Our Vice Principal for Education and Research, Professor Michele Russell, has been developing our academic community out in the United States by attending the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (17-20th August 2015).
She was invited as an industry and academic expert in emergency medicine and clinical education and provided a UK perspective on a range of clinical and education topics. Her own clinical background and research interests are in myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and cardiac arrest, particularly in training and simulation of the management of patients with critical heart conditions.
She also has an interest in the prevention of haemorrhage (severe bleeding) and concentrated her conference attendance at sessions in these areas. Particularly interesting were the exhibits and training sessions with the high fidelity simulation mannequins of traumatic blast wounds. Michele was one of the highest rated clinicians in the simulation exercises at the conference–all her patients lived!
As part of her responsibilities at Pearson College London, (PCL) Michele is developing programmes in and metrics for academic staff development in research and scholarly activity. Therefore the symposium on medical education and careers entitled ‘GME Research: Moving Beyond a Sisyphean Task to Success’ was a major focus of her interest and input to order to glean insight into how the military develops its doctors, nurses and medics to become plausible academics; learn from best practice and share her experiences of developing career frameworks in teaching, learning and scholarly activity in the UK.
San Diego's experience with reforming and improving the research development processes was an interesting presentation. The presentation focused on ring-fencing funding specifically to enable clinicians to undertake clinical of pedagogic research; they were struggling to get staff to complete projects and generating output from the completed work was even more problematic, that is they weren’t attempting to publish. Michele led a discussion on methods to support this process, including research associates to draft papers from research data collected to develop the clinicians writing confidence and engender collaborative publishing.
San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium talked about their experience with enhancing scholarship (Scholarship in Action) by creating fairly rigid performance metrics similar to those in universities in the US (and here in the UK also).
They were requiring their doctors to:
1. Have three publications in three years in PubMed journals (peer reviewed);
2. Engage in academic research by having 2 active research protocols
3. Demonstrate academic leadership for example, sitting on a National Committee, educational board member or conference leader
4. Gain academic rank in a university (such as assistant or associate professor
5. Engage in military relevant scholarship including extra-mural presentations such as at this conference;
However they were struggling with wide implementation of the above metrics due to a combination of lack of enforcement (nothing happened if they didn’t engage) and the lack of provision of staff development to support and enable colleagues to reach these measures. Michele provided examples of collegiate research clusters, the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) laid down by the Higher Education Academy, examples of which she has been instrumental in designing, implementing and evaluating in several UK universities. She led a seminar on ‘How can I help you with your research?’ and suggested the need for faculty accountability - team rather than individual effort. This can be achieved by creating opportunity for clinicians to do bite size contributions for example doing small parts of the data collection and analysis or writing up, generally encouraging scholarly activity (actively using research in clinical teaching and practice) and opportunities for scholarship, like writing articles, blogs, conference attendance to present work and other extra mural academic work.
Professor Russell has made some excellent connections in the military community, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), US universities and companies supplying the military and hopes to develop links with them and Pearson College London.