• New STFM Podcast Series Shines a Light on COVID-19

    Series Highlights Academic Medicine's Approach to Pandemic 

    May 20, 2020 04:25 pm Michael Devitt – With each passing day, the COVID-19 pandemic shines a spotlight on the critical role family physicians play in the American health care system.

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    The outbreak has also presented FPs across the country with numerous challenges, providing them unparalleled opportunities to learn from their experiences and develop skills that will continue to benefit patients long after the pandemic has passed.

    To explore how some of the specialty's leaders are meeting those challenges, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine recently kicked off a new podcast series. "Academic Medicine Leadership Lessons: COVID-19" highlights the ways family medicine educators have adapted to the changes occurring around them while continuing to engage learners and ensure that patients receive the best care possible.

    "Right now, the goal is to champion family medicine's role in serving communities during this public health emergency, with a parallel goal of sharing leadership lessons that have come from dealing with the pandemic directly," said Brian Hischier, STFM's manager of online education. "Through the COVID-19 series, we hope to honor by proxy the work that every FP in the country is doing, one interview at a time."


    Podcast at a Glance

    Each episode is hosted by Hischier and features a different speaker and topic. Four episodes have been published to date:

    • "Rapid Change in Residency Programs," featuring Saria Carter Saccocio, M.D.;
    • "The Importance of the Human Connection," with Emily Soni, D.O.;
    • "Residency Program Challenges," with Timothy Graham, M.D.; and
    • "Rapid Rural Response," with Harry 'Chip' Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.

    Currently, the series' publication schedule is determined largely by each guest's availability.

    "Because we are trying to be sensitive to our guests' busy and ever-changing lives, we are on a somewhat variable schedule for now," Hischier explained.

    Similarly, the topics discussed during each podcast evolve organically based on each guest's experiences.

    "We try to let the conversation generate the podcast topic naturally," said Hischier. "As host, I think it's important to strike a balance between locating educational content in a discussion and providing a platform for the story to be shared. Often, so much is shared in an interview that picking a single topic as an episode title has been a wonderful challenge.

    "If someone presses play, hopefully the words flowing through their headphones let them know that they aren't alone, that perfection is not an expectation, and that a long rest is well-deserved," Hischier continued. "Additionally, real lessons are shared in these interviews. Our guests have each provided actionable, compelling ideas, from preparing for a surge in rural Oregon to discovering how much comfort the human touch provides to caring for a patient suffering from COVID-19."

    The STFM podcast series is available free of charge to anyone. Episodes can be accessed from the STFM Podcasts webpage, as well as through Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

    Moving Forward

    Hischier told AAFP News that STFM does not have a specific end date in mind for the COVID-19 series, but they will take members' preferences into account as the podcast series -- and the pandemic -- progress.

    Ironically, STFM launched the Academic Medicine Leadership Lessons podcast only a few days before the United States declared a national emergency in response to the pandemic. The initial episode, "How Do I Make a Plan for My Career?" debuted March 9 and is also available free of charge.

    "At some point, we'll transition back to our official host, Dr. Saria Saccocio, who will interview our members about leadership topics not directly related to COVID-19," Hischier said. "We had several episodes completed with her when the pandemic flipped the nation on its head."