aliem-cord fellowEveryone has a slightly different relationship with technology. For me, it has always been a tool for creativity. Whether working on video, music, or photography – I have spent more hours in front of a computer than I care to admit. I always dreamed about somehow using my experience with media development in a productive way for the medical field, but judging by the doctors who I knew in high school/college (including my parents),  my impression was that physicians and the world of the internet would remain forever apart.

Throughout medical school and applying for residency, all of the time I spent using my computer as a means of productivity amounted to essentially a few lines on my resume and a conversation starter during interviews. As I entered residency, I began to explore the world of FOAMed, and was surprised to see the post for the ALiEM-CORD Social Media and Digital Scholarship Fellowship. My residency program was very supportive of my application and I was honored to be awarded the position. The last year has been eye-opening and a real career changer. All the skills that I thought were inapplicable to my professional life were suddenly a means of doing some really cool things with Dr. Lin and the ALiEM team.


Fellowship Projects

The fellowship started off with a fun project with Dr Teresa Chan (@TChanMD), which involved photography for the MEdIC eBook. This was a great opportunity to set up a green screen in my resident lounge, and have classmates get together for something less educational. I also came out with this epic picture, which I am planning to use as my annual Christmas card indefinitely.

Dr. Santa

Figure 1. Dr. Santa

Global Journal Club

The next major opportunity through the fellowship was participating in the Global Journal Club. I had the honor of participating in a Google Hangout with Drs. Kline and Kirshner regarding the ADJUST-PE trial, which looked at age-adjusted d-dimer cutoff for pulmonary embolism screening. While I have been involved in my fair share of journal clubs throughout medical school and residency, I have never read through a study as many times as this. Of course, when you are virtually face-to-face with national experts on a topic, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Luckily, I had the assistance of Drs. Salim Razaie (@srrezaie), Anand Swaminathan (@EMSwami), along with the rest of the ALiEM team as backup. The journal club was a great success, and the subsequent write up was published in Annals of Emergency Medicine – I did not expect to see my name in print for a long time, if ever. This was followed by a subsequent Global Journal Club with Dr. Kavita Babu and student-doctor Schwartz from Brown University on Opiate Prescriptions and Press Ganey Scores. This, mostly due to the efforts of Drs. Lauren Westafer and Justin Hensley, resulted in an additional publication in Annals of Emergency of Medicine.

ADJUST-PE Google Hangout

Figure 2. Screenshot of my participating in the ADJUST-PE Google Hangout

Independent Project

Part of the fellowship involved creating an independent project. Throughout medical school, I created a collection of study guides in table format that were utilized heavily by classmates. My vision was always to create a comprehensive guide for distribution to the medical masses, but the task always seemed unsurmountable. Through the help of the ALiEM team I reworked my website, developed a defined aesthetic, and gained invaluable experience in navigating the world of online publication. There is still a huge way to go before the final guide is ready, but I can certainly see direction. The beta version of my complete guide was very helpful for in-service exam studying. I can’t wait to have other people give it a try.

Sam's Study Guides: Before and After

Figure 3. Sam’s Study Guides: Before and After

There were additional projects including a design project, helping design the prototypes for the ALiEMU homepage, peer reviewing submissions, PV cards, and more. There were great experiences like being invited to an exclusive FOAM party at ACEP and meetings with Dr. Joshi over Google Hangouts. Really to go on listing individual achievements is to belittle the greater picture. My technological inclinations have finally merged with my career in a meaningful way. Like any fellowship, this year was more valuable than the sum of its cumulative parts. The experiences, skills, and relationships from this year will continue to influence my professional course into the future.

I would like to give a special thanks to CORD for sponsoring the fellowship. Of course, there are no words to express the appropriate quantity of gratitude to Dr. Michelle Lin and Dr. Nikita Joshi for their amazing efforts and dedication.

Sam Shaikh, DO

Sam Shaikh, DO

Editor, 60-Second Soapbox series
Assistant Clinical Professor, Rocky Vista University
Clinical Instructor, University of Colorado School of Medicine
2014-15 ALiEM-CORD Social Media and Digital Scholarship Fellow
Sam Shaikh, DO


Emergency Medicine Physician & Electronic Music Producer from Colorado Springs. Tweets are for educational purposes only and are not medical advice #FOAM