Top 5 Reasons You Should Submit a Proposal for CMEpalooza Spring

In case you have been living under a rock for the past week (What a weird saying. It’s not even physically possible to live under a rock. Couldn’t it at least be something remotely feasible, like say…living in a tree? I like that better. Let’s go with that.)

In case you have been living in a tree for the past week, you might not be aware that we are currently accepting proposals for CMEpalooza Spring. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. We are really hoping to get a lot of proposals to choose from, so I’ve come up with a Top 5 list of reasons that you (YOU!) should submit a proposal to CMEpalooza Spring.

Here we go:

5) Why not? Look, I didn’t say these were good reasons for submitting a proposal. Just…reasons. But it’s true — why not submit? Maybe you had an amazing proposal you submitted for a presentation at the upcoming Alliance conference, but it was rejected. Maybe you will go to the Alliance conference and come home with a great idea for a presentation that just can’t wait for next year. Maybe you’re at the Alliance conference reading this right now because the session you’re in sounded really interesting from the description but then the speaker started reading his notes in a droning monotone voice like Ferris Bueller’s teacher (played, of course, by the legendary Ben Stein) and the subject is not quite what you thought it would be and you are really bored but still in a post-lunch fog and feeling too lazy to get up and move to a different session. If that’s you (or even if it’s not), head on over to our proposal submission form and submit away!

4) This is your chance to do something different. We don’t just accept submission ideas that are different, we encourage them. We like different. And by different, I also mean weird. Odd. Strange. Unusual. We’ve had people wear wigs. We’ve had people do Yoda impressions. We’ve had a speaker blow-up. We love it all. If you have an idea for a session that you have never submitted anywhere because you think it’s too wacko to ever get accepted — submit it to us. If your dream is to create a hip hop musical based on the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial Support and you’re worried that Lin-Manual Miranda might steal another one of your ideas, may I humbly suggest you submit it to us for your premiere? Trust me on this one — you will never have a review committee as accepting of your oddball ideas as you will with Scott and I.

3) It’s easy. Presenting at CMEpalooza is a 3-step process:

Step 1: We email you a link
Step 2: You click on the link and enter YouTube Live
Step 3: You do your presentation

OK, fine, I may have glossed over a few minor steps, but it really is easy. One of the most common comments presenters make when they do CMEpalooza for the first time is just how simple a process it is. You don’t need to travel anywhere or have any special equipment beyond a laptop with a webcam (almost all of them have one built-in these days).

I should also mention that, for those of you who have a little bit of stage fright or feel uncomfortable in front of a crowd, CMEpalooza is a perfect venue for you. The only people you will see during your presentation are your co-presenters (if you have co-presenters) and either Scott or me (see #2 below). No sea of faces staring back at you. No worrying about making eye contact with the person in the last row. You won’t even know how many people are watching (I’ll know, but I’ll lie to you if it makes you feel better.) Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezee.

2) You get to meet me and Scott. I mean, how great is that, huh? Two charming and good-looking dudes like us, who wouldn’t want to meet us? Am I right? Ladies? Fellas? Anyone? Is this thing on? [tap tap]

Maybe making this #2 was a tad too high. Let’s move on.

1) Because we’re running out of ideas on our own. Seriously, we need some help. This will be our [counts on fingers] ninth palooza and it’s hard coming up with fresh ideas and topics. It’s easy for us to fall back on repeating the tried and true and what has worked well in the past, but we also want to stay innovative and try new things (Speaking of trying new things, this weekend my family went to a new Georgian [the country, not the state] restaurant in northeast Philadelphia and oh my lord was it delicious. The khachapuri — which is bread filled with gooey melted cheese — was…[kisses fingertips]. But I digress…) You are much smarter than Scott or I. I’m sure you have tons of great ideas. Just take one of them, turn it into a proposal, and submit it here.

REMINDER: PROPOSALS ARE DUE BY THE END OF THE DAY ON FEBRUARY 2

Submit your proposal here

CMEpalooza 2018: Sponsorships for Money, Education for Free

As even casual fans of the CMEpalooza blog know, Derek and I are big fans of ‘80s nostalgia.

If you need someone to tell you the name of the actor who starred alongside Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science, Derek’s your guy (it’s Ilan Mitchell Smith). If you can’t remember the name of the 49ers receiver who started that team’s ‘80s dynasty with The Catch, I can help (it was Dwight Clark). And if you keep scratching your head trying to figure out just how many licks it takes to get the center of that Tootsie Roll Pop, well, that we can’t help you with (Derek has gotten to 4, so at least he beat that wise owl).

