Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick launches first-of-its-kind medical education podcast: The Fac Dev Lounge 

Dr. Sarah Gander, host of The Fac Dev Lounge, in the studio. (Photo: Zachary Pelletier)

It all started in January 2019 when long-time Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) faculty member, Dr. Sarah Gander, had an idea about how to reach those struggling to find the time to attend a faculty development session: a podcast.

“We explored the idea of a podcast in response to the busy schedules of physician faculty and how difficult it can be to prioritize faculty development,” says Dr. Gander, “We also thought there might an appetite for non-traditional topics that faculty may not want a full session on, but would be interested in learning more about through bite-sized segments they could easily consume on a walk or during a commute to work.”

Dr. Gander approached DMNB Faculty Development and Communications with her idea and, together, they spent the early months of 2019 brainstorming potential topics, guests, and the ways in which faculty members could earn credits for listening to the podcast. After a successful pitch to Dr. Jennifer Hall (Associate Dean, DMNB), they received approval for a trial run of three episodes and started recording in the spring.

The first three episodes of podcast were conceptualized as a sort of ‘Starter Pack’ for new listeners, starting off with a short introductory episode and then kicking into high gear with two of the topics most requested by New Brunswick faculty:

  • Episode 1: What Is the Fac Dev Lounge Podcast? – An Introduction w/ Alexandra Fournier [13:55]
  • Episode 2: Why Should You Take Care of You? – Chatting Self-Care w/ Wendy Stewart [48:20]
  • Episode 3: Why Do Students Seem So Entitled? – Talking Generational Differences w/ Rachel Ouellette [50:15]
  • Episode 4: Why We Must Listen to the Students’ Perspective w/ Naythrah Thevathasan (DMNB Class of 2022) [28:27]
  • Episode 5: Why I Miss the Students’ Voices Even in a Global Pandemic w/ Sarah Shares Messages from Learners [8:09]

By mid-summer, the episodes were ready to go and the podcast finally had a title: The Fac Dev Lounge. “[I wanted it to] feel like we are all just chatting around the doctor’s lounge,” Dr. Gander says of the name, “Relaxed, transparent, and safe.”

The DMNB Faculty Development team then circulated those first three episodes to a focus group of faculty members for feedback and were pleased with the response. “Loved the new format for faculty development material,” wrote one faculty member, “[It was] very engaging … and a nice way to present educational and sometimes challenging material. [It] also allows for getting to know a very human side of colleagues we may not otherwise get to know. Humanizing our colleagues is a nice way to feel more connected to our greater medical community.”

Taking faculty input into consideration, Dr. Gander along with DMNB Faculty Development and Communications spent some time fine-tuning The Fac Dev Lounge and, in November, they were greenlit for twelve new episodes in 2020!

“DMNB Faculty Development takes pride in being responsive to our faculty's teaching needs – we are always looking for ways to innovate delivery models and increase engagement,” says Dr. Lisa Searle (Director of Faculty Development, DMNB) of The Fac Dev Lounge, “To our knowledge, faculty development podcasting is not part of faculty development programming at other institutions so we look forward to seeing how this can be used to as a model for others. Yet another opportunity for DMNB to show its strength as a small program that can accomplish big things!”

The first three episodes of The Fac Dev Lounge are currently available for listening on:

Whether you are a new or experienced faculty member, a student, or a member of the community with an interest in medical education, like and subscribe to The Fac Dev Lounge – and stay tuned for new content in 2020!

Have any comments, questions or suggestions for future podcasts? Email Angela Hogan at angela.hogan@dal.ca 

If you are a faculty member, you can claim MCO Section 2 credits for each full-length podcast episode. Also, please send any medical education questions you would like to hear addressed on The Fac Dev Lounge to dalmedicalpodcast@gmail.com.