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Letters to the Editor

In Reply to Chow et al

Chan, Teresa M. HBSc, BEd, MD, FRCPC, MHPE; Purdy, Eve BHSc, MD, MSc; Thoma, Brent MD, MA, MSc, FRCPC

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003168
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We thank Dr. Chow and colleagues for taking interest in our Innovation Report and having ambition to extend our coached peer review technique beyond medical students. Indeed, it is important that we form communities of practice1,2 around early career faculty members looking to up their academic scholarship game.

As Dr. Chow and colleagues point out, early career academic clinicians are often asked to perform academic duties beyond their training. Some opt to pursue graduate studies early in their careers,3 but there is no guarantee that these programs will teach them the academic skills they need to thrive. As grants become scarce and publication pressures mount, it is increasingly hard for early career academics to be successful.

We agree that opening peer review to become the formative, coaching process we describe may be part of the solution. Similarly, innovations, like group peer review processes,4 can also help those acquiring skills in reviewing articles, providing them with mentors who offer insights into the mysteries of peer review. Another way for early career academics to gain skills is to become apprentices or partake in high-level faculty development communities. Programs like the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine faculty incubator program,5 Harvard Macy’s educators course,6 or the CanadiEM digital scholars fellowship7 are other possible ways for individuals to acquire and develop their skills.

Lastly, perhaps institutions should completely reexamine their promotions processes. Not every clinician–teacher needs to be a great researcher. The time and energy it takes to engage uninterested early career faculty in the art of academic scholarship may be better spent changing the hearts and minds (and policies) of our institutions to acknowledge the modern medical school’s diverse forms of scholarship. Advocacy, community service, leadership, and high-quality teaching are some of the ways great clinician–teachers contribute. Perhaps instead of asking everyone to play by the same rules, we could instead acknowledge that our talents vary, and through structural reform celebrate, invest, and reward this diversity accordingly.3

Teresa M. Chan, HBSc, BEd, MD, FRCPC, MHPE
Associate professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, and assistant dean, Program for Faculty Development, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada;; ORCID:

Eve Purdy, BHSc, MD, MSc
Resident physician, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Emergency Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Brent Thoma, MD, MA, MSc, FRCPC
Associate professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; ORCID:


1. Lave J, Wenger EC. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. 1991.First. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
2. Yarris LM, Chan TM, Gottlieb M, Juve AM. Finding your people in the digital age: Virtual communities of practice to promote education scholarship. J Grad Med Educ. 2019;11:1–5.
3. Chan TM, Kuehl DR. On lampposts, sneetches, and stars: A call to go beyond bibliometrics for determining academic value. Acad Emerg Med. 2019;26:1–7.
4. Yarris LM, Simpson D, Ilgen JS, Chan TM. Team-based coaching approach to peer review: Sharing service and scholarship. J Grad Med Educ. 2017;9:127–128.
5. 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.
6. Friedrich MJ. Harvard Macy Institute helps physicians become better educators and change agents. JAMA. 2002;287:3197–3199.
7. Ting DK, Thoma B, Luckett-Gatopoulos S, et al. CanadiEM: Accessing a virtual community of practice to create a Canadian national medical education institution. AEM Educ Train. 2019;3:86–91.
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