The Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP), the “go-to” resource for internal medicine update on the practice and also board preparation published by the American College of Physicians (ACP), has worldwide circulation of about 1/2 million physicians. ACP recently released its eighteenth edition, MKSAP 18. Dr. Vikas Majithia served on the Author Committee for Rheumatology in this edition as well as the last version, MKSAP 17. MKSAP is released every 3 years and each new edition contains 100% new text and multiple-choice questions. There are 11 committees and peer reviewers that encompass more than 200 expert subspecialty physicians. Dr. Jeremy Jackson in Dermatology also served on the MKSAP 18 Dermatology Committee.
Keep reading for an interview with Dr. Vikas Majithia, Division Director of Rheumatology about his experience with MKSAP.
You have served on the MKSAP committee for 6 years now. What made you want to become involved?
We all became physicians to make a difference in people’s lives and being a teacher amplifies this impact enormously. I had a huge interest in serving on the MKSAP committee and to be a writer for such an impactful publication and ability to teach and influence not only the trainees but also practicing physicians. Furthermore, its extensive international circulation is inspiring.
How did you become involved?
I have been a part of the rheumatology educators’ community for the last 15 years and served on various committees of American College of Rheumatology and ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine). Due to my heavy involvement, connections and reputation, I was invited to be a part of the MKSAP 17 Rheumatology committee. There is also a call of interest which is put out once every 3 years for rheumatology educators interested in serving on the committee. I was also lucky that our committee performed exceptionally and all of us were invited back to serve on the MKSAP 18 committee, which happens rarely.
Tell us about the process. How are questions made and selected?
The initial orientation is an in-person 2-day meeting. We spend that time setting goals, expectations, and learning about the process. The initial meeting also includes a brief training on writing questions. Afterwards, everyone is expected to write text and a required number of questions. There are 2-3 ACP physicians on the committee and 1-2 editors and professional writers who transform the preliminary questions into more effective, operative questions and perform an external audit. The questions we submit come out very polished and professional after the entire process. Then, there is another 2-day in-person meeting to review text and each question in detail. Usually, the top 80% of questions are selected to be in the final book based on internal review and beta testing.
What advice would you give to trainees and young faculty to become more involved in regional and national organizations?
Always seek and try – that is why we became physicians. Organizations can be very helpful to your personal/career mission, represent you and advocate for your patients and also make a tremendous difference to your cause. Get your name out there and make connections. Volunteer often and volunteer smartly. Find a mentor who can advise, advocate and train.