Medical Education, Podcasts

Introducing EMRA•Cast: A Podcast by Residents, for Residents

Podcasts are nearly ubiquitous in emergency medicine. Whether it be medical content, stories from the emergency department, or the latest and greatest in EM research, it's impossible to ignore the impact that podcasts are having on the modern resident learner.

In fact, in a 2017 study of more than 300 emergency medicine residents, 88.8% listen to podcasts at least once a month, with 72.2% of listeners stating it impacts their clinical practice either "somewhat" or "very much."1 So, with the numerous podcasts already out there, WHY EMRA•Cast? What "gap" are we trying to fill?

As a junior educator and consumer of many of these products, I began to notice a few things:

  1. Residents have a tough job, and we don't talk about that enough. While all EM docs have a tough job, residency is especially difficult. Ran your first pediatric code and cried the whole way home? We did too. Get in a heated argument with a consultant? Yep. Your family/partner is upset because you're "never home?" We've been there. We hope to shed light to some of the things you're going through in a thoughtful way, and provide support where and when you need it.
  2. A resident's knowledge level often differs from that of the podcast hosts and guests. For example, I was recently listening to a clinical case on a popular podcast, and the host said, "Of course we know where you're going with this case...". I thought to myself, "...but most of us [residents and junior learners] WOULDN'T know, or would want more clarification here." While there are some podcasts tailored to the resident level of knowledge, having residents host the podcasts allows us to inherently ask those questions that "experts" wouldn't think to ask. We want to better represent the 15,000+ EMRA members out there, and for our hosts to look, talk, and think similar to you. We'll feel comfortable asking the "dumb" questions for you, in order to make you look smart on your next shift!
  3. There are a number of residents really interested in podcasting! One of the main goals of this project was not only to produce a podcast, but also to create a podcasting curriculum and mentorship opportunity for residents interested in developing this skillset. And clearly there are many; when we opened up a call for EMRA•Cast hosts, we were overwhelmed with the number of applications we received, and ultimately ended up expanding the number of spots we offered to 5 for our inaugural year. We found an early mentor in Andy Little, DO, of Doctors Hospital in Ohio, who himself had recently gone through a lot of trial and error in creating his own podcast, EM Over Easy®, and wanted to help mentor junior podcasters. So, with that, enter EMRA•Cast.

We're learning very quickly that the podcasting community is extremely tightknit, extremely humble, and extremely generous with their time. We are so excited to start releasing episodes (find them in iTunes or link to them here), and we look forward to hearing your ideas for the future of the podcast.

Get to Know Your Hosts

Isaac Agboola, MD
PGY1, Yale New Haven Medical Center
What historical person would you want to interview for a podcast if you had the chance? There are a multitude of great choices, but if I had to choose one and only one I would probably choose Barack Obama. Regardless of how you feel about him politically, I think he is a very interesting man. I would like to hear about his Kitesurfing adventures, why he doesn't like ice cream, and his thoughts on hip hop. There would also be plenty of room for questions on health care and other expected topics.

Favorite time to get work done? First thing in the morning post a gym session — when the sun is out and my mind is clear.

What's your nerdiest trait? I would consider myself a low-key nerd. I LOVE superhero shows and movies, even the bad ones. Which is probably because, I feel deep down everyone should be the hero in their own life story. I will occasionally peruse some anime and manga, but who doesn't love a little Dragon Ball Z?

Why EMRA•Cast? Why not EMRA•Cast? I think podcasting is a wave of the future. It's education and think pieces that you can listen to on the go. Outside of that my mission is to diversify the face of emergency medicine, highlighting and showcasing the diversity of our specialty for all to see.

Alexander Kaminsky, MD
PGY2, University of California – Fresno
What historical person would you want to interview for a podcast if you had the chance? So many amazing people to choose from! If I had to choose only one person, I would probably pick Leonardo Da Vinci. There is so much mystery around him. An artist who prided himself more a scientist and engineer. A dreamer of such wondrous ideas, many of which sparked or influenced future discoveries and inventions. An artist with such a deep understanding of the human form, and yet born in an era when it was unlawful to study the human body. He is the epitome of renaissance man.

