You won’t need a plane ticket to attend AASLD’s newest educational event. The Liver Transplantation Journal Club kicks off on August 15 with a moderated Twitter discussion on the pros and cons of steroid weaning in transplant recipients with autoimmune hepatitis.
“It’s really just a modernized version of a traditional journal club. The Twitter journal club is basically a way to expand the traditional journal club by making it more accessible via a social media outlet,” said Avash Kalra, MD, the journal’s Associate Editor in charge of social media, who will serve as one of the moderators for the inaugural Journal Club.
The article that has been selected for discussion comes from one of the newer features in Liver Transplantation called “Controversies in Transplantation.” Each month a topic is selected, and authors are chosen to present the pro and con perspectives of the topic. The Journal Club discussion will take that debate a step further by allowing the authors and others to discuss the topic online through a live Twitter discussion.
“In our case, there’s a pro side written about weaning steroids in patients who have received a liver transplant for autoimmune hepatitis, and then there’s the con side to that particular practice,” said Dr. Kalra, who is the Transplant Hepatology fellow at the University of Colorado. “The idea being that this controversy in transplantation may generate interest and conversation from not just well known faculty and trainees in the fields of transplant hepatology, but also potentially even others in the general public.”
Though the date and time are subject to change, the discussion is currently planned for August 15 at 6:00 pm Eastern, and is open to anyone with an interest in the topic. It will take place on the Liver Transplantation Twitter account, using the hashtag #LTxJournalClub. Participants can follow that hashtag to see all of the posts on the topic and can participate by adding the hashtag at the end of their Tweet.
“This is the first time that there has been a Twitter Journal Club or a Journal Club in any social media platform from AASLD,” said Dr. Kalra, who noted that he’s hoping the social media outlet will bring those who not only wish to learn more about the topic, but also those who want to participate in the discussion. AASLD is particularly hoping that members of the Special Interest Groups, Emerging Liver Scholars and trainees will find the platform and discussion useful and interesting. Active AASLD members Joel Adler, MD (Transplantation Surgery fellow at the University of Wisconsin) and Yanik Bababekov (Surgical research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital) are helping coordinate the event as well.
“It’s possible that the population of the Emerging Liver Scholars are more active on social media than perhaps older faculty. Although I would say that generally speaking, a lot of faculty and leaders in the field are on Twitter, and I think it’s a really great avenue to try for medical education,” Dr. Kalra said.
The goal is for the Liver Transplantation Journal Club to have monthly events. Dr. Kalra said the platform also offers the advantage of allowing discussion of accepted papers and topics before official publication in the print journal.
“The other nice thing about the Twitter Journal Club is that, as opposed to waiting for a meeting presentation about research studies or research findings, we can provide a more real time or rapid dissemination of these kinds of findings,” he said. “So it’s even a way for journals to advertise content before it even comes out in the physical journal.”