Yet as much as we love remembering the decade of our formative childhood, what we enjoy even more is coming up with new ways to make CMEpalooza valuable to our audience and our sponsors. In response to feedback from our audience, we’ll be making a few tweaks to the way we develop and present our Spring and Fall events in 2018 – you may have seen our recent post announcing that CMEpalooza Spring is being split into 2, half-day broadcasts instead of the previous full-day marathon – that we hope will help us continue to grow.

Our growth, of course, translates into improved visibility for our sponsors. In the 4 years since CMEpalooza began, more than 50 organizations have wisely chosen to align themselves with us and support all of the top-notch education that we provide the CME community.

CMEpalooza sponsorships start at the low, low price of $600. As usual, there are a few new things we’re offering our sponsors this year (gotta love the free add-ons). You can check out everything we have thought up in our Sponsor Prospectus – and we’re open to other creative suggestions (we say that every year, but you can still be the first ever to take us up on it).

We make the sponsorship process as easy as possible. You send us an email saying, “CMEpalooza is the best thing since New Coke. Of course we want to be a sponsor,” we collect some basic information from you, and PRESTO! up you go on the CMEpalooza Sponsor page. You get in on all of our promotions and special events, and as much exposure as we can possibly offer.

If you want some hard numbers on our events, you check out the CMEpalooza “By the Numbers” page within this prospectus. We crunch data throughout the year and have pulled out some of the most impressive numbers here, but we can give you whatever else you may need. Just ask.

Still not sure? Maybe a few testimonials will convince you. Such as these, for instance, courtesy of the Way Back Machine:

  • (Speaking really fast) “CMEpalooza is doing it again. Yes that’s right, doing it again with the lowest sponsorship prices under the sun. We’ve got bronze sponsorships, silver sponsorships, and, whoa, whoa, whoa, even 2 gold sponsorships ripe for the pickings. But don’t take your time and dawdle because the lines are already forming at our doors right now. I’m Crazy Derek, and if you don’t sign up for a CMEpalooza sponsorship tooo-day, you must be INSANE…”
  • (Speaking really slowly, perhaps from a porch swing) “Hello. There are many ways to calculate the value of a CMEpalooza sponsorship. Mabel from Decatur, Georgia says that she has decorated the walls of her kitchen with the hundreds of ways she has thought up. We’d suggest just one – driving attention and traffic to the great work your company does. We hope you take this suggestion to heart… and thank you for your support.”
  • (With a banging drum in the background) “For years, you’ve heard other CME-focused meetings claim that spending money on an exhibit booth or exclusive sponsorship at their event is the best investment any company involved in our industry can make, so you may have assumed that their sponsorship has more value than a sponsorship of CMEpalooza. Fact is, CMEpalooza wasn’t even included in their analysis. And we won’t be included next year either. Why? Because they know they can’t match our reach, our value, and our wit. CMEpalooza… it keeps growing and growing and growing…”

Maybe you have another question or concern we haven’t thought of. Just email us (that’s thecmeguy@gmail.com for Derek and scott@medcasewriter.com for me) – we promise we’ll respond to you quickly, like within 10 minutes or so (note from Derek: I’m gonna be 100% honest with you…if you email me, I probably won’t respond within 10 minutes. As hard as this may be to believe, I do have other things that I do during the day besides sit around waiting for CMEpalooza email. Quite a few things, actually. I do promise to respond to you as soon as I can, though.)

Derek and I will both be down in Orlando at the ACEHP meeting later this month, too, in case you want to chat, even if it has nothing to do with CMEpalooza sponsorship. For instance, you can ask Derek about the time he asked Tina Yothers to marry him. Or the time he plastered a Tiffany poster to his bedroom door. Or the time he begged his parents for weeks to let him take breakdancing lessons. Or something else just as embarrassing – be creative!

We’ll leave the light on for you.

Submit a Proposal Now for CMEpalooza Spring

Oh the weather outside is frightful
Might as well write a proposal
For the palooza of CME
An RFP! An RFP! An RFP!

That was…truly awful.

Honestly, I only write these ridiculous things because I make Scott review all my blog posts before I post them and it makes me laugh just thinking about him rolling his eyes and muttering expletives under his breath as he’s reading what I’ve written. Good times! (Note from Scott: Pretty accurate assessment)

On to more important matters.

When the January weather turns harsh, our minds turn to thoughts of spring, which reminds us of CMEpalooza Spring, which reminds us that we need an agenda, which makes us smack ourselves in the forehead and wonder why we didn’t start thinking about this sooner (I kid, I kid. Scott and I actually had an official planning meeting about CMEpalooza Spring months ago [cough cough… December]. I even brought along a notebook. Did I fail to take any notes and then forget everything we talked about? Maybe.)

