#NephMadness 2017: NephMadness in Training

NephMadness is a great way to start a discussion about a host of nephrology concepts. We are encouraging residency and fellowship programs to make this a project for the whole program: every resident or fellow can submit their own bracket and then, as a group, submit a collective, program-wide bracket.

To encourage participation and learning, we have a variety of prize categories:

  • The fellowship or residency program with the top score will win a “Prize”
  • The fellowship or residency program with the most entries will win “Prizes”
  • The resident, fellow, student, and attending with the highest scores will all win “Prizes”

“But how can I convince all of my residents to learn and fellows to play the game?” you ask.

We suggest flipping the classroom. The idea is have residents/fellows review the regions on their own so they have a sophisticated understanding of the 32 concepts that make up the field. They can start with NephMadness 101, and then read the scouting reports below to get an idea of this year’s concepts:

  1. Biomedical Research: Benjamin D. Humphreys | @HumphreysLab
  2. Diabetic Nephropathy: Anna Burgner | @annaburgner
  3. Dialysis: Jonathan Himmelfarb | @xpotasn
  4. Disparities in Nephrology: L. Ebony Boulware | @ebonyboulware
  5. Genetics: Matthew G. Sampson | @kidneyomicsamps
  6. Glomerulonephritis: Richard J. Glassock
  7. History of Nephrology: Neil Turner | @neilturn
  8. Nutrition: Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh | @kamyarkalantarz


  • Assign different learners to represent different regions and deputize them as content experts, with the expectation that they would dig deeper than the scouting reports.
  • Tell the residents to complete their own draft brackets on paper before they come to the session.

Click to download a PDF of the bracket

The Classroom Experience

When residents come to the session, use the following slide presentation to guide the group through the brackets.

Presentation for Keynote

Presentation for PowerPoint

Presentation in PDF Format

Use consensus to fill out a group bracket. The Tourneytopia site works just fine on a phone, tablet, or laptop.

Reminder: there are no right or wrong answers. The purpose of the exercise is to get people discussing and learning about various concepts in nephrology. When you are filling out the brackets, you are making value judgements on ideas that are objectively difficult (impossible?) to value.

The winners of each round in Nephmadness are determined by a Blue Ribbon Panel of judges. It is a mixture of training program directors, renal physiology/pathophysiology instructors, and AJKD current and former editors:

  • Nancy D. Adams @NancyDayAdams: Chair, ASN Training Program Directors Executive Committee
  • Jeffrey S. Berns @Jeff_Berns_POTD: Co-Deputy Editor, AJKD
  • Michael J. Choi: @Mike_J_Choi: President, National Kidney Foundation
  • Scott J. Gilbert: Former Education Editor, AJKD
  • David S. Goldfarb @weddellite: Chief of Nephrology, NY Harbor VA Medical Center; Clinical Chief of Nephrology, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Stanley Goldfarb: Education Editor, AJKD
  • Melanie P. Hoenig @melhoenig: Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Roger A. Rodby @NephRodby: Profesor, Fellowship Program Director, Rush University Medical Center
  • Daniel E. Weiner @dwein003: Policy Forum Editor, AJKD

We advise the Blue Ribbon Panel to pick the more exciting, more important, more evidence-based, more likely to shape the future of nephrology, or in fewer words, the more important concept.

Last note: You need to get going on this. The entry period ends at 11:59pm EDT on March 24th. So send out that mass e-mail to your fellows or residents today. We’ve even provided a template for you below:


It is time for NephMadness. This is an annual, online, educational game sponsored by the AJKD Blog. It is March Madness but for nephrology. On [Thursday] at [Noon] we will be filling out a program-wide bracket. Before the session, you need to read the background information on the AJKD Blog (www.ajkdblog.org). To increase your chances of winning a prize, you should also submit your own individual bracket here (nephmadness.com). See you there.

Your training program director

What are you waiting for? Start challenging your rival programs now and see who has what it takes to win the big dance.

Submit your picks! |  NephMadness 2017  | @NephMadness | #NephMadness 

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