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March 8, 2016

Medical Education Theme Issue 2016: Call for Papers

JAMA. 2016;315(10):989. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1697

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

Jacques Barzun

The classic tripartite definition of the roles of a physician includes teaching, research, and patient care. While it is debatable whether the physicians in recent generations were truly triple threats, skilled in all of these areas, it is certainly more challenging if not impossible in today’s environment. Physicians are under increasing pressure to maximize clinical productivity, and researchers struggle for limited and highly competitive grants. This commonly leaves teaching as an afterthought for dedicated educators or those who also bridge all 3 worlds, particularly because unlike research and practice it does not bring substantial funds to an institution.

This is unfortunate: preparing the next generation of physicians, and maintaining and improving the skills of current clinicians, should be among the highest of priorities in order to advance individual and public health. This is more important than ever before, given the rapid changes in science and health care delivery. Improving the quality of education, and making certain that education is achieving its desired goals, is similar to the way clinical research is approached and deserves respect and recognition of its importance.

In a continuing effort to highlight and promote research in medical education, JAMA will be publishing the next theme issue in December 2016. The editors invite authors to submit manuscripts related to all aspects of the educational process. We remain primarily interested in studies that either incorporate the most relevant educational outcomes (effects on clinical practice and patient care, rather than measures of knowledge, skills, or attitudes) or address better techniques for their measure. While all study designs will be considered, preference will be given to studies that include large sample sizes and multiple study sites and are either randomized trials or well-controlled and generalizable observational studies. The emphasis on specific outcomes and study designs is similar to our interest in randomized clinical trials with objective outcomes.

Articles in past medical education theme issues have addressed the mental health of trainees; the relationship between training and the physician workforce; education and high-value care; continuing medical education (including maintenance of certification); outcomes associated with resident duty hour reforms; student and faculty diversity; medical education and medical errors; training in communication skills; use of technology in education; the relationship between education and medical decision making; and methods, quality, and funding of medical education research. Such articles have the potential for greatly affecting approaches to education; for example, a 2015 meta-analysis investigating the prevalence of depression among residents has been viewed nearly 12 000 times and has an Altmetric score (a measure of online attention) of 1112, which ranks among the highest of research outputs tracked.1

While these topics remain of interest for the 2016 Medical Education theme issue, other potential topics include (but are by no means limited to) physician reentry programs, measurement of core competencies, the appropriate use of medical literature, and humanism and the roles of the humanities in educating students. We also remain interested in studies of the effectiveness of training physicians to be teachers, or residents as teachers, if these studies are conducted with methodological rigor and include important objective outcome measures.

We will consider original research papers, systematic reviews, and scholarly Viewpoints addressing medical education, including randomized trials, high-quality observational studies, evidence-based reviews, and presentation of novel methods. The effects of medical education at the student, physician, patient, and societal levels are all appropriate for consideration. As with all research published in JAMA, we are seeking studies that meet the highest standards for validity and generalizability.

Manuscripts received by June 1, 2016, will have the best chance for consideration for publication in the Medical Education theme issue. All submitted manuscripts will undergo JAMA’s usual rigorous editorial evaluation and review. Authors should consult the JAMA Instructions for Authors2 for guidelines on manuscript preparation and submission.

We look forward to receiving your manuscripts for the 2016 Medical Education theme issue of JAMA.

Editorials represent the opinions of the authors and JAMA and not those of the American Medical Association.
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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Robert M. Golub, MD, Deputy Editor, JAMA, 330 N Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611 (robert.golub@jamanetwork.org).

Mata  DA, Ramos  MA, Bansal  N,  et al.  Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among resident physicians: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  JAMA. 2015;314(22):2373-2383.PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
JAMA Instructions for Authors. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/public/instructionsForAuthors.aspx. Updated February 4, 2016. Accessed February 10, 2016.