EMPOWER 2011 – Get Embattled!

Stanley Medical College, Chennai, India
June 17 and 18th, 2011

Empower is an all India Intercollegiate Medical Quiz. It has been a regular event at our college since 2005. It is one of the most competitive quizzes in the country. The innovative and stimulating rounds make it a truly singular event. This year we were hoping to get representation from all over India. Last year we started a Medical Case Report Presentation Competition called Eureka alongside it and was well received.

We spare no efforts to make it a memorable event for the participants. The experience from the last five years made us start our preparations 6 months in advance, so that adequate publicity was ensured and no stone is left unturned. We sent out posters to about 250 colleges, personally went and spoke to students in about 30 medical colleges. The personal approach went a long way in getting us a good participation. Our video teasers spurred a huge number of hits on our website.

INFORMER had been instrumental in helping our event reach out to the medicos in a bigger way. With the help of INFORMER we also roped in the prestigious British Medical Journal Case Reports, Australasian Medical Journal and the Indian Council of Medical Research to support the event.

The end result was that we had over 100 entries for Eureka this year. We wanted to have a thorough quality check on all the abstracts submitted. Hence all case reports submitted were sent to the panelists after blinding of participant information. About 27 entries made it to the final pitch. The panelists were pushing us to increase the number of presentations as they found that some good reports didn’t make it.

We wanted to give the delegates a genuine conference feeling. From the start of preparations we were constantly churning out and testing ideas on our drawing board. A lot of them made it to reality. Right from the flags at the entrance to the well decked up Auditorium, we made sure that it would be an even they won’t forget. At the end of several months of hard work, it was a pleasing sight to see a crowd of about 600 delegates at the inauguration.

Eureka had over 100 delegates submitting their case reports from across the country with 27 candidates making to the final event. The event was conducted on 17th June in four sessions with about 7 cases each in Medicine, Paediatrics, Surgery and Obstetrics-Gynaecology. Some of the interesting entries were Rosai Dorfman Syndrome, Gigantism Sotos with mass abdomen, Myasthenic Crisis and Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy Related Pulmonary Edema, Adult Pancreatoblastoma, etc. Our panellists included eminent judges in the field from other prestigious institutions and they made sure each of the participants prepared adequately and only the best presentations got to compete finally. The first prize in each session bagged the gold medal and a cash prize of Rs 3000. We hope that such an event, shall build greater interest in young medical students to spot the seemingly rare presentations and uncommon cases, with greater care and vigil. Eureka is a national and competitive platform. It, thus, encourages the habit of scientific writing in young students, who will go ahead to be future academicians of the country and add significantly to the existing medical knowledge in their peak years.

This year, the 7th EMPOWER, teams from all over India were battling out for the final six spots. The final six teams witnessed the toughest of fights with a total of seven rounds in the final. Each round had a graphic touch with a special introduction designed by our very own home-grown Stan Grafix Studio. The first round had questions relating to famous personalities with medical disorders. It was followed by the Skills round, a new concept which tested the contestant’s skills in reading ECG, Partogram, Ryles Tube Insertion, Death Certificate writing and so on. There were buzzer rounds which upped the ante and kept the teams on their toes. The most appreciated event which kept the delegates on edge was the Bluffmaster round –a hallmark of Stanlean way of quizzing. In this round one team makes a bluff and the others don’t allow the bluff to survive, if they do, they score negative marks at the cost of the bluffing team taking away the points. No mediquiz is complete without the Clinical Round and the Rapid Fire. The teams from JIPMER made it to the top two spots while Madras Medical College came third. Madame Esther Memorial Rolling Trophy and Cash prizes Rs 15,000, 10,000, and 5,000 were awarded to the teams respectively. Empower 2011 was a visual treat and we kept the audience on the edge by throwing questions at them randomly during the quiz.

We faced numerous obstacles, such situations demanded innovative solutions. The very thing required of the head of the organizing team, is a delicate balancing act and to hold the organizing team together. Sometime stress levels skyrocketed and it was the members of the organizing team kept each other afloat when all was at sea. Overall, it takes great perseverance to conduct an event on this scale whether dealing with the sponsors, to making arrangements for food or audiovisual aids.

The most satisfying thing at the end is, when we have the participants saying “Great Job!” or “We thoroughly enjoyed our time here, we learnt a lot, thank you very much!!!” or even our friends and faculty saying “This was the best Empower of all time!”

Sajjadh Mohamed
Stanley Medical College, Chennai