Favorite time to get work done? In my sleep, so I can avoid doing it... Realistically, after a slow morning once I've had my coffee with an open day of no obligations ahead of me. Which of course as an EM resident is not a reality.

What's your nerdiest trait? I have a pretty secret and yet substantial collection of Marvel Comics.

Why EMRA•Cast? I am a huge fan and consumer or medical podcasting. My own learning style is centered around discussion and audio. Less lecture, more conversation. Listening to others conversations is a great surrogate and gets me thinking. Things stick even better when sprinkled in with a little humor. I have a personal interest in medical education but am not entirely sure if that means academia, or some other medium. I had a brief exposure to podcasting in medical school, so when the opportunity arose to join EMRA — I knew it would be an awesome fit!

Tiffany Proffitt, DO
PGY3, Lakeland Health
What historical person would you want to interview for a podcast if you had the chance? I'm always terrible at these types of questions. My gut instinct is Rosalind Franklin. I'd want to talk to her about her contribution to the discovery of the DNA double helix — did she have this 'ah-ha' moment when she captured that structure? Did she even think it was a big deal or was it just another project among her many? Did she like working on the molecular structure of viruses more or less than DNA and RNA? What words of advice or encouragement does she have for women in science and medicine today?

Favorite time to get work done? When my kids are out of the house! But preferably early morning.

What's your nerdiest trait? Right now probably my extensive knowledge of toddler songs and dance moves, but it used to be my love of rare and deadly pathogens and my dream of becoming a viral epidemiologist working in the CDC's level 4 lab.

Why EMRA•Cast? I'm passionate about medical education and making core content accessible in a fun and easy way for residents. As a mom I'm always trying to find ways to maximize my limited free moments and podcasts fit in perfectly. It also goes without saying that I'm interested in gender disparities in medicine and I want to be an uplifting voice of hope to my fellow women in medicine, especially the mama docs!

Miguel A. Reyes, MD
PGY2, Hackensack University Medical Center
What historical person would you want to interview for a podcast if you had the chance? I'd want to interview Banksy, the infamous artist. What motivates her/him, why so secretive? Why not get the fame and fortune if it's right there? So many questions.

Favorite time to get work done? As soon as I get up. I find that when I first get up I feel the most invigorated to be productive and knock things off my to-do list.

What's your nerdiest trait? I read a LOT of comics and science fiction. I also tend to collect little nerdy trinkets like superhero badge holders and pins to put on my ID.

Why EMRA•Cast? Because I wanted to get more involved in the EMRA community and I thought podcasting would be fun. I listen to a ton of podcasts and really interested in the #FOAM community and I thought this would be a fun way to get involved with that.

Jessie Werner, MD
PGY3, Brown University
What historical person would you want to interview for a podcast if you had the chance? This is a tough question! I think I'd like to interview my maternal grandmother. She grew up on a farm during the Great Depression and was the first person in her family to graduate from high school. She's not really a "historical person," but she passed away before I was old enough to ask her about her life and I'd love to know her better.

Favorite time to get work done? I never thought I'd say this, but somehow I've become a morning person. I think med school taught me to use every bit of time (because we have so little!). I'm definitely most efficient and productive just after I wake up and have that first cup of coffee. But don't get me wrong, I love to sleep in when I can.

What's your nerdiest trait? I think I have several nerdy traits, but if I had to choose just one it would probably be my obsession with the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice from 1995. I've watched that mini-series like 50 times and it never gets old. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? Swoon.

Why EMRA•Cast? I've been lucky to have an amazing faculty mentor, Gita Pensa, who introduced me to podcasting. Through her I became more interested FOAMed and was incredibly fortunate to do an elective with Jess Mason out in California. When I heard EMRA was starting a podcast I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I love being involved with EMRA and learning from some of the most accomplished physicians out there. Furthermore, I wanted to help create a podcast that speaks directly to residents and residency issues. Residency can be challenging and I hope that EMRA•Cast will provide residents with a sense of camaraderie and support.

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