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  • Writer's pictureEvie Clayton

Get Well Soon Journal Club

This post is just for me to introduce you, our community, to our Journal Club. The concept of Journal Club originally came from my lab team when I was doing my honours. We (me, the three PhD students, the Post Doc and our Supervisor) each had a selection of scientific journals that we were allocated, and each quantity of time (it was a few years ago now, I forget if we did it fortnightly or monthly) we had to review all the recent articles from our journals and pick one to share at Journal Club. We would then share them amongst ourselves, reading our own one in depth and having a quick squiz at everyone else’s. We would then present the information from that article, and then have a group discussion about what we thought about the content and quality of the article. Sort of like a book club for the emerging science in our field, only everyone read a different “book”. It was a way to keep us all accountable for engaging with the emerging science of our field and also a way to share the load.

So when Sam brought me on to the Get Well Soon team with part of my role being research, drawing on my science and science communications background, the plan was that I would be able to make sure we were well informed about all the various scientific and academic elements that are relevant to endometriosis, chronic pain, chronic illness, disability, medical misogyny, etc, etc. Things like the evidence behind medical misogyny, the history of gynaecology, racism in medicine, the opioid “crisis”; etc.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to work out how best to facilitate this; did I need to do all the research myself and then basically present it as a lecture series to my acrobats? Should I find look for experts in the fields and go about arranging guest speakers, to teach us about these topics; that one sounded great, but also needed a budget…. and then covid hit, and pretty much precluded that one.

Meanwhile I was accruing a large folder of relevant articles about stuff I knew I needed the team to be across, but I didn’t know how to get that information to them without expecting all of us to just to way more reading than any of us had the spoons for.

And then suddenly, I realised, I didn’t have to be overwhelmed by all this information; we could share the load! And thus Get Well Soon Journal Club was born, and we’ve since discussed medical misogyny and the opioid “crisis” in detail, and we’re scheduling more for some of the other academic/social issues that we think are important for us to know about and discuss. Because it seems pretty timely right now, our next Journal Club will be on racism in medicine.

I will be writing summaries of our discussions with links to the original articles as individual blog posts soon, and will continue to do this when we get back to our regular schedule of Journal Club (it got sidelined a bit by Create-a-Website Club instead the last few weeks).

If there’s interest, we’ve also discussed turning some of this content (or future Journal Club meetings) into video or podcast format, or even making them livestreams(?) so that people can join the discussion. Let us know what you think of these ideas.

Whoever thought I’d finally be using my science communications degree to make this sort of content accessible for a circus show and an arts community? Not me anyway. I think this outdoes my childhood dream of being a presenter on Catalyst.



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