5 Minutes With…Scott Kober

We are now just a shade under one month away from CMEpalooza Spring (yikes!), so we thought it would be a good time to introduce a new feature on the blog called “5 Minutes With…”. These will be quick interviews with an individual from each of the CMEpalooza Spring sessions and we’ll be asking them each two questions:

  1. What is your CME story?
  2. What can we expect from your CMEpalooza Spring session?

To kick things off, I forced Scott to do a “5 Minutes With…Scott Kober” session so we could practice. He was less than thrilled about it, but was a good sport and did a nice job. I, on the other hand, am battling a vicious cold which has left me stuffed up and a little loopy and prone to ramble (at least, that’s what I’m blaming it on…). Anyway, here’s the video. Enjoy!

A Brand New Palooza Quiz

Since the initial Palooza quiz I developed back in the fall using Sporcle was so widely praised and played, I figured I’d create a sequel. My logic is that sequels are always better than the original (see Godfather 3, Police Academy 5, etc.).

Here is the link to the quiz — http://www.sporcle.com/games/bakeet14/palooza2.

There is even a hook this time around — get 100% on the quiz on your first play and get a free registration to CMEpalooza Spring. Since the quiz is hard and no one got 100% on the fall quiz, I’m not that worried. But maybe I’ll alert our Accounting Department just in case.

Top 10 Reasons to Watch CMEpalooza Spring on April 8

10. What else are you going to do, work? hahahahahahahahaha!

9. Count how many times I mispronounce our sponsors names (sorry Vivacity Consulting).

8. Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for Brian McGowan and Karen Roy, the only people who have participated in each iteration of CMEpalooza!

7. Celebrity guest stars a la Love Boat (note: in this scenario, I am Captain Stubings; Scott is Gopher).

6. Audible snoring from my 12-year-old labradoodle Barkley (yes, named after Charles Barkley), who sleeps the entire day in his bed next to my desk.

5. Let’s take a break from this list and address the issue of the color of this dress. It is gold and white and I’ll hear no other arguments. Now resuming our regularly scheduled Top 10 list.

4. There will be several sessions on outcomes, so, you know what that means??? MOORE’S LEVELS OF OUTCOMES DRINKING GAME!!!

3. If enough people tune in, maybe this is the year we can convince Scott to close out the conference with a rousing edition of Danke Schoen.

2. The incredible agenda and amazing presenters, duh.

1. You can watch at home in your slippers and pajamas.




Timing is Everything

This past week, we have had record cold temperatures and windchills in my hometown of Philadelphia, PA. How cold? This cold:


That’s cold. I, however, was nowhere close to frigid Philly. With prescient timing, I was vacationing in sunny El Salvador (yes, El Salvador) where temps were just a tad warmer.


It was obvious from the various Facebook postings from my friends and family back home that the weather was absolutely miserable and nasty and causing everyone major stress. Did that stop me from making fun of them and posting pictures like this?


or this


on my Facebook page? No. No it did not. I’m not a particularly nice person.

But, as the title of this posts suggests, timing is everything, and while my vacation timing was spot on as far as the weather is concerned, it was absolutely horrible for all things related to CMEpalooza. We had some major developments while I was away — most notably the release of the CMEpalooza Spring agenda — and Scott did an excellent job of keeping everyone abreast of all the goings on. I don’t want to rehash everything from the past week, but if I may, here are three quick bullet points I’d like to add.

