A Day in the Life of a CE: Eric Warm


Eric Warm
Richard W. Vilter professor of medicine, University of Cincinnati Vice Chair graduate medical Education, University of Cincinnati Program director, Internal Medicine residency program, University of Cincinnati

Eric Warm M.D. is the Richard W. Vilter professor of medicine, vice chair for graduate medical education, and internal medicine residency program director at the University of Cincinnati. He completed his internal medicine training and chief residency at the same institution in 1997 and has been on staff there ever since. Dr Warm has been privileged to care for patients in the same practice for thirty consecutive years. “Two of my partners have been here 4 years longer than me,” he says which is a remarkable streak of continuity. Our practice has welcomed three newer partners who are all graduates of our residency program.” Collectively, Dr Warm and his team serve the community where the university is based, and also mentor and guide residents in their journey towards becoming skilled healthcare providers.

The Editor in Chief

Dr. Warm, considered himself to be extremely fortunate to hold the role of EiC of the Ice Blog, which he feels has become one of the most visible medical educational blogs in the world. “We’ve had hundreds of thousands of visitors from dozens of countries, with well over a million page views. The top ten countries by readership are the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, India, Netherlands, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Sweden, but the blog reached many dozens more.” In addition, he considers it to be an invaluable source of learning for both himself and others.  “The contributors, with their wealth of knowledge and expertise, have guided me through the intricacies of educational theory, frontline implementation, and everything in between.” He continued, saying that “the writers’ scholarship and thoughtfulness have been extraordinary, providing a remarkable depth of insights for the blog.”

Diversity fit for a “Classic Generalist”

Dr Warm describes himself as “a true classic generalist, both in my approach to medicine and in the realm of education. Each day brings a unique set of circumstances, and although I am not always prepared for the unexpected, I’ve learned to expect it.”  “Generalism” for him emphasizes the importance of having a broad knowledge base and being adaptable in various fields or disciplines. It celebrates the ability to connect dots, see the bigger picture, and apply interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving.   As the program director for a large internal medicine residency program and the vice chair of education for the department of medicine, a large portion of his time (~60%) is taken up by his research, administration, and leadership work. Dr Warm also actively oversees the resident ambulatory practice, which he estimates as occupying ~10% of his time. This leaves him with ~30% of his schedule, which he devotes to his clinical practice, where he engages directly with patients.   When asked if he found it difficult to deal with the diversity of his professional life, Dr. Warm responded, “I don’t know if difficult is the right word as I’ve chosen this life, but there are challenges.” The best ways he knows how to manage these are to:

  • Build a talented team around you (see photo)
  • Embrace the Medici Effect, which involves  the contribution of disruptive innovation from people with little or no experience in an industry or specific professional domain
  • Learn to see failure as opportunity.
  • Have a respect for the Unknown Area of the Johari Window
  • Try as much as possible to have all of the entities he is involved to pull in the same direction. “For example, when I’m leading a quality improvement project in the ambulatory practice, am I a teacher, an improver, a practitioner, or a scholar? If I do it right, then I’m all of those things at the same time.”


            The Medical Education Team at the University of Cincinnati

Future of the Blog

Dr. Warm wanted everyone to know that though “We have recently moved to a new platform hosted by the Center of Innovation in Medical Education (cIMED) at the University of Ottawa, and you can expect the same great content that you’ve received over the past 10 years. ”

Three tips for junior CEs

Based on his professional experience, Dr Warm was asked to share three tips he would offer junior colleagues aspiring to become CE’s. His first response, was that “three tips are never enough – wisdom is gained one experience at a time and collected over a lifetime.”  Below are the tips he offered:  

  1. Be patient! Give yourself grace but be active in the process. As the proverbial expression goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Therefore, be ready!
  2. Choose your best life. If you are privileged enough to make choices about your life as an educator, then make the ones that bring you happiness and fulfillment. What is your mission statement? What are you bringing to the world? Does this bring you joy? If not, how can you get in a position to do that? How can you help others do the same?
  3. In the end, it’s not about teaching, it’s about learning! Teaching without learning is just entertainment. When you are with learners, have they learned because of your time together? How do you know? This reframing will take you from simply ‘telling and talking’ to ‘educating and guiding.’
  4. Think outside the Box. Sometimes you will need to go outside the box for the answers you need – like when you provide a 4th tip in a 3-tip question.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The University of Ottawa. For more details on our site disclaimers, please see our ‘About’ page