I have spent a significany part of my career conceiving, developing and contibuting to continuing education and professional development programs in Emergency Medicine.  With the significant advances of social media and free open access medical education (FOAM) , just-in-time continuing education, and many forms of e-learning - traditional formats for continuing education have been called into question with regrad to their relavance and impact on learning (and change in practice).  I have always believed that learning is a social activity that requires people to come together.  The process of learning is as important as the task of learning.  As such, I believe that there is value in group learning activities.  The networking and relationships devloped at these activities is essential to professional practice.  The development of communities of practice is an important ingredient to success of the individual.  Two programs that I have lead and contributed to significantly  are Emergency Medicine Update and Emergency Medicine Update Europe.


Emergency Medicine Update

Emergency Medicine Update organized by North York General Hospital's Emeregncy Services Program is Canada's largest annual Emergency Medicine Event.  The conference started out in 1988 as small hospital conference.  The Chief of the Emergency Department at that time, Dr. Isser Dubinsky conceived the idea of having a national EM Conference. Since then, the conference has grown to a full week - including pre-conference courses and 3 days of the main conference.  The conference is lead by a course director with a volunteer committee of nurses and physicians that contribute hundreds of hours each year to its success.  I Directed the conference from 2002 - 2007 and continue to be actively involved.  We have always had the view that our mandate is to provide the best experience for the registrants while pushing the boundaries of education.  Over the years, we have been leaders in providing novel experineces for conference goers; such as simulation based and hand-on workshops, large group sessions where we see how Emeregency Medicine experts think as they manage complex cases in fronto of 800 people.

Emergency Medicine Update Europe

The next step in the evolution conference planning for me was Emergency Medicine Update Europe.  This conference combines 2 passions of mine - education and cycling.  Add in great food, fine wine and a stunning European setting and you have the makings for a unique event.  We have partnered with Benefactor Travel to plan and deliver a world class travel event and I have organized the continuing education.  The mornings consist of a series of continuing education presentations.  This is followed by cycling and hiking through some of the best wine country in Europe.  The afternoons have optional cultural events.  The evenings are followed with group dinners - then back to learning again the next morning.  We have now run 5 sold-out programs to Burgundy, France; Tuscany, Italy, La Rijoa, Spain and Provenve, France; and Evora, Portrugal. Our next adventure is in Sicily, Italy. I am quite proud of the high quality education that occurs. There is someting unique about the shared social experineces and physical challenges that enhances the group development and impacts on the learning.  On our conference in Provence, we embedded an ethnographic researcher into the conference to understand and evaluate; (1) what draws physicians to EMU Europe; (2) the ‘ethos’ that is created during the program and (3) how delivering education in this way impacts learning and uptake. We found that "It's more than just travel CME"