The EMBER Project

Hey, can I get a  jazz riff — New York style please?

Music everywhere 🗽🎁🎉😎🎺🎷🎺🎶 #music #busking #NYC #rtrain

A video posted by Jonathan St. George (@jstgeorge) on

I’m excited to announce that “The Protected Airway Course” now has a home, and the first of the teaching modules are coming online. Our annual Airway & Difficult Procedure Course lasts only two days (and is only available for our EM residents, critical care and PEM fellows) but this learning is 100% FOAM certified, farm to table fresh. And it’s available anytime!

In the coming months we will be translating airway knowledge from our experts around the EM and critical care world and posting it here for you to enjoy. We’re hard at work creating engaging, innovative, interactive tools to teach key topics in airway management that will augment the course and allow for self-paced learning. In each module you will find learner focused tools designed to make the content stick such as:

  • A self assessment quiz to get you started, and make your studying more focused.
  • Bundled multi-media learning tools covering all aspects of the topic.
  • Strategically placed bite sized notes, video clips, and slides to drive home and highlight core concepts.
  • A quick “Summary in 5” podcast from our knowledge leaders for a quick review on the subway home.
  • Guest posts and interviews with our airway experts from around the city, the country, and the world.
  • Some surprising and entertaining bonus airway goodness (I don’t want to spoil it, you’ll just have to check it out).

This month our flagship module is the emergent cricothyroidotomy. This procedure presents many educational challenges: It’s high stakes, low-frequency and performed in the stressful failed airway situation. If you don’t think about it, prepare for it, or feel confident doing it, you will fail to perform this lifesaving maneuver in a timely manner. The goal of this module is to get you on the path to learning not just the procedure but all the tangible and intangible skills required to master the failed airway scenario.

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But wait, that’s not all!  Since airway education should be all year long, and come in all shapes and sizes, we have several new resources for you to get airway pearls straight to your mobile devices.

  • Flipboard magazine to collect all the latest posts and curated airway content in one place.
  • A new “Airway Tools to Live By” page demonstrating new airway tools as we test them.
  • You can follow along on the Airway Tools page or directly on our Instagram account.

A Mac blade for the Glidescope. Cool #airway #nypem

A photo posted by Jonathan StGeorge MD (@emberproject) on

The next module should be out next month but we’re understaffed, overworked, and underpaid so be patient as we bring new content to you at regular intervals. :)

In the meantime. May the airway be ever in your favor!

Some of you may have noticed that The EMBER Project’s site has a new look. Don’t worry the blog is still here (you can find it on the sliding menu above) but we are prepping for some exciting new changes, including a complete set of innovative teaching modules designed to complement our airway course, a podcast, as well as several other new features that required a more robust platform.

Most of the new pages are not ready for use but feel free to look around, we’ll let you know when the new content starts coming online.

Design Challenge Innovators

Yesterday was our EM Innovation in Education Design challenge.  We had participants from our faculty and residents, and also some really talented medical students on their sub-internship with us.  After a presentation on 21st century concepts of learning and teaching, and a brief workshop on some new tools the teams let loose and had just a few hours to design and create.

Along the way we discovered many hidden talents and I was amazed at the skill level. The day was fun, energetic, creative, entertaining and educational.  Thanks to all the participants.

I think my favorite of the day was the ‘six second” design challenge using Vine. This series of making tools from everyday ED supplies was one of my favorites. Congratulations and thanks to  Frank FerraioliMichael SpignerRyan O’Halloran, and Thomas Yang the design team responsible for creating these.

“Where there is interest there is learning”

The EMBER Project’s Design Challenge is on!  We want to bridge the education gap, move beyond just a few adopters of FOAM, and encourage physician educators of all levels to integrate key concepts of 21st century learning into their tool box.

So we will be challenging our residents and faculty to throw away their Powerpoint slides, learn about new tools, and create core EM content that best embodies the spirit of teaching for 21st century learners. The design challenge has already begun and will culminate in an eight-hour workshop to help you develop and complete your ideas. The deadline for posting submissions on Google+ is 3pm August 19th. A panel will select the best examples of innovative EM FOAM content and highlight them on our blog.

Ahead of the day I’ve been curating many original and inspirational examples of EM FOAM content and the tools used to build them here on Flipboard (two of them are used in this post). For more on what this is all about listen to the podcast link below and check out the rules here.

