Washington University in St. Louis Nephrology Pathology Series

Increasingly, medical learners at all levels are seeking out medical education online.  Medical students are no longer going to lectures, but instead streaming them online in a study location of their choice.  Residents and fellows are using all forms of online content such asTwitter journal clubs, blogs, and online videos.  Everyone is reading prominent journals online rather than using the paper format.

The Washington University in St Louis Nephrology Pathology series on Youtube.com created by Timothy Yau, MD, is using video to teach nephrology.  It is a widely praised and in 2016 the American Society of Nephrology awarded Dr. Yau with the Innovations in Kidney Education Award.

The format is very similar to what most medical learners would experience in their weekly teaching sessions at their home training programs.  Dr. Yau presents a brief patient history that prompts the need for a kidney biopsy.  Dr. Joe Gaut, a nephropathologist, then guides a fellow through the histology describing what is seen in the Light, IF, and EM stains.  In essence, the fellow gets to practice being a pathologist, and has an expert walk them through the steps in a low-stress environment.  Additional web episodes have included other formats including traditional lectures, board review, medical jeopardy, and most recently a patient presentation dealing with vascular access.  The videos are generally under 30 minutes and a new episode is published monthly with free access on Youtube.com.  The videos are available on any device that has a screen and a reliable internet connection, allowing educational access to a global audience.  With the support of many other nephrology social media avenues, the series enjoyed a successful first year with over a thousand subscribers, and is endorsed by other well known online sources Renal Fellow Network, AJKDBlog, and NephJC.

This is a novel source of nephrology teaching that is easily accessible for all learners.  I have viewed every episode and learn salient details of kidney pathology with each episode that I might miss without the expert guidance of the pathologist.  The images are clear and easy to follow with expert descriptions to accompany the slides.  Pathology can be a difficult subject area for nephrology fellows to master, as the quality of teaching is highly variable depending on their training location. Additionally, some smaller training programs lack an on-site nephropathologist.  Traditional formats of reading biopsies during conference in front of your peers can be stressful and panic-inducing, whereas this learning from behind a screen can be done at your own pace.  Understanding the pathology of a particular renal disease reinforces your knowledge of exactly what is happening to you patient.  When you understand the pathology on a cellular level, the clinical signs and symptoms are easier to comprehend.  These videos are a fantastic resource to learn de novo or for personal testing in preparation for a board exam. 

Congratulations to Dr. Yau on your success and recognition of a great contribution to #SoMe.  Be sure to follow the Washington U Nephrology Youtube.com channel.

Gates Colbert, MD

NSMC Intern 2017