Emergency Medicine Research Day consists of thought provoking research presentations covering subject matter spanning a wide variety of topics including education, clinical, and basic research. The presentations by Emergency Medicine faculty and resident physicians are patterned after national research meetings in which a 10-minute slide presentation is followed by five minutes of questions from the audience.
There are many misperceptions about research and science. For example, a character in the Woody Allen movie Sleeper proclaimed, “I don’t believe in science... [it’s] an intellectual dead-end. It’s a lot of little guys in tweed suits cutting up frogs on foundation grants”. Part of the educational mission at Indiana University School of Medicine, Methodist Hospital, and Indiana University Health is to clear up these types of misconceptions and instill research skills and scientific methods as tools for life-long learning.
We believe there are many reasons why research is important to clinicians and clinicians-in-training. Theses include:
Identifying future researchers
We recognize that most physicians in training will not become academic researchers. Nevertheless, an important aspect of our education mission is to identify, nurture and mentor those who have the interest, motivation and alacrity to become career researchers.
The major way physicians continue to learn after their residency training is by reading original research articles and collective reviews. One of the goals of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program is to teach critical analysis of medical literature and the tenets of Evidence-Based Medicine. We also strongly believe that graduating residents should have a basic understanding of research fundamentals to guide them in analyzing the validity of journal articles and reviews. An excellent way for residents to learn to pitfalls and errors inherent in medical research and publication is to participate in the design and conduct of a project. By presenting their project to an assemblage of peers, the resident will then have marshaled a project through all its stages.
Fostering creativity, innovation and curiosity
Research is a creative process of defining a question and designing methods to arrive at a valid answer. Creativity is breaking out of one pattern of thinking to create a new one. Nurturing creativity teaches us to go beyond the first right answer and to innovate.
Developing Tools for Healthy skepticism
We live in a world where anecdote, belief, pseudoscience and superstition still guide many decisions. Carl Sagan noted that science serves as a “baloney detector,” separating the valid and true from the invalid and false. By not accepting things at face value, physicians commit to continued intellectual growth and excellence. Research thus serves not only as a means of physician education but also as a catalyst for growth of Emergency Medicine as a specialty and Medicine as a profession.
Improving patient care and global health
Most importantly, research allows us to constantly challenge the status quo and ask, “Is there a better way of caring for our patients?” One of the goals of our education and research programs is to teach physicians how to use research to guide clinical practice. Indiana University School of Medicine has been one of the leading Emergency Medicine programs in teaching and publishing the principles of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM). Succinctly stated, EBM is a skill set to search for, critically appraise (for validity and usefulness), and translate the rapidly growing body of research into front-line patient care. It emphasizes using rather than doing research.
To help meet these goals the Emergency Medicine program dedicates one entire day each year so that residents, faculty, nurses, and students may bask in the glory that is research.
The Brief History of Research Day
Medicine Research Day was inaugurated April 28, 1988 with Stephen J Jay, MD, then Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Methodist, serving as the first Guest Faculty. For the past 12 years, we have followed the tradition of inviting the President-elect of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) to serve as Guest Faculty. SAEM is the most prestigious research and academic organization for the specialty of Emergency Medicine. Emergency Medicine Research Day is a refereed forum for presentation of research projects by Emergency Medicine faculty physicians, resident physicians, and nurses. Research Day is patterned after national research meetings where a 10 minute slide presentation is followed by 5 minutes of questions from the audience.