Since 2014, we have been writing and producing FOAMcast, a podcast on a mission to bridge the cutting-edge content frequently favored in popular blogs and podcasts with essential emergency medicine core content that tends to get less attention in the world of free open access medical education (FOAM). We started small. At first, we were just a couple of EM residents armed with our smartphones, a couple of microphones, Skype accounts, some shared Google docs, and a handful of dusty textbooks. Now, we are… Wait, nothing has changed.
The format of our podcast is simple. In each episode of FOAMcast, we summarize a recent FOAM blog or podcast for a few minutes. We then spend the remainder of the show on related “bread-and-butter” topics covered by the major EM textbooks—which we fondly refer to as “Rosenalli” (a word we unabashedly made up as an amalgam of Rosen and Tintinalli, though we refer to other major texts as well).
In our first 40 episodes, we’ve covered the EMCrit podcast, SMART EM podcast, the EM Literature of Note blog, the Skeptics’ Guide to Emergency Medicine, The St. Emlyn’s podcast, and many more. Finally, we end our show with a boards-style multiple-choice question, which is donated to the show by the Rosh Review. In this recurring ACEP Now column, we’ll highlight some of the best material from our most recent episodes of FOAMcast (which can be downloaded for free on iTunes or at www.foamcast.org). We’ll also discuss what’s going on in the world of FOAM and occasionally interview each other on emergency medicine and medical education topics. Let’s start with that for this inaugural entry.
JF: From an educational perspective, what has been the most surprising part of making FOAMcast?
LW: Definitely that the stereotypes about the different formats of medical education just don’t hold up. I think there’s this misconception that textbooks are old, out-of-touch fossils that are hard to use and are basically dying a slow death. On the other end, I think some people still think of blogs and podcasts as thrown-together shoddy resources that can’t be trusted. And I’d say that neither of those misconceptions is remotely true. Let’s look at textbooks. If you ask people how far behind textbooks are, you’ll get a range of answers. Five to 10 years? But in reality, the textbooks are surprisingly inconsistent. Some things in Rosenalli sound like they came right out of a podcast. Very progressive and current. Other times, you’re wondering, “OK, how long until they update this thing?”