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Faculty Members Reach New Audiences with Speakers Bureau

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Faculty Members Reach New Audiences with Speakers Bureau

Faculty Members Reach New Audiences with Speakers Bureau
Karen Nitkin

Date: 05/08/2019

Every few months, head and neck surgeon Jonathon Russell travels to a community hospital in Pennsylvania, Maryland or New York to lead Grand Rounds.   

The trips are organized by the Johns Hopkins Medicine Community and Physician Grand Rounds Program, which matches interested Johns Hopkins faculty members with community hospitals seeking speakers for grand rounds, conferences or other events. 

“It’s a good way to get my name out and let people know what we can do at Hopkins,” says Russell, director of endoscopic and robotic thyroid and parathyroid surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  

The Grand Rounds program, informally known as the Johns Hopkins Medicine speakers bureau, averages 40 such bookings a year and is growing, says program manager Yasmine Sursock-Khouri, of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Marketing and Communications.

To sign up, faculty members can contact Sursock-Khouri and tell her their specialty as well as any topics they’re prepared to discuss. She will then match them with community hospitals requesting speakers on those topics.

Most of the community hospitals are within a three-hour drive, she says, and typically pay travel expenses plus a stipend. About half are in Maryland.

“It’s part of the educational mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine that we share our research and our work with other medical personnel,” she says. “It’s also a great way for our doctors to build their reputations.”

Surgeon Margaret Arnold has been leading Grand Rounds at community hospitals for a couple of years, sometimes as often as once a month. “I’m an extrovert at heart, and I enjoy teaching,” she says.  

She usually discusses her specialty, thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), a condition that can happen when the nerves or blood vessels to the arm are compressed by the first rib and muscles that make up the thoracic outlet.

“The syndrome is not something that a lot of people treat,” she says. “I try to dispel myths, and I always leave some time for questions. Some doctors have patients that they think may have TOS, and it opens a dialogue.”  

Both Arnold and Russell say the speakers bureau provides an easy way for them to share their expertise with nearby doctors, who usually earn continuing medical education credits for their participation.

“Lectures from the Johns Hopkins faculty have been the most well received of all of the activities that we have had,” says endocrinologist Ned Weiss, who has directed the continuing medical education program at Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania for three decades.

“If you can work it into your schedule, it’s a good opportunity,” says Russell. “It’s led to some referrals, and it’s given me an opportunity to highlight my niche and what I do at Hopkins. My advice: Definitely try it.”