Introducing the MEDICS Initiative
Posted on 25th November 2021 by Lathan Liou
MEDICS (short for Medical Education in Data Interpretation Curricula in Statistics) is now one of S4BE’s partners! The primary vision of MEDICS is to ensure a fundamental level of medical statistics and risk communication of medical results for medical students. It was founded by Lathan Liou, who received his MPhil from the University of Cambridge in Epidemiology, and is now a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, USA. MEDICS was inspired by the work of the Winton Centre, which addresses risk communication more broadly across various fields.
In our increasingly data-driven medical ecosystem, we need to provide our future healthcare professional workforce with the fundamental skills necessary to convey research findings effectively and appropriately. This is so that ultimately, patients and providers can make the best-informed decision together. MEDICS should, in my opinion, be provided at the medical student level. Students at the beginning of their educational journey may not recognize the full significance of presenting medical outcomes to patients. On the other hand, physicians who are no longer in formal education may have limited time and capacity to learn these skills.
We aim to address this challenge in primarily two phases:
- Grassroots: Create open-source easily digestible materials (such as this infographic) and workshops that cover important aspects of risk communication
- Institutional: Engage in discussion with medical school administration and accreditation bodies for how to integrate risk communication formally in medical education curricula
Some example points of risk communication of medical statistics that we’d like to improve include understanding:
- How to communicate estimates (risk ratios, odds ratios, hazard ratios)
- How to interpret confidence intervals and p-values
- How to contextualize estimates based on study design
For more details, please read our white paper. It is important to note that MEDICS aims to provide a baseline level of understanding. As such, it is not meant to be a statistics course. There are many statistics courses and educational resources out there. We do not expect every healthcare professional to become a statistician. However, we believe there are skills all healthcare professionals should acquire independent of their mathematical background or aptitude.
We’re looking for bright S4BE students like you to get involved with either the creation of educational materials or the planning and programming of the MEDICS initiative. If you’re interested, please feel free to send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org!