Two and a bit cheers for academic medicine
Much current research on education lacks depth and meaning, and risks building a misleading picture of academic effectiveness, argues Professor John Skelton
- By: John Skelton
In 2003 the BMJ, Lancet, and 40 partners founded the International Campaign to Revitalise Academic Medi-cine (ICRAM; http://bmj.com/academicmedicine) because of a general sense that “something is not right with academic medicine.” The suggestion was made that “the diagnosis is not entirely clear…and the treatment is unknown.”1 One of the difficulties, highlighted by Clark and Tugwell, was that “at a time when there is increasing demand for academic medicine to be more accountable…the evidence base for its effectiveness is rather slim.”2 A similar awareness perhaps prompted the development of the movement for Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME; www.bemecollaboration.org) and the Campbell Collaboration (www.campbellcollaboration.org/ECG), an echo of the Cochrane Collaboration that involves several disciplines.
And sure enough, a recent careful systematic review on the efficacy of mentoring “revealed an absence of experimental research” and pointed out that other fields (they cite nursing and business) “also show lack of valid evidence for [its]