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2012 Question of the Year

Kanter, Steven L. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318240f5c7
From the Editor

Many of us who work in medical schools and teaching hospitals devote significant time to such tasks as determining whether students and residents have sufficient knowledge and skill to pass a course or rotation, whether a faculty member satisfies guidelines for promotion or tenure, or whether learners meet criteria for graduation from medical school or completion of their residency programs.

In other words, we spend a whole lot of our time worrying about minimum competence, acceptable performance, and satisfaction of requirements.

There is no question that it is critical to attend to these tasks. But do we devote enough of our time to worrying about whether or not each individual can achieve to his or her full capability, function at peak performance, and be maximally productive?

It is in this spirit that I invite responses to my 2012 Question of the Year: What are the most effective ways to ensure that those who work and learn in medical schools and teaching hospitals can develop to their full potential?

I invite responses to the 2012 Question of the Year in the form of essays with a maximum of 750 words, no more than three references, and no tables or figures (please note that accepted essays may be edited to fit on a single page of the journal). I welcome submissions about new ideas or about existing approaches that have been implemented anywhere in the world and that describe ways to ensure that faculty, residents, students, staff, and others have opportunities to realize their full potential in the academic medicine environment.

If a submission is based on an existing program, it must be more than a program description or promotional piece. Authors of such submissions may wish to explore why, and to what degree, the existing program has been effective, how it could be or should be expanded in scope, what kinds of barriers have precluded broader application, how it could evolve into a better program, what advantages have accrued to individuals and society, and especially how it advances the ability to ensure that individuals who work and learn in medical schools and teaching hospitals can realize their full potential.

A program description can be used to support an argument, illustrate an underlying principle, or illuminate a new idea, but it is the argument, principle, or idea that will be of most value to readers.

Anyone is eligible to submit an essay (i.e., one does not need to have a formal role at a medical school or teaching hospital), and an individual may be an author or coauthor of more than one essay.

The guidelines of this journal's “Complete Instructions for Authors” ( should be followed to determine eligibility for authorship. The deadline for submitting an essay is May 1, 2012. All essays must be written in English and submitted through the journal's Web-based manuscript submission system (; there is a special category on the first field of the submission form, “Article Type,” that will lead you to “Response to 2012 Question of the Year.”

The journal's professional editorial staff and editorial board will work with me to select essays to publish later this year in the journal. We will choose essays that present responses to the 2012 Question of the Year that are creative, imaginative, innovative, and feasible.

So, please share your best ideas by submitting a response to the 2012 Question of the Year.

Steven L. Kanter, MD

© 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges