The earliest references to Journal Clubs are included in the memoirs and letters of Sir James Paget, a British surgeon, who described in the mid-1800s: “a kind of club … a small room over a baker’s shop near the Hospital-gate where we could sit and read the journals.” Journal Club in North America dates back to the time of Sir William Osler, who while at McGill University in Montreal in 1874, began with 10 members of the faculty at McGill who contributed $10.00 per annum per faculty member for the purchase and distribution of journals. After joining the staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Osler encouraged individual departments to develop Journal Clubs that brought clinicians of all experience levels together to review and discuss developments in their respective fields, a practice which continues today at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS).
Journal Club at EVMS is consistently among the highest ranked educational activities by our EM residents. Each month we take an evidence based approach to clinically relevant questions that typically arise during the course of patient care. This may take the form of a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) summary or the critical appraisal of a specific article. Once the best available evidence is presented, we generally discuss the applicability within the context of our own patient population. Our Journal Club proceedings, as well as a host of other clinically useful EBM tools, are posted on emjournalclub.com a website developed by Charlie Graffeo, M.D., our Journal Club Director that can be referred to as a useful resource when working clinically.
The primary goals for our Journal Club include:
- Identifying clinically relevant questions that arise during patient care.
- Learning how to efficiently search for the best available evidence.
- Develop critical appraisal skills that assist in determining the validity of various types of journal articles
- Understand the basic tenets of clinical epidemiology
- Providing a skills set for physicians that will assist them in staying current long after leaving residency
Most importantly, EVMS Journal Club is a great opportunity to get together informally and enjoy good food, drink and the camaraderie that we believe is fundamental to a successful residency training experience.