Dispatches from the FOAM Frontier

Readers of Emergency Medicine Australia may have noticed something a little different in recent issues.

First, there was a social media editorial titled ‘Dispatches from the FOAM Frontier‘ then today saw the publication of ‘smaccGOLD and the rise of the Synthetics‘. It is fair to say that these are unlike your usual editorials in peer-reviewed journals, or indeed, any other type of article in the medical literature!

The prologue to the first article explains it all:

No doubt, this section seems a strange one to find in a medical journal. We assure you that it is stranger than you think! Let us begin with a brief explanation.

By now you have hopefully either discovered FOAM (Free Open Access Med(ical ed)ucation) for yourself, or perhaps encountered a recent article on the subject in Emergency Medicine Australasia. FOAM is a relatively new movement of slightly odd collaborators sharing knowledge via blogs, podcasts and other social media with an unbridled passion and enthusiasm. What will it amount to? Only time will tell, but imagine that FOAM, or something quite like it, actually becomes the norm. Imagine that some seemingly ephemeral FOAM creations actually change the world. Imagine that our successors can’t even imagine what things were like before FOAM. Finally, imagine that we had a window in time that allowed us to read an emergency medicine journal of the future…

Great! You can do all of that. Now, strap yourselves in, because this ride’s about to get a little crazy…

The first article included dispatches from an Indiana Jones-esque astro-archeologist from the future, named Sienna Adjoin (clue, look for anagrams!). It also included correspondence from a medical practitioner on the Dixe Colony, a place with such astronomical rates of coronary artery disease that physicians there have been able to develop a more rational approach to chest pain work up than we ever could.

What about the second, just released, article?

Well, in addition to a Time Traveller’s account of the recent smaccGOLD conference (never, ever, trust a Time Traveller…) there is this:

Strokebot Consent Extracted
Consent Extracted’ by Tor Ercleve

‘The rise of the Synthetics’ recounts the development of STROKEbots in order to facilitate thrombolysis in the emergency department, and their eventual David Newman-Toker-inspired redemption. It highlights plenty of fantastic FOAM along the way.

My co-creators in producing this series of articles include LITFL’s wonderful wordsmith Michelle Johnston and amazing artist Tor Ercleve, both equally excellent emergency physicians. However, we also have a recruit from far off in the FOAM world, EMNerd’s Rory Spiegel. Rory has a peculiar two-pronged genius for critical appraisal of the medical literature and the creation of intricate parallel worlds.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the enthusiastic support of EMA’s Editor-in-Chief, Geoff Hughes…. Thanks Geoff!

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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