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Preparing Your Abstract

  • Example Case Vignettes
  • Pick a Case
    Clinical vignettes are patient-related cases and scenarios that have educational value for a wider audience. Good cases come in many different flavors. Some are unusual diseases whereas others are unusual presentations of a common disease. Any case that illustrates a key point or points about diagnosis, management, or therapeutic decision making can make a good clinical vignette.
  • Identify a faculty sponsor to help with your case
    Generally ask the attending who cared for the patient first. If they decline, you can ask any other faculty (General Internal Medicine faculty are happy to help)
  • Write up your Abstract for Submission
    Guidance from 2 societies can be found here:
  • General Guidelines
    Clinical vignette title are often descriptive of the case being presented or humorous. Try not to give away the diagnosis in the title

    Learning Objectives
    Write two to three learning objectives for your clinical vignette A learning objective states what someone will as a result of reading your vignette presentation. Your learning objective should contain an action word such recognize, diagnose, assess, treat, distinguish or manage. A list of good action words is available here.

    Case Presentation
    Briefly summarize your patient’s presentation, workup, diagnosis, and treatment. This should not be comprehensive, but should include the key points of the case presented in a clear, organized and easy to read fashion.

    Discuss the main teaching points that your case illustrates. This may include a suggested diagnostic approach to a patient presenting with a specific problem and/or information about the diagnosis, management, or treatment of your patients specific diagnosis. When writing the discussion, think about what you want the reader to learn from your case.

Preparing Your Poster

  • General Guidelines
    Your clinical vignette has been accepted to a meeting and now it’s time to design the poster. Below are some tips to ensure you design the best poster possible.

    Your poster should have a definite sense of direction and flow. It should generally read from left to right. Learning objectives are usually top left followed by a description of the case. Far right is for references and conclusions/take home points. The middle is for pictures, diagrams, tables and other text to discuss your case and its key learning points.

    Avoid too much text
    The number one issue with many posters is too much text. Keep text to the minimum and use bullets, graphics, graphs, and pictures instead. See examples below.

    Use a simple sans serif font in a large size. Smallest font should be 18 point and 24-28 point font is commonly used.

    Keep it simple
    Present a few main ideas well. Make sure your poster clearly makes these teaching points and avoid overcrowding. The content of the poster should be able to be absorbed in 5 minutes or less.

    UAB Example Posters

    Poster Template Poster printing options

    UAB: Barbara McCarthy - Contact Barbara at 996-0811 - Poster Printing Request Form


Preparing Your Oral Presentation

  • Content
    • Build your talk on 2-5 key concepts, refrain from including everything you know
    • Maintain consistency between slides and talk
    • Know your audience and gear the talk to their skill level, beliefs, and motivations
    • Anticipate questions
    For a 10 minute clinical vignette presentation
    • Introduction and Learning Objectives: 1-2 slides
    • Case Description: 2-4 slides
    • Discussion: 2-4 slides
    • Take Home Points: 1 slide
  • Slides
    • Plan to spend about 30 seconds to 1 minute per slide
    • The audience will read 100% of the slide, delete any excess words
    • Use pictures or movies if you are able, but make sure they are readable from the back of the room
    • Check spelling, check again, and check a third time
    • Don't apologize for slides that no one can read. If it is too busy, distracting, or unreadable, redo the slide
    • Don't put your slides in your luggage. Always keep them within reach
    • Be prepared for e-mail or equipment failure: always have copies, on a portable storage device AND on paper
    • Blue background with white or yellow lettering is more readable
    • Use bullets rather than prose
    • Maximum 5-7 lines per slide, 7 words per line
    • Keep a consistent background throughout the presentation
    • Resist flying, bouncing, or other text or sound effects
    • Use upper and lowercase letters. All uppercase is difficult to read
    • Avoid italics. Use bold, change font size or color, or underline
    • Use sans serif fonts (Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Helvetica). Avoid distracting or "cute" fonts
    • Don't use more than 2-3 different fonts per presentation
    • Retype tables rather than photographing or copying from journal articles
    • Simplify
    • 2 column table, use < 5 rows
    • 3 column table, use < 3 rows
    • Bar Graphs: Maximum 8 separate bars, or 3 pairs
    • Line Graphs: Make each line a different color
    • Pie Charts: Start the largest piece at 12:00, move clockwise
    • Use arrows or other highlights to draw attention to the most important points
    • For Radiology: consider showing the entire picture in one slide, then zoom in to the area of importance on the next slide
    • For Pathology: consider showing a normal comparison next to your specimen
    • Highlight the important part of the picture (arrow or box)
  • Delivery
    • Familiarize yourself with the stage and the equipment before you start
    • Rehearse 2-3 times, to yourself, your colleagues, your pet, anyone. Consider audio or video taping yourself
    • Listen to feedback from your peers; use it to improve your presentation.
    • Speak slowly, pause between slides
    • Eliminate mannerisms, umms, errs, ahs
    • Use a conversational tone
    • Pay attention to the audience. They will give you clues if you are moving too quickly, if they are confused, or bored
    • Questions: repeat or rephrase the question, then answer it briefly
    • Don't run over time
    Laser pointers
    • Use both hands
    • Use the laser pointer to point, and then turn it off. You will distract your audience if the pointer is on all the time.
    • Move slowly through these slides
    • Orient them first to the symbols, axes, and content
    • Then point out the information that you want to emphasize
  • References
    • Estrada CA, et al. The 10-minute oral presentation: What should I focus on? Am J Med Sci 2005;329(6);306-309.
    • Heudebert GR, et al. The 35mm slide-Is blue better? JGIM 1990;5:273.
    • Estrada CA, et al. The art of oral presentations. SGIM Forum Newsletter
    • Varkey AB, et al. Speak like a pro: How to improve your lectures. SGIM Annual Meeting 2001.
    • Purrington C. Gratuitious advice on giving a talk. Swarthmore College.
    Prepared by Analia Castiglioni, MD, Amanda Salanitro, MD, MS, Erin Snyder, MD, Carlos Estrada, MD, MS