Why our newest KeyLIME host views the podcast as the next frontier of research and mentorship
For the first time since its launch in 2014, the Royal College’s popular KeyLIME podcast is adding a new host. Lara Varpio, PhD, will join the three founding hosts — Dr. Jason Frank, Dr. Jonathan Sherbino and Dr. Linda Snell — on the weekly medical education program that has so far reached 100,000 listeners. Her first podcast will be June 11, 2019.
Research methodologies and the “philosophy behind the numbers”
Each episode of KeyLIME — Key Literature in Medical Education — discusses one medical education paper. The addition of Dr. Varpio will add a new perspective that has been missing so far: the point of view of a PhD-trained scientist who can help explore and explain the research methodologies behind each paper.
A professor of medicine, Dr. Varpio says she hopes to be able to answer some of the questions that get asked about research methodology during the podcast.
“There are lots of different ways to engage in scientific research,” she says. “I’m hoping to add some additional nuance about different kinds of scientific rigour to help round out the conversation.”
With a background in the humanities and social sciences, Dr. Varpio says she’ll address some of the “philosophy behind the numbers” in the papers being discussed, noting that medical education research comes from a variety of fields, stretching from philosophy to anthropology, biology and engineering.
“These different perspectives are really important if we are trying to understand the culture of clinical care centres, for example, or issues around diversity.”
KeyLIME as virtual mentorship
Dr. Varpio admits to being both honoured and “a little nervous” about joining the popular trio in hosting the podcast. “Because I think they are such a dynamic team.”
She says it may sound cliché but she’s volunteering her time with KeyLIME as a way to give back.
“I have been really lucky. I have a great career in medical education because I was trained by some of the best researchers in the field. I wouldn’t have been successful without great mentorship.”
Dr. Varpio laments that sometimes mentorship isn’t available to everyone. But, KeyLIME’s reach helps address this challenge, she says, and reflects the need for the medical education community to think differently about mentorship.
“The idea of one person being locally mentored by a senior professor is a model that doesn’t hold water anymore,” she says. “Medical education is a small but growing community that spans the globe. We need to think of our research findings, our collaborations and our mentorship efforts as extending far beyond the walls of our institutions. If this podcast is a way I can support the success of others in our international community, then I’m grateful to have that opportunity.”
Dr. Varpio is internationally recognized for her expertise in qualitative research methodologies and methods. Her current research uses qualitative methodologies and methods, integrated with theories from the social sciences and humanities, to investigate questions relating to how individuals (e.g. clinicians, patients, researchers, etc.) collaborate and perform in teams.
“I’m just so honoured that I was the person that Jason, Jon and Linda wanted to join their conversations,” says Dr. Varpio of her new KeyLIME hosting duties. “I take our medical education community really seriously and I think that KeyLIME is an amazing resource for our community. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”