"FOAMed” stands for “Free Open Access Meducation.” The term, coined by Life in the Fast Lane Blogger Dr. Mike Cadogan, refers to a personalized, continually expanding database of resources for medical education: podcasts, blogs, videos, modules, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds. Dr. Cadogan and his fellow Life in the Fast Lane co-author Dr. Chris Nickson have fueled the movement through collating these online resources for their eager audience of students, residents and attending physicians.
FOAMed is contagious, it is a revolution, it is a community of educators who want to collaborate and freely share ideas for the betterment of all. Ultimately, FOAMed encourages the active, self-driven pursuit of knowledge required of life-long learners. We must passionately strive to maintain and expand our clinical knowledge with the goal of providing the best care for our patients. As the old adage goes: “You can’t diagnose what you don’t know.”
One of the greatest teachers of our specialty, Joe Lex, stated, “If you want to know how we practiced medicine 5 years ago, read a textbook. If you want to know how we practiced medicine 2 years ago, read a journal. If you want to know how we practice medicine now, go to a (good) conference. If you want to know how we will practice medicine in the future, listen in the hallways and use FOAM.”
The accessibility of FOAMed is astounding. If you find yourself with some downtime, you can simply open up your phone browser, log on to one of many blogs and instantly have high-yield content directly at your fingertips. Even a few minutes can provide enough time to briefly review a concise blog post that reminds you of some clinical concept you may have forgotten. Stuck in a long commute home? Load some podcasts on your phone and utilize the time for learning. The ease of accessing these resources allows them to transcend the boundaries of location or setting. Learning no longer requires a classroom; all it requires is intellectual curiosity.
Joining is easier than you think; one great resource is http://lifeinthefastlane.com/foam/, which directs you to other great resources and can become your filter as you dip your feet into the ocean of FOAM.
Join Twitter: https://twitter.com
Search some of the biggest names in FOAMed and click the follow button.
Follow the thread, learn and participate!
Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read blogs, get involved!
Author: Meaghan Mercer, AAEM/RSA President and Mary Calderone, AAEM/RSA Medical Student Council President