The EMBER Project

This throwback post takes us way way back to the late 70’s. Dr. John C. Grammar Jr was a cardiologist in Dallas. Texas. He was also apparently a very passionate educator and all around funny guy. I had never seen this video before, but someone updated it with a new soundtrack, and this morning it drove me into paroxysms of laughter (I will never look at cardiac arrhythmias the same way).

It also illustrates that learning can be fun – indeed it’s often more powerful when it’s fun. Reviewing p-values, dissecting research methodologies, rote memorization and sober lectures will always be part of medical education, but interspersed in there we should remember that being passionate about medical learning doesn’t require taking all the joy out of it.

Thanks to Dr Grammar for still teaching and entertaining us after all these years, and thanks to all the passionate medical educators who put the time and energy into projects like these for the sheer love of medicine and joy of teaching. I highly recommend you get up and dance to this one.

The Bundle

@LITFL Music, art and education in syncopated juxtaposition here

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!

All of us in Emergency Medicine have been getting an accelerated education on dealing with the adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids on our patients. K2 or Spice has become so popular in NYC it’s not uncommon for us to see a half-dozen or more of these patients a night in our ED.

One of the challenges in making the diagnosis is the variable nature of the drug’s effects: from wild agitation and psychosis to somnolence and an almost comatose state. Whether this is a dose or time related response (or just the simple fact that there are numerous compounds being sold as the same drug) knowing what’s going on with your altered mental status patient just got a little more complicated.

Our paramedics on the street are also becoming experts and learning on the job how to pick up clues that their unresponsive patient is in fact high on K2. They see it up close daily and have a lot to teach us. Thanks to Michael Paulino for sharing this clinical pearl with me today. it’s one I didn’t know about, and one I’m sure to use on my next shift.

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.  If you are using Haiku Deck to give a talk it also re-enforces the idea the slides are only for emphasis – if you’re reading of them you’ve got too much on your slides.

So here is my latest Haiku Deck, part of a teaching module for our airway course. I was so inspired I wrote a Haiku to start things off.

Airway Haiku

The Airway is hard

How sweet the Grade One view is!

Pearls for you there are


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

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