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1.  Biosurveillance: A Review and Update 
Since the terrorist attacks and anthrax release in 2001, almost $32 billion has been allocated to biodefense and biosurveillance in the USA alone. Surveillance in health care refers to the continual systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data. When attempting to detect agents of bioterrorism, surveillance can occur in several ways. Syndromic surveillance occurs by monitoring clinical manifestations of certain illnesses. Laboratory surveillance occurs by looking for certain markers or laboratory data, and environmental surveillance is the process by which the ambient air or environment is continually sampled for the presence of biological agents. This paper focuses on the ways by which we detect bioterrorism agents and the effectiveness of these systems.
PMCID: PMC3254002  PMID: 22242207
2.  Advanced Topics in Emergency Medicine: Curriculum Development and Initial Evaluation 
Emergency medicine (EM) is a young specialty and only recently has a recommended medical student curriculum been developed. Currently, many schools do not require students to complete a mandatory clerkship in EM, and if one is required, it is typically an overview of the specialty.
We developed a 10-month longitudinal elective to teach subject matter and skills in EM to fourth-year medical students interested in the specialty. Our goal was producing EM residents with the knowledge and skills to excel at the onset of their residency. We hoped to prove that students participating in this rigorous 10-month longitudinal EM elective would feel well prepared for residency.
We studied the program with an end-of-the-year, Internet-based, comprehensive course evaluation completed by each participant of the first 2 years of the course. Graduates rated each of the course components by using a 5-point Likert format from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” either in terms of whether the component was beneficial to them or whether the course expectations were appropriate, or their perceptions related to the course.
Graduates of this elective have reported feeling well prepared to start residency. The resident-led teaching shifts, Advanced Pediatric Life Support certification, Grand Rounds presentations, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support proficiency testing, and ultrasound component, were found to be beneficial by all students.
Our faculty believes that participating students will be better prepared for an EM residency than those students just completing a 1-month clerkship. Our data, although limited, lead us to believe that a longitudinal, immersion-type experience assists fourth-year medical students in preparation for residency.
PMCID: PMC3236174  PMID: 22224157
3.  Feedback in the Emergency Medicine Clerkship 
Feedback is a technique used in medical education to help develop and improve clinical skills. A comprehensive review article specifically intended for the emergency medicine (EM) educator is lacking, and it is the intent of this article to provide the reader with an in-depth, up-to-date, and evidence-based review of feedback in the context of the EM clerkship.
The review article is organized in a progressive manner, beginning with the definition of feedback, the importance of feedback in medical education, the obstacles limiting the effective delivery of feedback, and the techniques to overcome these obstacles then follows. The article concludes with practical recommendations to implement feedback in the EM clerkship. To advance the literature on feedback, the concept of receiving feedback is introduced.
The published literature regarding feedback is limited but generally supportive of its importance and effectiveness. Obstacles in the way of feedback include time constraints, lack of direct observation, and fear of negative emotional responses from students. Feedback should be timely, expected, focused, based on first-hand data, and limited to behaviors that are remediable. Faculty development and course structure can improve feedback in the EM clerkship. Teaching students to receive feedback is a novel educational technique that can improve the feedback process.
Feedback is an important educational technique necessary to improve clinical skills. Feedback can be delivered effectively in the EM clerkship.
PMCID: PMC3236163  PMID: 22224156
4.  Medical Student Professionalism Narratives: A Thematic Analysis and Interdisciplinary Comparative Investigation 
Professionalism development is influenced by the informal and hidden curriculum. The primary objective of this study was to better understand this experiential learning in the setting of the Emergency Department (ED). Secondarily, the study aimed to explore differences in the informal curriculum between Emergency Medicine (EM) and Internal Medicine (IM) clerkships.
A thematic analysis was conducted on 377 professionalism narratives from medical students completing a required EM clerkship from July 2008 through May 2010. The narratives were analyzed using established thematic categories from prior research as well as basic descriptive characteristics. Chi-square analysis was used to compare the frequency of thematic categories to prior research in IM. Finally, emerging themes not fully appreciated in the established thematic categories were created using grounded theory.
Observations involving interactions between attending physician and patient were most abundant. The narratives were coded as positive 198 times, negative 128 times, and hybrid 37 times. The two most abundant narrative themes involved manifesting respect (36.9%) and spending time (23.7%). Both of these themes were statistically more likely to be noted by students on EM clerkships compared to IM clerkships. Finally, one new theme regarding cynicism emerged during analysis.
This analysis describes an informal curriculum that is diverse in themes. Student narratives suggest their clinical experiences to be influential on professionalism development. Medical students focus on different aspects of professionalism depending on clerkship specialty.
PMCID: PMC3166891  PMID: 21838887

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