  • I am thrilled with the final Spring agenda and thought the entire voting process worked out fabulously. I truly believe this will be the best palooza yet. But…a little part of me isn’t happy. I hate the fact that people took the time and energy to think of an idea and submit an abstract and we had to tell them no. I think that every single one of the abstracts submitted had merit and the potential to provide a valuable educational experience and deserved to be part of the agenda. Logistically, it just isn’t possible or practical to include everything and while I accept that, I still don’t like it. So, for all of you who submitted an abstract that was not chosen for the agenda — from the bottom of my heart: thank you and I’m sorry.
  • We have a new logo!!! (Did you notice?? It’s subtle, but if you look again at the top of the page, I think you might catch it.) Just for kicks, here’s another version of it:
    Fist-bumps to Karen and Bhaval over at infograph-ed for working with us on it and coming up with a design that really catches the spirit of CMEpalooza. I love it! If you haven’t already, make sure you check out their profile on our sponsor page.
  • And speaking of sponsors (Yes! Nailed the segue!), we have three additional sponsors for CMEpalooza Spring. Decision Simulation and Forefront Collaborative are both Bronze-level sponsors — and both sponsoring for the first time — and Imedex is back again for a second round as a Silver-level sponsor. A huge thanks to all!


Behold! Our Spring Agenda

Our phones have been ringing off the hook, our email inbox filled to capacity days ago, and now they have even started camping out on the doorstep of our headquarters (now up to 16 stories and 550 full-time employees).

Everyone has the same question — “When will we see the official CMEpalooza Spring agenda?”

The wait ends now. Additional details on each session can be found on the Spring tab, but here is the nitty gritty.

CMEpalooza Spring
Wednesday, April 8
All times Eastern (so do the math if you live elsewhere)

9-10 a.m.
Gold Sponsor Session (Sponsored by Intelligent Medical Decisions)
10-11 a.m. 
Let the Sun Shine In: Perspectives and Insights on the Implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act
11 a.m.-noon 
Secrets of CME Outcome Assessment…Revealed
Noon-1 p.m.
Gold Sponsor Session (Sponsored by ArcheMedX)
1-1:30 p.m. 
Achieving Level 7 Outcomes: A MEC Perspective
1:30-2 p.m.
5 Tips to Make You a Survey Measurement Rock Star
2-3 p.m. 
Revamping the Satellite Symposium: Enriching the Learner Experience
3-4 p.m. 
Style and Substance:  The Evolution of Content Presentation in Medical Education
4-5 p.m.
Why We Matter: Successful Strategies for Demonstrating the Value of CE within Your Own Organization

And Now… A Word for Our Sponsors

We hope to have the agenda for CMEpalooza Spring ready for public unveiling in the next few days (probably Monday), but in the meantime, we wanted to give everyone an update on the other important component of our event — namely, our sponsors.

For those of you who have been living under a Fraggle Rock for the last year (“Dance your cares away, worries for another day…”), this is our second time accepting sponsors for CMEpalooza, and we’re thrilled that so many folks in the CME community recognize the value of attaching their names to our event. We especially love those who post and tweet their love for us on social media — since we do most of our promotion through free online platforms, we’re always happy when others help us spread the word to their networks.

There are currently 9 sponsors whose information can be found on the Sponsor tab of our website, including our 3 newest bronze-level sponsors — CME Outfitters, Global Academy for Medical Education and PlatformQ (all first-time supporters). Here is the full list, as of Feb. 11:

Gold Level Sponsors

Bronze Level Sponsors

The Polls Are Closed — So Now What?

One of the biggest mysteries in the conference world surrounds the selection of abstracts. You spend hours coming up what you think is an interesting topic, coax some of your more intelligent professional colleagues to add their name to your proposal, write up a few sentences describing your proposed session, and then “Poof!” Off into the selection vortex.

“Where does my submission go? Who exactly is reviewing it? Are they going to notice that I misspelled ‘CME’?”

For weeks, you wait, never quite sure when you are going to hear whether your proposal was accepted, with no idea what reviewers are saying about it. All you get is the eventual, “Congratulations!” or “So sorry!” email, usually at 4:59 p.m. on the Friday you are leaving for a week’s vacation.

One of the nice things about the public voting for CMEpalooza is the mystery is only somewhat limited (we considered letting people see the running vote totals for each session but decided against it for several reasons), and we’re not going to be spending weeks sitting on the results. Once the polls closed on Monday afternoon, Derek and I went down the list, starting with the top vote getter and working from there, until we filled the CMEpalooza Spring allotted time slots.

