Global Superstars

By Michael A. Gisondi (@MikeGisondi)

It’s 6:05am BST (9/2/23) and I just boarded a train back to Glasgow, after a few days of post-conference sightseeing in Edinburgh. I’m flying to Heathrow later this morning then 5,351 miles home to San Francisco. I spent the last week in Scotland to attend AMEE, the annual meeting of the Association for Medical Educators in Europe. This was only my second AMEE conference, having last attended pre-pandemic in Vienna in 2019. I’ve been looking forward to returning ever since.

The theme of AMEE Glasgow 2023 was Inclusive Learning Environments to Transform the Future. An opening keynote address provided attendees with a shared understanding of inclusive learning, which set the stage for several days of important presentations on anti-racism, LGBTQ+ health, and cultural sensitivity in our classrooms. Several other themes dominated the conference program, such as competency-based medical education, assessment, and educational technologies.

As I reflect on my time in Scotland, my mind wanders back to fascinating round table discussions during the workshops, catching up with old friends over coffee in the exhibit hall, and the energy of being surrounded by thousands of medical educators from all corners of the world. AMEE convenes diverse attendees, but they share many similar challenges, interests, and goals in common. It’s the people who make the meeting rich; the symposia, research presentations, and lectures are simply their stages.

Global superstars, indeed.

Of course, the prolific investigators were there… the highly-cited, thought leaders in medical education research. The celebrities, if you will. No need to call them out by name, they know who they are. Their sessions were all well-attended and worth the crowds. As always, I learned a lot from them. No autographs though.

More inspiring, however, were the students (sorry celebrities!) Graduate students, doctoral candidates, registrars, residents, fellows, and a brigade of medical student volunteers in branded T-shirts… they attended some of the best sessions, asked the provocative questions, and provided their real-world accounts of the messy clinical learning environments we faculty want to clean up. AMEE demonstrated that the field of medical education is attracting creative, inquisitive young minds – our future is bright.

Global superstars, the lot of them.

I must give a Best in Show, and that goes to the hosts of the new PAPERs Podcast (the same team who formerly hosted KeyLIME.) I enjoyed a live recording of two PAPERs episodes, and I even scored a seat in the otherwise standing room-only audience. Recent publications were reviewed, jokes were told, and much was learned. Even Jon was funny. Maybe next year they should join The Fringe? Best line was from Lara Varpio, who challenged the notion of return on investment in medical education when she asked, “What is the value of an hour spent mentoring a trainee, ensuring they understand a single concept?” Preach. Big hat tip to Karolinska Institutet for sponsoring the new podcast, another smart decision by some wise administrator there… well-played. You can download PAPERs (Professionals & Academics Parsing Educational Research) wherever you usually find your podcasts, they claim.

Don’t get the wrong idea, not everything about this trip was perfect. I was met with canceled flights, an unexpected day of my life spent in Heathrow, rerouting to a city that in fact wasn’t hosting AMEE, and lost luggage. Some conference sessions were oversubscribed and the title slides of a few workshops didn’t come close to matching what was listed in the program. But, aye, nae bother! By the tone of this post, it’s clear the little hiccups were just that. I truly enjoyed this Scottish adventure. My gratitude to the conference planning team and AMEE leadership, as well as the dozens of colorful and hospitable Scots I encountered throughout my travels.

Finally, a special thank you to my fearless research team for a job well done. My mates and I put on a wee workshop that was brilliant. Global superstars, they are. Follow them to the ends of the Earth, I would. I’ll tell you all about it in a future post, perhaps. For now, the secrets remain between us and our dear workshop participants.

Do you have a favorite take-away from AMEE Glasgow 2023? Leave a comment below to share your lessons learned.

AMEE is in Basel, Switzerland in 2024. See you there.


About the Author: Michael A. Gisondi, MD is an emergency physician and medical education researcher living in Palo Alto, California. He is Professor and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Dean for Academic Advising at Stanford School of Medicine. X: @MikeGisondi, Threads: @mikegisond

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