As the definition of scholarship is clarified, each specialty should develop a cadre of medical education researchers who can design, test, and optimize educational interventions. In 2004, the Association for American Medical Colleges Group on Educational Affairs developed the Medical Education Research Certificate (MERC) program to provide a curriculum to help medical educators acquire or enhance skills in medical education research, to promote effective collaboration with seasoned researchers, and to create better consumers of medical education scholarship. MERC courses are offered to individuals during educational meetings. Educational leaders in emergency medicine (EM) identified a disparity between the "scholarship of teaching" and medical education research skills, and they collaborated with the MERC steering committee to develop a mentored faculty development program in medical education research. A planning committee comprising experienced medical education researchers who are also board-certified, full-time EM faculty members designed a novel approach to the MERC curriculum: a mentored team approach to learning, grounded in collaborative medical education research projects. The planning committee identified areas of research interest among participants and formed working groups to collaborate on research projects during standard MERC workshops. Rather than focusing on individual questions during the course, each mentored group identified a single study hypothesis. After completing the first three workshops, group members worked under their mentors guidance on their multiinstitutional research projects. The expected benefits of this approach to MERC include establishing a research community network, creating projects whose enrollments offer a multiinstitutional dimension, and developing a cadre of trained education researchers in EM.
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