Conferences & Didactics

We provide a majority of formal didactic teaching on Wednesday mornings, which is generally protected learning time for our residents. We follow a general curriculum over four years, with a unique general topic emphasized each month. During residency, each resident is exposed to all topics in emergency medicine. We accomplish this in several types of formats:

Wednesday Conference:

Grand Rounds Typically taught by our faculty or visiting faculty in emergency medicine, Grand Rounds usually covers cutting-edge topics in emergency medicine or new research or scholarly topics in our field.
EBM Lectures This is our EM core lecture series and is taught in an evidence-based medicine format. PGY 2 and 3 residents, assisted by faculty, lead the discussion.
Journal Club A faculty-guided reverse classroom session that discusses the critical appraisal of a landmark article and free open access medical education (FOAMed) blog post or podcast. 
CPC Presented by a junior level resident and senior faculty member, the Clinical Pathologic Case Presentation is a lecture that outlines the medical decision making and differential diagnosis of an interesting case - typically a rare presentation of a common case or a common presentation of a rare case.
Patient Safety Conference We review all cases with unexpected outcomes. The emphasis is to learn about concepts in patient safety, systems issues that affect care, and fundamentals of clinical decision making.
Asynchronous Learning Faculty-approved online learning material based on free open access medical education (FOAMed) to facilitate learning outside of conference. This material is reviewed by faculty and the Education Chief prior to release and a post-education assessment is done to ensure quality.
Specialty Conference An advanced level specialty lecture and discussion led by a senior resident and invited faculty consultant that discusses controversial topics that do not have a clear evidence-based delineation with regards to diagnosis and management.
Simulation Sessions Faculty-guided simulation exercises intended to expose learners to less common pathologies and procedural hands-on experience.
Foundations Fundamental ED concepts taught as faculty-guided cases that are grounded in the reverse classroom principle.
Small-Group Board Review Faculty-led lecture series that reviews board-centric topics for each system of the month.
Trauma Conference A joint conference with the ED and Trauma Departments held every third Wednesday from September through May. It involves patient safety cases, a Grand Rounds speaker, and confidential video review of trauma cases.
PK Talks The Pecha-Kucha (PK) talk is a 6 minute and 40-second presentation that is catching on in national conferences. It is a fast-paced, high-yield presentation that focuseson a narrow topic to ensure educational retention.

Outside Wednesday Conference:


Our residents spend significant time in the GW Clinical Learning and Simulated Skills (CLASS) center on campus. Using patient simulators and standardized cases, our residents practice resuscitations, complex medical and trauma cases, and procedures relevant to emergency medicine. Read more information on the CLASS Center website.

Procedure labs

In addition to time in the simulation center, we offer procedure labs each year on human cadavers and/or animal models in addition to using simulation mannequins.

"Special Days"

Several times a year, we will devote the entire conference day to a single topic and offer unique and variable learning experiences. For example, we hold a yearly "Health Policy Day" held on Capitol Hill with well-known speakers in the field. We typically have an "orthopedics day" with hands-on practice of orthopedic reductions and splinting; "airway day" with practice using advanced airway devices for the difficult airway, and "Sono Wars" where we spend the day in teams racing to accomplish various tasks using the ultrasound.

Mock Oral Boards

Once a year we offer an oral examination with standardized cases. In addition to providing opportunities for feedback, it prepares our residents for success in the oral board examination in emergency medicine after they graduate.

Self-Directed Learning

Every six months our residents work with the program director to develop a personalized learning plan with goals and objectives. Residents are encouraged to find other learning activities that will fit with their own individual learning style in areas where they have particular interest or just need to brush up a little. These other activities include textbook reading, journal reading, computer-based learning modules, and hands-on activities.