Residents Rumble In Online Competition

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By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor

   For a few Tuesday nights out of the year, podiatric residents across the country will compete with fellow residents in other programs to test their knowledge. The game is not Jeopardy but the Residency Challenge, also known as the Residency Rumble, an academic tournament wherein residents from 76 programs draw upon their knowledge to answer questions on all aspects of podiatry.

   The brainchild of Podiatric Residency Education Services Network (PRESENT), these Tuesday night Web-based programs will occur four times a year, according to PRESENT CEO Alan Sherman, DPM. The winner of the fall Residency Challenge, sponsored in part by Merz Pharmaceuticals, was St. Joseph’s Hospital Bluemound in Milwaukee, Wis. The prize was a JVC plasma TV/ computer monitor.

   Dr. Sherman says the program allows residents to get together and build camaraderie.

    “It instilled a sense of pride in the residents for their program and a healthy competitiveness among the programs across the country,” points out Dr. Sherman. “There was also a good deal of David vs. Goliath spirit in these residents. Residents in smaller, lesser-known programs were very excited to have the chance to test their skills against their colleagues in larger, more high-profile programs.”

   The Residency Challenge simulates a DPM’s experience in the operating room, according to Dr. Sherman, who notes teams not only had to get the correct answer but had to deduce it quickly before the other team did. He says this type of situation prepares residents for a situation where they would need to remember and quickly apply a skill or technique in order to treat a patient in pain.

   Jennifer Suess, DPM, who participated in the fall Residency Challenge, noted the questions ranged from simple anatomy and microbiology to pharmacology and the names of surgical procedures. Dr. Suess, a first-year resident of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., says she and a couple of her fellow residents would connect on the phone and answer questions together.

    “In that sense, working together as a team was socially enhancing for the residents,” notes Dr. Seuss. “The ‘timing’ of the responses put an interesting spin on the Residency Challenge,” she says, adding that it was fun to anticipate which questions might be asked.

   She calls the PRESENT programs a “nice, basic introduction” to podiatric topics.

   Dr. Sherman says the next round of the Residency Challenge is in December and adds that PRESENT will also have a “Tournament of Champions” once a year that allows the four season winners to compete for “Champion of the Year” honors.

   For more information on PRESENT’s online courses, check out the Web site www.podiatry.com.

Study Emphasizes Safety Of Terbinafine

By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor

   Some patients and practitioners may have the impression that terbinafine (Lamisil, Novartis) causes liver problems. Richard Pollak, DPM, states this misperception is possibly due to experiences with older classes of antifungal drugs, not necessarily terbinafine. However, a new randomized study of over 500 patients confirms that the oral antifungal terbinafine is a safe drug.

   The study, “Hepatic Safety with Terbinafine: Reality vs. Perception,” which was presented as a poster at the American Podiatric Medical Association Annual Scientific Meeting in August, tracked 505 outpatients between the ages of 18 and 75. Each patient had moderate to severe dermatophyte-infected great nails and received 250 mg qd of terbinafine for 12 weeks.

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