Published March 3, 2021
Alex Trebek would have been proud.
Nine trainees in the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Fellowship Program in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences competed recently for bragging rights and a cash prize in the first GI Jeopardy competition.
Conducted virtually through online videoconferencing, the event featured three teams of three fellows each competing from three different clinical training sites: Buffalo General Medical Center, Buffalo VA Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center.
The event was hosted by Sultan Mahmood, clinical assistant professor of medicine, who is co-director of the GI fellowship program with Thomas C. Mahl, professor of medicine. Both physicians are in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
“We are always looking for creative ways to make the education and learning process fun for everyone,” Mahmood says. “’Jeopardy’ is a great way to inspire friendly competition between the fellows. To further incentivize the fellows, we also offered a winning prize of $200.”
The competition featured a Jeopardy board of six categories with questions ranging from $200 to $1,000 in each category. The first team to type “what is” in the videoconference chatbox after a question was revealed was given the first crack at answering.
Each team had 30 seconds to answer and negative marking was used for incorrect answers, just like in the “Jeopardy” game show. Among the categories were “Inherited Liver Disease,” “Fecal Incontinence” and “Biliary Stricture!”
Mahmood says in-training exam scores were used to identify areas of weakness for the fellows, with the topics with the highest yield chosen as categories.
“The topics were announced in advance to give the fellows enough time to prepare,” he says. “I thought the fellows were really well prepared and did a good job answering some really difficult questions.”
Mahmood points out that although the impetus of the competition was to improve and gauge medical knowledge, it achieved much more than that.
“It gave an opportunity for the fellows to socialize during the game and develop friendly rivalry while maintaining mutual respect with the opposition and their teammates,” he says.
“Team members frequently questioned the reasoning and contributions of others on the team before negotiating a final answer,” he adds. “This teamwork and communication may enhance working relationships that could have an impact on health care teams in the clinical setting as well.”
Mahmood says the friendly competition was a nice change of pace during the global health pandemic, which has impacted all training programs.
“The pandemic caused significant disruptions to our regular schedules, especially during the first wave,” he says. “However, we are proud to say that we adapted rather quickly and developed a ‘COVID curriculum’ with a special conference series on a daily basis for the fellows.
“These sessions are mostly discussion-style, focusing on new developments and challenging cases, and are moderated by the faculty,” Mahmood adds.
He says the program plans to make the competition an annual event, with the second installment tentatively scheduled for February 2022.
The nine fellows who participated in the GI Jeopardy competition were Muddasir Mohammad Ayaz, Elizabeth Z. Gregory, Erin K. Ly, Thomas Malikowski, Joshua Kevin Matrachisia, Umair Minhas, Tiberiu G. Moga, John D. Picano and Muhammad Tahir.
The winning team members were Gregory, Picano and Tahir.