The green team hit the buzzer on their table, and a green light bulb flashed before them. “What is heparin?” one of the residents called.
“That’s right!” Dr. Khan said, and Terry Touhy, administrative director of medical education and volunteers, added 200 points to the scoreboard at the front of the auditorium.
The four attending physicians (Dr. Clement Rose, Dr. Benjamin Friedman, Dr. Olumuyiwa Idowu, and Dr. Michael Bommarito) on the red team shook their heads. They had spent a good portion of the game arguing points when the other teams buzzed in before Dr. Khan finished the question at hand. For most of the game, the red team’s score remained in the negatives.
At the height of competition, Dr. Khan suggested the attending physicians pull themselves together and refill their coffee cups. In her office the next day she laughed, saying that she couldn’t fault the attending physicians for letting their students show them up; the game’s answers were freshest in the residents’ minds.
“It was a high energy game, and I felt that,” Dr. Khan said.
In 2004, she inherited the role of event organizer, which includes writing, producing and hosting (though Dr. Khan found a stand-in to host for her during the early years). This year, she and Dr. Keith Shulman, oncologist, developed the questions and picked the teams with the help of chief residents.
“It’s fun-based learning,” Dr. Khan said of why the game has continued for some 20 years. “It’s a way of imparting knowledge, a different way of teaching.”
For one question, a photo of a Weiss doctor known as “Dr. F” filled the screen. “Please name and spell both the old and new last names of this attending.” Dr. Khan said.
The teams debated. Finally the green team buzzed in and scored again: “Dr. F-I-N-O-C-C-H-I-A-R-O and Dr. J-A-W-O-R-O-W-I-C-Z.” By the second half of the game, their scores doubled the red and blue teams’ scores, and at game’s end, they had proven their worth to an audience of more than 50 of their peers and hospital faculty and staff.