a citation, and will soon be indexed on PubMed.

In summary, turning your education efforts into scholarship is not difficult. Remember to use instructional design principles, start with clear goals, perform a needs assessment, and gather and provide reflective critique and measurements of effectiveness and you’re well on your way to publication!

For further reading see:

Boyer EL. Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for the Professoriate  1990; The Carnegie Foundation the Advancement ofvTeaching: Princeton, NJ.

Glassick CE, Huber MR, Maeroff GI. Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate . 1997; San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sherbino J, Education Scholarship and its Impact on Emergency Medicine Education. West J Emerg Med. 2015 Nov; 16(6): 804–809

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