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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 615

Follow the Leader

1 Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA
2 Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

Date of Submission21-Jan-2011
Date of Web Publication29-Apr-2011

Correspondence Address:
D T Stern
1 Gustave L Levy Place, Box 1118 New York, NY 10029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 21710426

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How to cite this article:
Stern D T, Podolsky A H, Klotma P. Follow the Leader. Educ Health 2011;24:615

How to cite this URL:
Stern D T, Podolsky A H, Klotma P. Follow the Leader. Educ Health [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Oct 2];24:615. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Grand rounds is the single most important meeting each week for academic departments of medicine. It provides a venue to educate faculty on current findings in the field of medicine, fulfills continuing medical education (CME) requirements and provides a venue for chairs to announce new initiatives. However, attendance at this (often required) academic conference can be disappointing.

Techniques to improve attendance include sponsorship of grand rounds by a community agency, avoidance of the word ‘research’ in the title and presence of nationally recognized speakers1. In one study, researchers improved grand rounds attendance by 39% by implementation of five strategies: using electronic card readers to improve understanding of attendance; surveying faculty to discern attendee educational needs and preferences; creating special series and flexible timing to accommodate physician schedules; incorporating participation by internal medicine residents and faculty to increase engagement; and developing a multifaceted publicity approach of emails, flyers, brochures and posters to increase awareness2.

Additional methods to promote attendance might include ensuring punctuality and proper decorum of the lecturer, planning sessions in advance, giving multiple short talks within one session and increasing patient-centered focus2. Finally, researchers in one study also noted that attendance was increased 38.4% when complimentary food was offered3.

Our study examined internal medicine grand rounds participation at Mount Sinai Medical Center in order to understand and potentially increase physician attendance. At present, Mount Sinai employs the following tactics for improved turnout: requiring resident attendance; promoting programs at resident morning report; the Chair moderating the session; and noting individuals who do and do not attend. In addition, to receive CME credit, faculty members sign in to document their attendance at the internal medicine grand rounds. Mount Sinai also uses grand rounds attendance as part of a yearly 'citizenship' performance metric for attending physicians. All faculty members are expected to attend a minimum of 25 grand rounds lectures each year. In the process of creating the annual report of attendance, we recognized that some divisions of medicine had better overall attendance than others, and we began to theorize about factors that differentiated these divisions. 

We entered division chief attendance and average division faculty attendance rates into SPSS® for all eight fully-affiliated divisions of internal medicine. We counted the number of grand rounds topics in each discipline by identifying the primary divisional appointment of each speaker throughout the year (excluding 15 non-internal medicine-specific topics by outside speakers). We calculated Pearson correlation coefficients between average attendance of division members, attendance rates of division chiefs and number of topics in the corresponding discipline.

There was a significant correlation between division chief attendance rate and average rate of faculty attendance for the division overall (r=0.826, p=0.006), such that higher rates of attendance among heads of divisions correlated with higher rates of attendance among faculty within that division (Figure 1). There was no relationship between number of division-specific topics and average divisional attendance.

Our finding demonstrates a clear association between division chief attendance and attendance of divisional faculty. As an association, we do not know whether the chief is simply following the divisional norm or whether a division’s faculty are following the chief. However, this finding suggests that promoting division chief attendance at grand rounds may be a reasonable approach to enhancing general faculty attendance. 

Figure 1:  Grand rounds attendance by faculty and corresponding division chiefs

David T. Stern, M.D., Ph.D.
Anna Podolsky, A.B.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA


1 Kunik ME, Merritt SG, Dahlquist LM, Marks D. Correlates of psychiatry grand rounds attendance. Academic Psychiatry. 1993; 17(2):77-83.

2 Mueller PS, Litin AC, Sowden ML, Habermann T M, LaRusso NF. Strategies for improving attendance at medical grand rounds at an academic medical center. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2003; 78:549-553.

3 Segovis CM, Mueller PS, Rethlefsen NF, Litin SC, Tefferi A, Habermann TM. If you feed them, they will come: A prospective study of the effects of complimentary food on attendance and physician attitudes at medical grand rounds at an academic medical center. BMC Medical Education. 2007; 7(22).


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