Nephrology Bracketology: Join the Madness!

Joel M. Topf, MD


February 25, 2015

Welcome to NephMadness 2015, an online game that invites healthcare professionals to predict the "winners" of competing medical concepts. Like in March Madness, where fans try to pick the winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, NephMadness provides brackets for participants to fill out and then compete with a worldwide community of peers. Last year we had players from six continents!

Fill out your brackets here by Sunday, March 22

The medical match-ups in NephMadness are not simplistic, but neither are they unsolvable. You will not find furosemide, CKD, or hyponatremia populating our brackets; we reach deeper than that and expect many of the concepts to be novel even to academic nephrologists. Still, even the lowliest medical student has a chance, with the detailed "scouting reports" we provide. Reading the scouting reports is essential to doing well.

And while the main theme of NephMadness is kidney disease, the 2015 contest explores the intersection of nephrology with other medical specialties. That means cardiologists, oncologists, nutritionists, and the whole array of healthcare professionals have a stake in the game.

Yes, it's a spoof, but it's one that we take dead seriously.

How Does It Work?

The medical concepts—or "teams"—are divided into eight regions. We enlisted scientific experts to help us identify the most interesting controversies in each region. The selection committee members and the regions are:

  • Obstetric Nephrology: Phyllis August, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York

  • Infectious Disease and Nephrology: Samir Gupta, MD, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana

  • The Heart and Kidney Connection: Andrew House, MD, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

  • Nephrology and Nutrition: Allon Friedman, MD, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Genetic Nephrology: Conall O'Seaghdha, MD, Beaumont Hospital Kidney Centre, Dublin, Ireland

  • Critical Care Nephrology: Lakhmir Chawla, MD, George Washington University, Washington, DC

  • Nephrology and Vascular Surgery: Timmy Lee, MD, University of Alabama, Birmingham

  • Onconephrology: Mitchell Rosner, MD, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Each of the eight regions includes eight medical concepts, which will face off in four first-round match-ups, for a total of 32 matches.

Who Decides the "Winners"?

We have recruited a blue-ribbon panel of experts to vet the contest and determine the winners (concepts, not participants) of each bracket. Panel members are:

  • Dan Weiner, Deputy Editor, American Journal of Kidney Diseases

  • Scott Gilbert, Education Editor, American Journal of Kidney Diseases

  • Melanie Hoenig, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

  • Nancy Adams, Chair, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Training Program Directors Executive Committee

  • Roger Rodby, Fellowship Program Director, Rush University Medical Center; ASN Board Review Instructor

  • Richard Lehman, World's smartest primary care doctor; author of the Journal Watch blog for the British Medical Journal

  • Jeffrey Berns, Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Nephrology; oh yes, and President of the National Kidney Foundation


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