Editorial: The Learning Curve

Steven Gelber, MS IV, BA


October 26, 2006

Since November 2004, The Learning Curve has been the voice within MedGenMed of medical students and residents. A diverse array of articles has been published in this eSection, from a review of robotic surgery[1] to a report on pediatric AIDS in Romania.[2] These contributions have come from medical students and residents from the United States and abroad.

It is my pleasure to assume the role of editor of The Learning Curve, building on the work of Lisa Rosenbaum, MD,[3] and Teri A. Reynolds, PhD, MD.[4] I hope that in the months to come, we will continue to publish a broad selection of articles by medical students and residents from around the world. This eSection was created so that medical students would have a forum to share the work that they have completed and to convey their unique experiences in and perspectives on the world of medicine.

Medical students today run the gamut of ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Their role as a student, at the beginning of their study of the discipline that will become their career, is the most pertinent commonality among them -- and it is undeniably the role of all students to be advocates as well as learners. Our perspective is unique among our collaborators in research and our teams on the wards. We are simultaneously part of the system in which we operate and outside of it. The very foreignness of the hospital that can at times be so unnerving makes students the most adept observers of it. The Learning Curve aims to include both complimentary and critical assessments by students of the healthcare system to which we will devote our professional lives.

On morning rounds, an attending once related to me in tremendous detail the satisfaction of his first diagnosis of bacterial endocarditis, the eponymous signs, the pathognomonic sequelae. Despite the passage of 25 years and hundreds of subsequent cases, the details of this first case still had salience for him. Medical school and residency are designed to be full of these moments that resonate in our memories, and arguably the bulk of our learning comes from these individual cases. The Learning Curve strives to be a repository of these cases, in which students can share in the form of case reports the stories of patients from whom they learned the art and practice of medicine.

There have been countless occasions when a fellow student has shared her recent research and I have been amazed at both the depth and sagacity of her work. In medical schools, there is increasing support for independent student research. These projects are often presented in poster sessions or colloquia, but then the work disappears. The Learning Curve desires to be a permanent exhibition for the best of this original student research, so that other investigators can build on the work of their colleagues and students can be active participants in the far-ranging dialogue of the scientific method.

Medical training is a long and arduous process, often thankless. However, it is punctuated by countless moments of insight and fulfillment. It is true that The Learning Curve is a medical journal, advancing the cause of scientific progress, but it is also a documentary of those moments in medical education when all the disparate rhythms of the hospital, rural clinic, and lab are in sync. It is our opportunity to share with the world what it is like when, as students, we learn for the first time the ecstasy of the healer's art.

Whether you are a medical student, resident, physician, healthcare professional, or interested reader, I encourage you to return to these pages often, to hear the voice of the next generation of medicine. If you are a medical student or resident in the United States or abroad, I also entreat you to submit your work for possible publication.

Guidelines for Submissions to The Learning Curve

  • Submissions are limited to current medical students and residents. Multiple student or resident authors are acceptable, and faculty co-authors are also encouraged.

  • Submissions may be case reports, original research or reviews, or editorial content.

  • Submission formatting guidelines can be found at: $$medgenmed$$/medgenmed/about#instructionsauthors.

  • eMail completed manuscript to: .

  • Although submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, the deadline for this round of publication is December 10, 2006.




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