To the Editor:
As a pediatric anesthesiologist working in a large academic medical center struggling to “make the leap” to medical educator,1 I was encouraged by the faculty development endeavor described recently by Chan and colleagues.2 Nevertheless, I strongly believe that an even broader organized effort to grow and encourage communities of clinician–educators is needed to solve the problems presented in their article.
The authors describe a sense of disconnection that many clinician–educators may feel due to lacking a community of practice (CoP). Inadequate support of medical education scholarship is undeniably problematic, particularly when it comes to promotion. Opportunities for lifelong learning and mentorship must be coupled with more robust support within the culture of medicine for those who are interested in developing expertise as teachers, mentors, and scholars if programs like the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine project are to be truly successful.
Perhaps early and explicit support of the professional identity formation process should be combined with promotion within the culture of academic medicine for the roles of teacher, mentor, and educational scholar.1 These changes could complement faculty development opportunities, such as the Faculty Incubator online curriculum, by encouraging broader commitment to medical education and thereby inherently enriching CoPs.
Successful retention of teaching staff is a commonly recognized challenge for most medical schools.3 In one study, 42% of medical school faculty expressed a serious intent to leave.1 Clearly, the problems presented by Chan and colleagues need to be addressed. I believe this requires change in the teaching environment to complement current faculty development efforts and the individual commitment that many of us already have.
Adria Boucharel, MD
Assistant professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado; [email protected]
1. Browne J, Webb K, Bullock A. Making the leap to medical education: A qualitative study of medical educators’ experiences. Med Educ. 2018;52:216–226.
2. Chan TM, Gottlieb M, Sherbino J, et al. The ALiEM Faculty Incubator: A novel online approach to faculty development in education scholarship. Acad Med. 2018;93:1497–1502.
3. van den Berg BA, Bakker AB, ten Cate TJ. Key factors in work engagement and job motivation of teaching faculty at a university medical centre. Perspect Med Educ. 2013;2:264–275.