This morning (Tuesday), we’ll begin contacting all of the winning and almost winning presenters (there are no losers in CMEpalooza), and begin to put the official time schedule together. From there, it’ll take a few days to figure out everyone’s availability and to cement each session into the agenda. Hopefully, we’ll have it available in a week.

A few interesting facts to keep everyone titillated while you wait:

  • There were a total of 802 votes cast (you could vote for up to 5 sessions), which means that approximately 160-175 people participated in the selection process. Awesome. And thank you.
  • There will be seven 1-hour sessions and two 30-minute sessions.
  • There will be a few sessions with a single presenter, though the majority will include multiple panelists.
  • Not a single person will be appearing more than once. This could change if faculty are added/dropped to specific sessions or as our Gold Sponsor sessions are formalized, but for right now, you’ll see different faces in every session. Kind of fascinating considering there were quite a few people whose names were included in multiple abstracts. Just a quirk of the voting process, but great to promote diversity in our event.

Last Chance to Vote!

Every once in a while, something works out much better than you ever expected – and no, I’m not referring to ELO’s appearance on the Grammys last night, though Mr. Blue Sky was totally awesome (note: I’m old). I’m talking about our decision to post all the CMEpalooza Spring abstracts online and ask people to vote on their favorites. I admit that I was a little worried about it. What if everyone else thought it was a stupid idea and nobody voted?

But that didn’t happen. Not even close. As of Sunday night, we had over 730 total votes submitted, which roughly translates to approximately 150 voters.  I never imagined we would get this kind of a response, and it delights me to no end.  To me, CMEpalooza will always be the little conference that could, so to have this many people expressing an interest in determining the agenda for CMEpalooza Spring is both overwhelming and gratifying. Thank you all so much for making this work!

And if you haven’t yet had a chance to have your voice heard, you still have time. We will officially close the poll at 5 p.m. ET, so go to http://cmepalooza.com/poll/ now (1 vote per device). We’re coming down to the wire and the tally is still very close. I have no idea what the final agenda will be, which is a tribute to how many great abstracts we had submitted. Go vote now!

Let the Voting Begin!

Here at CMEpalooza headquarters (12-story building, 1,000 employees, 4 full-service restaurants, and free valet parking for all staff, in case you want a mental picture), we’ve been counting down the days.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to brainstorm topics and gather colleagues to submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring. There are some really interesting proposals that came in, and both Derek and I are humbled by all of the creativity we are seeing.

Today, we turn things over to you. If you click on the Poll tab, you will see the list of titles and lead presenters at the top, followed by a full description of each proposed session, full faculty, and the marketing pitch. Some are serious, some are silly, some are a little bit of both.

You can vote for up to 5 presentations. You can vote only once per device (so if you have an smartphone, tablet, and laptop, you can vote 3 times).

Voting will stay open for one week, closing at 5 p.m. PT on Monday, Feb. 9. Those abstracts with the most votes get on the Spring agenda. It’s that simple.

It’s hard to say exactly how many abstracts will be included since some submissions were for 30 minute sessions and some for 60 minute sessions, but our guess would be somewhere around 10-12. Once the final vote is done, we’ll sit down and figure it all out before reaching out to those lucky individuals to schedule the specific time for their presentation.

Hopefully by the end of the week (a special Valentine’s Day present for everyone), we’ll be able to announce the official agenda.

Let the voting begin!

CMEpalooza Limericks

Since haikus are so yesterday…

While we await your submissions
You should know there are conditions
Meet today’s deadline
And you’ll be just fine
Don’t ask for special provisions

And for those old schoolers…

There once was a man from Nantucket
Said: “CMEpalooza? Got it!
When are abstracts due?
Today?! Had no clue!
I guess I need to get right on it!”