Sorry this is only open to our residents and faculty, but the winners of the challenge will have their work and ideas highlighted here, so I’m looking forward to presenting some great EM FOAM content next week. If your one of our residents or faculty don’t forget to RSVP at the Google Event link so we can make sure there is enough food for everyone.


Zen Airway and Poetry Inspired by Haiku Deck

There are many reasons to love Haiku Deck. For educators it’s an easy way to free your knowledge from the Powerpoint prison on your hard drive, but it also challenges you to get to the point and hone your educational pearls into shiny drops of educational poetry.  So here is my latest Haiku Deck, part of a series for our airway course teaching modules. I was so inspired I wrote a Haiku to start things off.

The Airway is hard

How sweet the Grade One view is!

Tips for you there are


Oh, I don’t have any money invested in Haiku Deck (wish I did). I just really like it.

A new series is here on the EMBER Project and a new educational tool. Check out the post below for both! And don’t forget to take the quiz when you’re done.

One of the toughest challenges in medical education is identifying and articulating the intangible skill set that is essential to every practicing physician.

A key skill required for working in a busy Emergency Department is the ability to rapidly assess whether or not the patient in front of you is sick. Is it the elderly patient with an acute change in mental status or the chest pain patient with diaphoresis? We are required countless times a day to hone in rapidly on the potentially sick patient based on a panoply of subtle and often intangible cues. Over time we become so good at it that a patient who simply has “that look” rolling by on a gurney is often all that is required to get us running to the bedside (that’s a figure of speech, no running please, it makes us EPs nervous).

We also ask residents to learn the “sick or not sick” skill. In the ACGME educational milestones it is a cornerstone of competency. But do we really teach this skill or is it another one of those intangibles that we imagine only trial and error and experience will provide? I often ask talented colleagues how they make the call of sick or not sick and find they have trouble articulating what goes into their almost instantaneous decision-making process.

The “Sick or Not Sick” series is a set of posts designed to elucidate what goes into honing this key skill. To help those learning it bypass some of the trial and error, and make tangible those things that experienced EPs do on a daily basis without articulating it.  I’ve decided to go in reverse order so the first one of three is really the last one “surviving discharge”

Culled from a recent qualitative analysis of patients who died within seven days of discharge from the ED, the moment of discharge is often a final opportunity to “get it right”. Many of the identified risk factors will be familiar to experienced physicians; some may be new and warrant integration into your practice. Either way, in a world of hospital overcrowding, inpatient service pushback on admissions, and pressures to make patients happy in the face of long delays its nice to have some evidence supporting what you already know is right.


Qualitative Factors in Patients Who Die Shortly After Emergency Department Discharge

New Educational Tools

Haiku Deck.  Make your knowledge more accessible, more visual, and more learner focused.  I’m a fan, and this platform will be highlighted at our upcoming Innovation in Education Theme Day  at NYPEM

The EMBER Project is having a good day. Despite the cold and snow on our first day of spring, it’s also the first of what I hope will be many new broadcasts using the Google+ platform.  I’m excited about the potential of adapting this tool for medical education. In an era of specialty care, disease entities intersect with multiple disciplines, and optimal care often requires a collaborative approach.

Venous Thromboembolism is one of those diseases that crosses most specialty boundaries. I was lucky enough to get Dr Akhilesh Sista to talk about the changing paradigm of VTE management, and to answer my questions about novel oral anticoagulants, endovascular interventions for post-thrombotic syndrome, and who needs a hematology referral. There are lots of great pearls in this talk. You can view it from the Youtube link above or here on the Event page which will give you the show note links to other great bundled educational material.

The EMBER Project reflects my interest in technology’s ability to enhance the culture of learning and expand our conception of a community of medical educators. Blogs, podcasts, and other social media platforms continue to break down traditional institutional and geographic boundaries, and Google broadcast is another tool that’s especially suited for multi-disciplinary discussions on common disease entities when a team-based approach that does away with traditional specialty care boundaries just makes sense. I’m optimistic we are working towards a time when there is no “upstairs care” or “downstairs care” only good care everywhere.

I hope you enjoy this first broadcast. Please forgive any technical flaws as I work out some of the kinks. Thanks again to Dr. Sista for being such a good sport!

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