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Approved Instructional Resources (AIR Series)2018-10-28T21:43:12+00:00

Why create the AIR Series?

We created the ALiEM Approved Instructional Resources (AIR) series because we have observed residencies struggle in evaluating which blog posts and podcasts are appropriate and high quality for resident education. Often residents independently access FOAM resources available online, but do not receive training credit for this. We seek to use our expertise to bridge this divide by assisting residency programs to promote asynchronous learning, online education, as well as reward residents who already effectively utilize FOAM resources.

What is III and how does this count for credit?

In 2008, the Council of Residency Directors (CORD) in Emergency Medicine as well as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) endorsed a change in the education hours requirements for residencies. Previously, five hours of educational conference time was required per week. The new recommendation allows residencies to decrease their conference time to four hours per week with an additional one hour of documented asynchronous learning outside the classroom. This asynchronous learning opportunity has been termed Individualized Interactive Instruction (III).

More specifically, the 4 III criteria are the following:

  1. The program director must monitor resident participation. – We provide PDs administrative access to the Educator Dashboard on ALiEMU, the learning management platform for the AIR Series.
  2. There must be an evaluation component. – We have a post-module quiz.
  3. There must be faculty oversight. – We have faculty who are automatically emailed whenever there is a comment placed in the blog. If there is a question, we reply in a timely fashion.
  4. The activity must be monitored for effectiveness. – We have an internal QI process as well as a post-module survey to incorporate learner feedback.

We thus feel that this ALiEM AIR Series abides by these III requirements.

How are the AIR articles selected?

The 9-person Executive Board reviews numerous FOAM resources and scores each on an objective grading system designed for this series. We curate relevant posts from top blogs and podcasts, as graded by the Social Media Index, with the inclusion criteria of publication date within the past 12 months. If this list of posts is insufficient, we broaden to a longer time interval. We do not claim an exhaustively comprehensive search, but feel that we ultimately highlight quality posts for residency education.

The cumulative highest scoring posts from each module are selected. To decrease any obvious bias, members of the Executive Board recuse themselves from evaluating posts they wrote or were directly involved in writing. Our scoring tool looks at five measurement outcomes, each using a Likert 7-point scale:

  • BEEM Score
  • Content Accuracy
  • Educational Utility
  • Evidence Based Medicine
  • Referenced

Definitions: AIR Stamp of Approval and Honorable Mentions

In an effort to truly emphasize the highest quality posts, we have now adjusted our selections into two subsets. The AIR stamp of approval will only be given to posts scoring above a new, strict scoring cut-off of ≥30 points (out of 35 total), based on our scoring instrument. The other subset is for “Honorable Mention” posts. These posts have been flagged by and agreed upon by AIR Board members as worthwhile to highlight regardless of the point score (but still reflect accurate, appropriately referenced, and unbiased content). All posts will still be part of the quiz needed to obtain III credit.

The actual grading instrument can be viewed in this AIR Series Grading Tool PDF.

AIR Modules

Module Date Link Recommended III
26 August 2017 Renal/Genitourinary Module 1 Hour
25 August 2017 Psychobehavioral Module 4 Hours
24 June 2017 Toxicology Module 2 Hours
23 October 2016 Trauma Module 7 Hours
22 September 2016 Respiratory Module 4 Hours
21 August 2016 Infectious Disease Module 6 Hours
20 July 2016 Procedure 4 Hours
19 May 2016 Ortho (Lower Extremities) 1 Hour
18 April 2016 Ortho (Upper Extremities) 5 Hours
17 March 2016 Cutaneous 1 Hour
16 February 2016 Neurology 2 (Headaches, Seizures, and Other) 6 Hours
15 January 2016 Neurology (Bleeds and Strokes) 6 hours
14 November 2015 Environmental Module 2 1 Hour
13 September 2015 Environmental Module (Bites, Temp, Stings) 1 Hour
12 August 2015 Cardiology 2 (CHF and others) 4 Hours
11 July 2015 Cardiology 1 (ACS) Module 5 Hours
10 June 2015 Respiratory 2 (PE) Module 5 Hours
09 May 2015 Respiratory 1 (General) Module 5 Hours
08 April 2015 GU/Renal Module 4 Hours
07 March 2015 Ob/Gyn Module 3 Hours
06 January 2015 Toxicology Module 4 Hours
05 December 2014 Psychiatry Module 2 Hours
04 November 2014 Peripheral Vascular Disease Module 3 Hours
03 September 2014 Endocrinology Module 3 Hours
02 August 2014 HEENT Module 2 Hours
01 July 2014 ID/Heme/Onc Module 2 Hours

Participating Residency Programs

As of June 2017, we now have over 125 US EM residency programs registered with over 1200 residents completing at least one module.


I am an EM Resident desiring III credit

Please speak with your program director about this possibility. If you are told that the AIR series is approved for credit, complete the end-of-module quiz and your participation will be tracked. Of course, you are always welcome to take the quiz for your own learning purposes.

I am an EM residency program interested in implementing this series for III credit

*Updated January 2017

To participate, go to ALiEMU and register by clicking on the “General Members” tab. If you would like to monitor resident progress for the AIR Series, click on the “EM Residency Faculty” tab. We are no longer using google drive to tabulate and review AIR series resident participation.


Please contact us if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Frequency of AIR Series Modules

We plan to release new curated lists to correspond with the EM modular curriculum.

Members of AIR Executive Board

  • Felix Ankel MD, Vice President and Executive Director of Health Professional Education, HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research; Associate Professor of EM; University of Minnesota
  • Jeremy Branzetti MD, Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor of EM; University of Washington Department of EM
  • Andrew Grock MD, Associate Director AIR Executive Board, EM Resident at Kings County EM Program
  • Nikita Joshi MD, Associate Director AIR Executive Board, ALiEM Associate Editor; Clinical Instructor, Stanford University, Division of EM
  • Jay Khadpe, MD, Assistant Residency Director andClinical Assistant Professor, SUNY-Downstate Department of EM
  • Michelle Lin MD, Associate Director AIR Executive Board, ALiEM Editor-in-Chief, UCSF Associate Professor and Academy Endowed Chair for EM Education, San Francisco General Hospital
  • Kasey Mekonnen, MD, Highland-Alameda Health System EM resident
  • Eric Morley MD, Associate Director AIR Executive Board, Associate Program Director of EM; Stony Brook University
  • Lynn Roppolo, MD,  Associate Program Director and Associate Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Department of EM
  • Anand Swaminathan MD MPH, Assistant Program Director and Assistant Professor of EM, NYU Medical Center; Faculty Reviewer of
  • Taku Taira MD, Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor of EM, USC School of Medicine
  • Lalena Yarris MD MCR, Program Director and Associate Professor of EM; Oregon Health Sciences University