Academic medical educators often find themselves a bit isolated in our day to day lives. Most of us are one of only one or two people in our academic department who have a strong interest in this area. Getting together regularly with like-minded individuals is often hard on a local level as you increase the layer of complexity of meeting with other educators due to their own teaching and clinical activities combined with their separate departmental conferences and grand rounds. Hence, finding a time to meet can be as difficult as trying to get the average academic physician to deliver timely formative feedback to a student on their performance.
I've been thinking about ways to improve connections between educators at a local level, and thought it may help to have a national (or international) level organization to add legitimacy that this is a worthy area of academic pursuit. This could in turn foster more resources to help educators get together on a local level. I am not aware of a major national professional association that is solely dedicated to improving medical education techniques and theory. When I have asked which meeting to go to to present and learn about medical education research, I've been pointed to the AAMC meeting. However, from looking at this meeting it is very large in terms of number of attendees, and includes much the administrative and policy side of running a medical school. Thus, I see it as being a valuable meeting, but the work on education theory and practice is only a part of a much bigger whole. The journal of the AAMC reflects these diverse interests, and again, is a worthy journal to read, but is more like JAMA than the Neurology. Each journal has its place, but one is able to present a wider breadth of research as it has more focus.
I would propose an association of medical educators with the goal of sharing and disseminating information about advances in medical education learning theory, and teaching skills. I would think including some ideas about administrative skills as they relate to running a clerkship or a basic science class would be included without losing focus. I'm not aware that such an association currently exists. Does anybody know of such a group? Is there a meeting that I have missed? I know there are some regional meetings (usually sub-groups of AAMC), but I don't think there is truly a national/international meeting about this. Anybody want to join me as the first members of a new Medical Education Society?