Last week the Mayo Clinic Academic Appointments and Promotions Committee announced that they are integrating digital activity into the criteria matrix for academic promotion. In a post on the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network detailing the decision, Mayo’s Dr. Daniel Cabrera captured the core concept of societal duty in public dialog.
The moral and societal duty of an academic healthcare provider is to advance science, improve the care of his/her patients and share knowledge. A very important part of this role requires physicians to participate in public debate, responsibly influence opinion and help our patients navigate the complexities of healthcare. As Clinician Educators our job is not to create knowledge obscura, trapped in ivory towers and only accessible to the enlightened; the knowledge we create and manage needs to impact our communities.
The Mayo decision is remarkable in that it represents a potential turning point for academic institutions. Academic advancement has relied upon peer-reviewed publications and other traditional forms of educational content when assessing scholarship. This move recognizes that professional communication has moved beyond journals. It appreciates that the boundaries of the academic physician are no longer limited to the physical confines of the ivory tower. Mayo’s decision is ultimately built around the idea that public engagement has value that should be recognized.
The demonstration of impact and thought leadership in the digital space will not be easy for The Mayo Clinic and other institutions who take this path. Since every doctor enjoys the capacity to create, the challenge will be separating signal from noise and value from volume. Academic physicians will share the responsibility of proving that what they do shapes ideas, changes minds and/or empowers patients.
Ultimately this change will require a thorough reappraisal of scholarship.
More on this as my ideas evolve. Until then, Kudos to The Mayo Clinic for demonstrating leadership through academic disruption.
You might be interested in
What Counts in Medicine – Some of my thoughts on social media and academic advancement from 2013.
Alternative media and metrics for academic promotion – A brief blog post by Daniel Cabrera on the International Clinical Educators Network