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Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open


Virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) facilitate distance learning and mentorship by engaging members around shared knowledge and experiences related to a central interest. The American College of Emergency Physicians and Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association's Global Emergency Medicine Student Leadership Program (GEM‐SLP) provides a valuable model for building a VCoP for GEM and other niche areas of interest. This VCoP facilitates opportunities for experts and mentees affiliated with these national organizations to convene regularly despite barriers attributed to physical distance. The GEM‐SLP VCoP is built around multiple forms of mentorship, monthly mentee‐driven didactics, academic projects, and continued engagement of program graduates in VCoP leadership. GEM‐SLP fosters relationships through (1) themed mentoring calls (career paths, work/life balance, etc); (2) functional mentorship through didactics and academic projects; and (3) near‐peer mentoring, provided by mentors near the mentees’ stage of education and experience. Monthly mentee‐driven didactics focus on introducing essential GEM principles while (1) critically analyzing literature based on a journal article; (2) building a core knowledge base from a foundational textbook; (3) applying knowledge and research to a project proposal; and (4) gaining exposure to training and career opportunities via mentor career presentations. Group academic projects provide a true GEM apprenticeship as mentees and mentors work collaboratively. GEM‐SLP mentees found the VCoP beneficial in building fundamental GEM skills and knowledge and forming relationships with mentors and like‐minded peers. GEM‐SLP provides a framework for developing mentorship programs and VCoPs in emergency medicine, especially when niche interests or geographic distance necessitate a virtual format.

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