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Does Diversity Help in a CME Career?

Where did you come from?

No, please, don’t misunderstand, I am not talking about where babies come from. No need to go that far back. Let’s stick with the adult you who somehow found your way into a CME career.

I was talking with Frank Berry of the Maryland State Medical Society about the depth and breadth of experience that people bring into the field of CME courses.  He suggested it would be great to show taped vignettes at the Alliance conference of people discussing their entry experience into a CME career. Frank thinks this vignette helps those new in the profession to understand that we are a diverse group.

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Should CME Professionals be Certified?

Since 2008 the field of CME has offered a certification to professionals working in the field of continuing education in the health professions. Almost all professions have some sort of professional certification.  My friend Peggy Wolfe who is a realtor in St. Petersburg, FL has gobs of certifications.  She is certified in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, certified in international real estate transactions, etc.  Attorneys and CPA have certifications.  The certifications in most of these fields are not demonstrating EXCELLENCE in the field but rather a well-rounded comprehensive experience and knowledge in that field. 

When professionals in CME began seeking certification in 2008 to be recognized first as a CCMEP (Certified Continuing Medical Education Professional) and now as a CHCP (Certified Healthcare CPD Professional), I thought this was a good idea. I still think it is a good idea and plan to renew my own certification. Certification gives an individual professional recognition and a degree of credibility.  Remember it does not test the individual for excellence in the field but rather an overall competence and degree of professional experience.

Why are CME certification numbers declining?

At first, many early adopters jumped in to take the exam and become certified.  The numbers are declining now.  I wonder why?  Is this certification of value?  Is it relevant to employers and has the certification led to increased credibility of the CME professional?  Currently there are about 400-500 people who are certified.  But how many work in CME?  There are about 3,000 accredited providers in the US.  Let’s say those CME departments range from the one man show to medical education companies with a 100 employees.   I don’t know, but I’ll throw out a guess that there might be 15,000 people working in the field.  What do you think? What is the future of certification? Will we ever get 10 to 20% of professionals working in the field certified?



Forming Lasting CME Partnerships

Forming a good partnership in business can be a wonderful thing, both professionally and personally.  What do I like about a good partnership?  I get to interact with people I like and respect.  Hopefully the work load is shared because shared learning among the partners is key to making a successful partnership.  For example, Elsevier Office of CME partnered with the Canadian Neurological Society to extend Canadian Royal College MOC credit for a symposium that occurred on July 26, 2016 in Toronto.  This is a great CME partnership – mutually beneficial, full of shared information and time sensitive cooperation.  I like Dan Morin, Executive Director, and he certainly taught me a lot about the Canadian system.  Thanks to Dan for making this a wonderful partnership. 

Making it Work

After trying several methods of communication, we found that a brief phone call in the late afternoon is best to keep the project moving forward, discuss progress and resolve issues.  One of the things that started our relationship smoothly was drafting a Memorandum of Understanding. The memorandum committed to paper all of the “facts” such as: who is responsible for what, when, by whom, with whom, and how much does it cost.  While sorting out the “facts” was certainly important it was also important to set the tone of the relationship.  It starts with three “tone setting” paragraphs.  The first two detail what the partners are committing to and accountable for, and the third paragraph details what the members of the partnership can expect.  The third paragraph states: 

Members of the Partnership groups expect:

  • that each member will be provided with complete, accurate and meaningful information in a timely manner
  • to be given reasonable time to make key decisions
  • to be alerted to potential risks and issues that could impact the project, as they arise
    open and honest discussions
  • ongoing ‘health checks’ to verify the overall status and ‘health’ of the partnership.

I like this section for the tone and intent that it sets.  I would be interested in hearing from others.  What makes a good partnership?  What do you expect of partners?  What should partners expect from you?  Please join me in this discussion.