Aug 14, 2019
Lorenzo Norris, MD, host of the MDedge
Psychcast and editor in chief of MDedge Psychiatry, interviews
residents who produce the PsychEd podcast, which as they put
it, is “created by medical learners, for medical learners.”
Dr. Norris speaks with some of the members of PsychEd podcast
team: Sarah Hanafi, MD, a first-year resident in psychiatry at
McGill University, Montreal; Alex Raben, MD, a fourth-year resident
in psychiatry at the University of Toronto; Lucy Chen, MD, a
fourth-year psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto; and
Bruce Fage, MD, a fifth-year psychiatry resident at the University
And later, in the “Dr. RK” segment, Renee
Kohanski, MD, discusses the role of the placebo in the modern
setting. Dr. Kohanski is a member of the MDedge Psychiatry
Editorial Advisory Board and is a psychiatrist in private practice
in Mystic, Conn.
Show Notes by Jacqueline Posada, MD, who is a
consultation-liaison psychiatry fellow with the Inova Fairfax
Hospital/George Washington University program in Falls Church,
- The PsychEd podcast originated when the team identified a gap
in podcast-mediated learning for psychiatry trainees.
- In psychiatry, there have been podcasts that reviewed recent
publications, but none that examined foundational topics. Other
specialties, such as emergency medicine, have several podcasts
covering basic topics aimed at trainees.
- Podcasts are identified as an asynchronous educational
material. They are a medium that can be used in “downtime,”
especially because many trainees commute or have other time during
which they can consume information.
- At the American Psychiatric Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting,
the PsychEd team presented on the integration of podcasting into
- Materials should focus on digital natives vs. digital
- In 2015, one research group polled emergency medicine residents
and found a differential in the use of podcasts; 90% of users were
residents and 45% were program directors.
Podcasts are a supplement to other types of
- Podcasts can distill information as well as engage with
information and experts in an alternative fashion.
- Podcasts are efficient in their use of time and broaden
listeners’ exposure to information and experts.
- Podcasts offer one modality of learning and are not meant to
replace other sources.
- Resources should focus on what information is needed and be
tailored to where students, residents, and all learners spend their
- After the team identified the need for a psychiatry
education–focused podcast, they started meeting to create an
environment for collaboration.
- Learning how to podcast – using the equipment, editing the
recording, and uploading to relevant platforms – was the hardest
- All PsychEd podcasting is done “live.” The team takes their
recording equipment to the experts they interview. Presently, their
guests are located in Toronto. The team has expanded to Montreal
with a new team member, Sarah Hanafi, a first-year psychiatry
resident at McGill University.
- The podcast started with a case-based format, using a composite
case presented to an expert, followed by a junior learner asking
questions. Now the team does more prep work to create a structured
script that includes educational objectives.
- Using a script allows for the interview to flow in a more
organized structure, which makes for easier editing. Meeting and
preparing the script with experts demands time and preparation in
order to create the milieu for a generative interview.
- Most often, the “pearls” come from the unscripted questions
that elicit reflections.
- Experts have been willing and excited to participate in the
podcast and to disseminate their knowledge in a format that will
- So far, PsychEd has covered basic topics of psychiatry,
including major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, and anxiety, and it is now expanding to more complex
- An initial idea was to incorporate the patient perspective to
add nuance to the foundational-level topics. Listeners were
indifferent to this idea since they already encounter the patient
experience on a regular basis and incorporating the patient voice
did not necessarily target the educational content.
- This scenario illustrates in difficulty of choosing topics:
Subject matter that will draw in listeners but also are creative
and add meaning.
- There is space for societal topics in psychiatry such Big Data,
climate change, technology, and loneliness.
- PsychEd has been awarded a grant through the University of
Toronto to expand subject matter focused on clinical skills to
target priorities identified by the Royal Board of Canada through
its “Competency by Design” initiative.
Other challenges in podcasting
- Choosing topics is a balance of identifying cutting-edge topics
vs. issues universal to all psychiatrists. Should popular topics be
- Deciding how to identify topics that can enhance learning but
are also professionally enriching to the psychiatrist as an
What personal growth has come from
- Learning leadership skills: Leading a small team to create a
quality podcast and then expanding to research about the
- Providing a creative outlet both in content and thinking about
the scope of scholarship within psychiatry.
- Enhancing time management and learning how to juggle interests
outside of clinical work.
- Understanding how to access rich local resources, ranging from
experts to other trainees who want to podcast and contribute.
- Broadening one’s vision and perspective by talking with thought
leaders: As psychiatrists, our work resonates with similar themes,
and it’s inspiring to talk to others about universal themes.
The PsychEd podcast: https://www.psychedpodcast.org/
Mallin M et al. A survey of the current utilization of
asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the
United States. Acad Med. 2014 Apr;89(4):598-601.
Matava CT et al. eLearning among Canadian anesthesia residents:
A survey of podcast use and content needs. BMC Med Educ. 2013 Apr 23;13:59.
Riddle J et al. A survey of emergency medicine residents’ use of
educational podcasts. West J
Emerg Med. 2017 Feb; 18(2): 229-234.
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