The highest vote-earner and their mentor will get to choose either a brand new iPhone 5 or a Kindle Fire HD. Being popular isn’t everything… but sometimes it’s pretty darn cool.
“While our competition gives residents, medical and graduate students the chance to win prizes, the long-term benefit is that publishing to Curēus allows valuable poster content to live on and be shared, long after the conference at which they are presented. That’s truly priceless.” said Curēus President, Tobin Arthur.
Submit your posters by October 5 and compete with medical and graduate students from around the world in over 40 categories. These categories include all major medical specialties. The sooner you register the sooner you can begin promoting your poster.
I had the chance to chat with Mark Yarchoan, MD one of the key people behind launching the Curēus International Poster Competition.
Mark is a first year resident at the University of Pennsylvania and is the Director of the soon-to-be-launched Curēus Ambassador Program (medical students and residents).
Q) For a little background, tell us where you grew up and where you went for undergrad and medical school.
A) I grew up in Bethesda, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC. I completed my undergraduate degree at Amherst College and then went on to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Q) What attracted you to pursue a career in medicine?
A) My parents are both physician-scientists, and I think that attracted me to medicine from a young age. While growing up I also loved science class in school. However, choosing medicine was still a challenging decision for me because I was bothered by the idea of following in my parent’s footsteps, and I resisted by searching for alternative careers. I spent a summer living in a tent and catching bats for the National Park Service, thinking that I might want to be a field biologist. I also spent a year after undergrad as a medical reporter. It took me a while to settle on medicine as a career.
Q) As a first year resident, what has been the biggest surprise or most interesting experience so far?
A) I think one of the surprises I’ve come to recognize about medicine mostly since becoming a resident is that in the end, so much of patient care falls into a grey zone. Most of medical education is focused on learning facts; there is a right answer to every test question. However, in practice, there rarely is just one right answer because there simply isn’t specific data for the majority of medical decisions we make. This is partly what makes medicine so interesting, and why I think it’s a bit of an art.
Q) If you were to go back to medical school, is there anything you would have done differently in terms of preparing for/applying for Residency?
A) Medical school has become a multitude of important steps: basic science classes, clinically-oriented classes, tests, clinical evaluations, and then there are the national Step exams; and at each juncture I really had the sense that if I didn’t shine I might fall all the way down the staircase. In retrospect I wish I had spent more time just enjoying the privilege of becoming a doctor. Let me give you an example: I actually went through most of medical school never drawing blood from patients. Blood draws were not something we were expected to do on the wards, and blood drawing skills were never tested on any kind of exam. Instead, I spent time memorizing that Krabbe disease (1 in 100,000 births) is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme galactocerebrosidase because that occasionally showed up on tests. I wish I had just given up my one point on the test for not knowing about Krabbe’s disease and become the best in my class at drawing blood from patients with challenging veins. It’s something that in the end is much more important.
Q) Thinking back to creating your first poster, what is the biggest misconception you had about authoring a poster or what is something you now know that you wished you knew then?
A) Like a lot of other people, I greatly overestimated the time I had to sell my story to viewers. I thought that viewers would spend several minutes reading my poster. Instead, most people simply read the title, or perhaps look through the figures. That experience taught me to make as much information available as quickly as possible to the viewer: clear, concise titles; clean figures; a readable 30-second abstract.
Q) Did you have any good or interesting experiences creating or presenting posters that immediately come to mind?
A) The highlight of presenting a poster, at least for me, has always been meeting people who are in your field who came to learn about your research. This is part of the reason that I’m enthusiastic about Curēus. I think having posters archived online will prolong this period of discussion and increase peer interaction among researchers who might never have otherwise met.
Q) You have parents who are physicians, what is a lesson or two you have drawn from them regarding your medical training or career?
A) One thing my parents have valued throughout their career which I find very inspiring is constant learning. My parents are always reading journals and updated medical textbooks to keep up with innovation and change in medicine. Right now I’m in an environment where I’m constantly being taught by different senior residents, fellows, and attending doctors. However, at some point I’ll be at the top of the education chain and if I want to improve I’ll be forced to mostly teach myself.
Q) You have been doing some very interesting and specific work related to diabetes…can you elaborate a bit? What drew you to this area of research? Where do you want to see this go?
A) After college I worked as an associate for a diabetes information company, and I came to appreciate the extent that diabetes and obesity have become epidemics of our time. When insulin was first purified in the early 1920s, the NY Times and other newspapers of the time famously proclaimed that diabetes had been “cured.” I think people back then would have been shocked to find out just how many people a full 90 years later are living with diabetes, and more disturbingly, with life-altering complications of this disease. I also find the science of insulin signaling and glucose metabolism to be fascinating. I still don’t know what I want to do with my background in this area, but I do find it to be intellectually engaging and incredibly important.
Q) What has been the response from peers and medical students you have heard from with respect to the Curēus poster competition?
A) I think the whole Curēus model is quite different from the current state of publishing, and understandably it may take some time to catch on. However, my peers – young physicians and medical students – are the least entrenched in the current state of medical publishing and the most open to something truly new and different. And I think the overall response has been very positive.
You are competing with everyone for the attention of a few (1 minute of their time – MAX)
Catchy titles! Lure in the reader with a title that stands out from the crowd
E.g., One title I used was “The Panic Disorder Patient who Cried Wolf.” Clearly, this is not the title for the manuscript I eventually published (which was about information-processing biases and auditory perception in anxious individuals), but, it certainly piqued the curiosity of convention-goers.
BIG PRETTY GRAPHS ROCK!!!
