My residency research project was on the glorification of gout in 16th- to 18th-century literature.
While the other residents were investigating parental attitudes to the (then new) varicella vaccine, and interviewing injection drug users about why they routinely cut their hospital stays short, I had my nose buried in old issues of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. My preceptor encouraged me to pick a topic that I enjoyed, and I did just that.
We concluded our final year with a research day. We were assigned to one of three rooms to give our presentations, which ran back-to-back throughout the day. When we weren't giving our own talks we attended the ones that most interested us.
There was a prize. It was something paltry, a $30.00 gift certificate to the Health Sciences Bookstore or something, but few things motivate doctor types more than the chance to win a prize. My colleague always says that our clinic administrators could get us to do anything if they just hung a star chart in the office.
So I was determined to win. The room was packed when I did my presentation, which went without a hitch.
At the end of the day, we gathered in a study hall for the day's concluding remarks and the announcement of the prize-winning research project.
It wasn't mine.
And when I saw what we had been graded on, I knew why. One of the categories was 'relevance.'
Anyway, I feel somewhat vindicated, because (a condensed version of) my paper was published in the CMAJ this week.
Although I got chest pains when I saw that they had edited a comma splice into the final sentence of the article.