Reflections on the 2018 ACR Valerie P. Jackson Education Fellowship
It’s easy to take for granted the incredible free resources we have at our disposal in the radiology world. One example is ACR’s Case in Point™, a daily image-based case with multiple choice questions and explanations delivered straight to your inbox. Have you ever considered from where and by whom this content is generated and maintained?
This summer, I spent a phenomenal week at the ACR headquarters learning about educational content generation, design, and implementation as the 2018 Valerie P. Jackson Education Fellow. My experience was embedded within the ACR Commission on Publications and Lifelong Learning, led by Lori A. Deitte, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Commission on Publications and Lifelong Learning, and Becky Haines, senior director of ACR Press.
Seeing the ACR Press team in action was a highlight of the week. These talented staff members are responsible for synthesizing the monthly Bulletin content, from editorial content generation to production to layout. The Press team also manages the prestigious JACR® publication under the leadership of Bruce J. Hillman, MD, FACR, and Ruth C. Carlos, MD, MS, FACR, and records the Radiology Firing Line on a bi-monthly basis.
Other educational endeavors within the Commission include ImageWisely®, maintenance of the AIRP® rad-path cases, and collaboration with the Association of Program Directors in Radiology on RadExam, a new and innovative assessment tool for radiology residents.
During my fellowship week, one of my goals was to explore how the ACR has infused clever graphic design and visual aids into their educational products to more broadly and effectively reach membership. While some may think of graphic design as a powerful marketing tool, we can all relate to its power in education when a stunning visual helps you remember something you just learned.
To build on this, many radiologists are familiar with the concept of infographics — an enticing visual display used to distill a few key points or data into digestible morsels of information. Over the past few years, the ACR has incorporated infographics into the Bulletin. The Press team has created downloadable patient education fact sheets to help patients prepare for mammograms and lung cancer screening. And they’re now experimenting with visual abstracts as part of the JACR article submission process.
All this exciting discussion on how we can best reach our membership with educational content led me to ask: “How can we incorporate some of these tools and techniques into our medical education models to be more effective educators and learners?” My project was focused on creating an online toolkit for ACR members that includes resources and tutorials for teaching the next generation of radiologists with digital content and visual aids beyond PowerPoint. I spent a considerable portion of my week with ACR Press Art Director Lisa Pampillonia and Digital Content Editor Jessica Siswick, to learn about digital content creation. With smart graphics, one can make a noon resident lecture more effective or make an brief social media encounter more lasting. Furthermore, the willingness to engage with these types of learning tools is growing as the landscape of medical education evolves. Though there is no replacement for a good solid textbook or didactic, I sought to learn how tools such as animated graphics, infographics, and visual abstracts can be implemented as adjuncts into medical education to help us learn and teach better in the appropriate context.
I would highly recommend this fellowship experience to anyone who has an interest in medical education, journalism, or graphic design, to gain a better understanding of the wealth of tools available as an ACR Member-in-Training.
Courtney Tomblinson, MD, is chair of the RSNA Resident and Fellow Committee and a neuroradiology fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.