Bullet-pointed text (similar to a talk). A few points of interest or “talking points,” but let the quality of your tables and graphs/images speak to the quality of your data!
No one has the time to read tiny text boxes (if the reader has to squint…you lose)!
Consider leaving out the abstract (so many words, and these words are redundant with what your poster will convey LOUDLY AND CLEARLY, also the abstract will be published in the Conference Proceedings anyway. On Cur?us, the title of your poster will be directly linked to your published abstract. In essence, your poster IS the abstract plus some cool graphic design effort!
What to include?
Background and Rationale
Specific Aims and Hypotheses
Summarize results in bullet pointed text
Don’t add a single bullet under a point. What’s the point in the bullet if the bullet IS the point?
Most of all, have fun with your work, have confidence in it, and BE CREATIVE!
Several months ago we started a revolution in medical publishing by offering tools for physician authors unlike any in the industry. Today we expand the revolution to include medical and graduate students, residents, fellows and anyone who has or will publish a medical poster. There are thousands of posters discarded after conferences every year and yet they represent hard work, creative thinking and many will lead to the next full academic papers.
Dust off those posters sitting on your hard drive and upload them to Cureus where they can receive new life.
To have some fun we are introducing our Fall 2012 International Poster Competition which includes a $1,000 Grand Prize and $100 prizes for each of our 40 categories. Each category will have a winner for a total of 40 First Place prizes. We are honored to have Varian Medical Systems participate as the sponsor of the competition. They are a company that values innovation and are strong supporters of physician authors who are pushing to advance medical science and discourse.
As authors you may submit any poster you have created over time and as many as you like. Once you upload your poster, its time to promote….get friends, family, professors etc. to come vote for your poster. The top 10 vote recipients in each category will make it to the final round where our esteemed Editorial Board members will select the Top 3 Winners in each category. Top 3 winners will get noted in their profile and can add this distinction to their CV…plus bragging rights.
Go to www.cureus.com/posters to get started.…the sooner your poster is submitted, the sooner you can begin getting votes and head toward victory.
John Adler, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University and Editor-in-Chief at Cureus, officially kicks off the Cureus Fall 2012 Poster Competition in his latest video.
Our Poster Competition is open to medical and doctoral students as well as residents and fellows. Poster submission period will be open until Friday October 5. Winners will be announced Monday October 22.
One Grand Prize Winner will receive $1,000 — along with cash prizes awarded for top posters in each category.
Who would have thought that the scores of posters you presented in medical school or graduate school, through residency, internship, fellowship and beyond, would contribute so effectively to the building of your CV? And the posters you might be drafting now AS a student…
Now, posters are not simply abstracts or listings in a Conference Proceedings, but once published on Cureus, they become fully visible in the world of medical knowledge. Beyond that, our users, editors and reviewers will gladly point you in the direction of turning that “outline” and those preliminary results into a publishable peer reviewed article, that also will be viewed by all as soon as it is submitted to Cureus.
Posters can now become published as unique citable entities. And “manuscripts in progress”/ “manuscripts under review”? Forget about that list! Cureus makes the “in progress” into actual progress and makes the “under review” into published in a matter of days rather than months or years.
Publish everything you have. Those piles of data are useful and the world wants to learn from them. You want a CV full of publications, right? Cureus will make that happen, and it will happen quickly, starting with a submitted poster!
The Curēus video team brought our cameras out to the Stanford University School of Medicine to start a conversation with students about why the process of creating Medical Posters is so important.
“For me posters are usually very useful for preliminary versions of figures and really to serve as a sounding board for ongoing research that will later be put into manuscripts —so it’s nice to be able to get that feedback.” Kail Miller, MD, PhD told Cureus.
Special thanks to Robert Lober, MD, PhD, Kail Miller, MD, PhD — MD canditates Abdullah Feroz and Marc Carmichael, PhD for participating in our video conversation.
I made my first scientific poster for the 2007 Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting in San Diego, which is recently enough to remember just how clueless I was about creating an effective poster for a scientific conference.
I was fortunate enough to have the guidance of my incredibly patient research advisor, Amherst College’s Professor Stephen George. Of course not everyone is lucky enough to have an advisor like him, and at every meeting I’ve ever been to at least one presenter shows up with a completely disorganized poster filled with cramped text, or a poster that is printed on a series of different pieces of paper. This is why I’m writing down a few things every first poster maker must know, starting with the most obvious.
A poster is a mini article, presented in bullets and pictures rather than text. Don’t re-invent the wheel; start by looking at successful posters and use their formatting and style as a loose guide for what works.
In time I hope that Cureus will become a resource for poster-makers to collaborate on poster design in addition to sharing scientific ideas. One of the most popular and basic poster tools is Microsoft PowerPoint, although many other software programs can be used as well. If using PowerPoint, make a 60 inch wide x 36 inch tall slide within the page setup menu, and use approximately font size 72 for titles and approximately font size 18 for body.
Organize your poster in a way that is broken down logically to tell a story and to sell a conclusion. Many posters break the presented information into “Background”, “Methods”, etc. In general you should be able to read all of the text in a poster in less than five minutes. Prof George once told me that if my college roommates couldn’t sit still long enough to understand what my poster was about, it probably had too many details and too much text.
Finally, give yourself lots of time to design your poster, even if all of your bullets and figures are ready to go. Formatting a visually attractive poster takes a lot of time.
John Adler, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University; Editor-in-Chief, Curēus, offers tips for “Selling Your Story” to authors of academic posters.
One of the main things to focus on is impressive visuals. This helps you grab the attention of your audience in a room full of posters. And since you have a short period of time to get your story across, visuals are critical. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Watch the video below.