Strength in numbers: a national monthly case conference series for fellows


ACE Unit and Aurora Senior Services, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Aurora at Home


Small fellowship programs face challenges in providing learners with sufficiently diverse experiences and patient populations. The Fellows Most Difficult Case Conference is designed to broaden geriatric medicine fellows' exposure to cases and to faculty and fellows from around the country through a monthly telephone conference. We describe this innovative approach to a national monthly complex case conference that fellows from almost one-third of geriatrics fellowship programs attend, including its value to geriatric fellows and faculty and administrative costs. Once per month, a fellow presents a case, a moderator leads the discussion, and 2 faculty members provide teaching points during the 60-minute session. Participants rated the conference's value using an 11-item on-line survey followed by a debriefing held during a regularly scheduled 2017 monthly conference. Thirty-six percent of eligible participants responded to the survey (67/186), with 75% of respondents reporting that they applied knowledge gained from the conferences to their patient care at least 1 or 2 times per month and 41% that they applied it at least once per week. Participants appreciated the inclusion of multiple programs, the duration of the conference, and the interactive approach. Our administration time was less than 5 hours per month, plus a few additional hours annually to create the academic year schedule. We believe that this national case conference, the first of its kind in the country, involving almost one-third of geriatrics fellowship programs, is an innovative and valuable way for fellows to explore complex cases and variations in regional perspectives and to connect with additional colleagues.

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