Month: October 2013

Peer Mentoring Program at Stony Brook Internal Medicine

I posted this at our internal medicine blog site last week.
Thought I would share it here as well 🙂

Stony Brook Internal Medicine Residency Blog

Stony Brook Internal Medicine Peer Mentoring Program

So this afternoon, I get the distinct pleasure of being part of a new project here at Stony Brook Internal Medicine.
Under the direction of our wonderful associate Program director Dr. Rachel Wong, we have started a peer mentoring program in our residency program. Along with one of our chief resident’s Dr. Ali Sheikh, this afternoon we will continue this very cool project.
Mentoring is a broad concept, and everyone has different ideas about it. Today’s workshop will go into some very specific elements of mentoring such as “Mission Statements”, “Personal Networking Maps” ” Peer Check-ins, ” and more.
As a physician and especially as a young trainee, I may walk into this asking, what is this really about? Is this useful? It’s not about diseases, it’s not about evidence based medicines, it’s not about diagnostic tests or the latest drug developments, it’s not about patient care.  So what’s the point of committing 3 hours of potentially valuable resident time to such a project?
Well, when I take a step back and look at this, the program to me is about 1 thing.

It’s about going from Good to Great.

I have 100% confidence that everyone in our residency programs are and will continue to be very good physicians. Years of commitment to studying, testing, practicing, committing to long hours in residency have established this baseline of being “Good.”
But how do you get to Great? There really isn’t a defined road map for this. Taking the next step towards a bigger goal, requires guidance and tools that we’re rarely taught in medical school and residency. Mentoring, and more specifically Peer mentoring, can be one of those tools that helps all of us take that next step towards greatness.
In this era where our healthcare system and the world at large is struggling on many fronts, it’s simply not enough to be good. Good maintains the status quo. Great makes a difference.
I challenge everyone reading this and everyone in our residency program to utilize whatever tools you have at your arsenal (including this mentoring program) to make a commitment to exceed your own expectations  and set forth on a journey to achieve great things in your professional and personal lives.
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

The Fall AAIM 2013 Experience

I’ve a had a couple of weeks to digest my first experience at AAIM/APDIM , in New Orleans.
Here’s just a few thoughts.

First of all, I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to go. One of the best things about working in academia is the variety of things you get to participate in. Patient Care and Medical Education are at the heart of what I do. Attending conferences is a terrific bonus!

A quick note on New Orleans. This was my first time there. New Orleans is a wonderful city, steeped in history and culture. It has it’s own vibe, it’s own aroma, it’s own ambiance, different from most other cities. I was physically in the USA, but it felt like I was somewhere wonderfully different. And then you juxtapose present day New Orleans to everything related to Hurricane Katrina. You can’t help but marvel at the resilience of the people who call Louisiana home. Granted, I didn’t have time to step into the more rural regions that are probably still suffering from the after effects. But it’s safe to say,  New Orleans is back.

Some global thoughts on the AAIM (Alliance Academic Internal Medicine) conference itself.
You always go to conferences knowing you’re in a room full of people interested in the same things. It’s a great feeling. When I went to ACP in San Francisco, I knew everyone cared about Internal Medicine. I’m sure at sub-specialty conferences, people really care about their specific diseases or systems.
What’s unique about AAIM is that you’re in a place with hundreds of people who not only care about Internal Medicine, but they care about making people within Internal Medicine, better. It’s about educators who are making sacrifices for a lifelong commitment towards making better doctors. It’s not about the newest treatment modalities, it’s not about the newest diagnostic tests, it’s not about emerging diseases, it’s not about healthcare policy. It’s about educators who take on the daunting task of making the people around them reach their maximum potential. I think this gives the conference a very unique flavor.

I also had the pleasure of attending AAIM 2013 with several key educators from Stony Brook Internal Medicine. What a great group of people! They are just as much fun outside of work, as they are during business hours 🙂

I attended several talks and workshops throughout the few days.
Some of the themes I came away with are as follows:

1: Leadership skills are critical for personal career advancement and making positives things happen at your institution. I had an opportunity to sit down 1 to 1 with a Dean of a medical school and pick their brain. How cool is that?
2: There’s tons of research going on, looking at novel approaches on how to maximize the education of our medical students and residents in Internal Medicine
3: There are some spectacular physicians out there receiving lifetime achievement recognitions for helping people those with the greatest need
4: Milestones are a challenging concept which we need to embrace to ensure future generators of doctors achieve proper benchmarks for successful clinical practice.
5: Lot’s of interesting remediation, and coaching options out there for program directors to help their trainees reach their potentials
6: The psychology of learning is critical for educators to appreciate, understand and actively apply in their programs
7: Adaptability is a critical trait for program directors to ensure their program continues to thrive
8:  There are many novel approaches to improving medical education utilizing technology (my favorite part of the conference)

Finally, There was the networking. I met many educators with similar interests.The atmosphere is very collaborative and I can’t to work with some of my new friends in academia.

A quick shout out the @AAIMonline social media participants. Twitter was a huge part of the conference for me personally. I really enjoyed tweeting and reading other people’s tweets about the event. The official hash-tag was #aimw13. Social media made this an even more fun and interactive experience.

Next stop Nashville TN for the Spring Meeting!