As always, our goal with the CMEpalooza Spring agenda is to have the CME/CE community intimately involved in its development. This year, we are releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for anyone to submit an idea for a CMEpalooza Spring session. This perhaps sounds more impressive than it actually is since the RFP being “released” is just this blog post, but work with me here.

We are going to try to keep the process pretty simple. If you have an idea for a session that you would like to lead at CMEpalooza Spring (don’t forget the change to a 2-day agenda, April 25-26), just complete the RFP submission form below by the end of the day on Friday, February 2. After February 2, Scott and I will review all of the proposals that we have received and select six for the agenda. We may ask a few others to help us decide, or we may simply wield our extensive power and make the choices on our own. Not sure yet.

Here are a few guidelines:

  1. This is an online conference and all sessions are done via YouTube Live (Google Hangout). All presenters must have a computer, access to a decent internet connection, and a webcam. Most laptops produced after 2010 have one built in.
  2. Proposals will only be considered if they are submitted via the RFP submission form below.
  3. The deadline for proposals to be submitted is by the end of day on Friday, February 2.
  4. We are open to pretty much any idea as long as it’s possible for us to do via YouTube Live and it relates in some way to CME/CE.
  5. Interactive formats with multiple presenters, such as panel sessions and interviews, are encouraged. Single-person PowerPoint lectures are discouraged, unless you can convince us that it’s going to be really, really good.
  6. Please verify the availability of all presenters for the dates of CMEpalooza (April 25 and/or 26) before submitting their name in your proposal. If you don’t, we won’t be happy. Scott will probably scowl at you when you email us to tell us one of your speakers is not available. You don’t want that. Trust me.
  7. There are six categories we are looking to fill for a well-rounded agenda. They are: Outcomes, Educational Design, Technological Innovations, Commercial Support, Accreditation, and CME Potpourri (anything that doesn’t fit in the other five categories). Your proposal should align with one of these categories. Ideally, we will select one proposal for each category, but we might decide to choose multiple proposals for one category based on what we receive. It’s our conference and we can do what we want.
  8. We don’t want to limit creativity, so there isn’t a limit on the number of proposals you can submit, but use common sense and be reasonable. We will likely only choose one proposal for which you are listed as the lead contact, so don’t submit ten proposals or something crazy like that.
  9. We will try to notify you within a week of the deadline if your proposal has been accepted or not.
  10. If you have any questions, feel free to email Derek (thecmeguy@gmail.com) or Scott (scott@medcasewriter.com) or find us at the Alliance conference in a couple weeks

I think that about covers it. I especially want to encourage people who have never presented at CMEpalooza to submit a proposal. We are always happy to have new presenters participate and now is as good a time as any. The RFP submission form is below. Have fun!

Ch..ch..changes

A few weeks ago, Derek posted a short poll based upon a conversation our team had during its Winter Retreat in Aruba. The poll essentially involved one key question – “Should we split CMEpalooza in half?” Essentially, do we mess with our usual formula of a full-day event to better serve our audience?

Knowing how much people generally like change (sarcastic rolling of the eyes), I predicted that “Keep CMEpalooza the way it is” would be a runaway winner.

Boy was I wrong. Overwhelmingly (like, 90%+ overwhelmingly), our audience expressed a preference for 2 half-day Paloozas. Some people even suggested separating half-day broadcasts a week or a month apart. One person even asked us to have a single, 1-hour broadcast each month. Logistically, those kinds of extreme ideas would have been too taxing for our crew to pull off, but nonetheless, we are prepared to listen to our audience and make adjustments.

And so, for the first time since the inaugural CMEpalooza in the spring of 2015, we’ll be offering a CMEpalooza as a two-day event this spring. It will be on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26. We’re still working out some of the details (do we do the same times each day or do we make some modifications so that we may better fit everyone’s schedule?), but once we get everything hammered down, we’ll let you know. If it goes well this spring, we’ll consider keeping the format for the fall and beyond.

In the meantime, be prepared to hear about a lot of the other new features we’ll be adding to CMEpalooza this year  in the coming weeks. The blog will be pretty active for a little while as we start rolling out some of our new stuff. It’s all good, I promise.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

Which Is the Better Palooza: One Full-Day or Two Half-Days?

We had a major CMEpalooza planning session last week with the entire CMEpalooza staff. It was really quite the event; we flew everyone down to a private resort in Aruba for the weekend, set-up one of those giant tents on the beach, and made everyone brainstorm new ideas for 12 hours straight until letting them out to play in the water. Then we capped it all off by convincing the remaining members of Led Zeppelin to finally reunite for one last concert to close out the weekend (things got a little out of control when Scott stormed the stage and demanded they play Smoke on the Water. He calmed down a bit after I reminded him that that was a Deep Purple song, but by then Robert Plant had already slammed down his bottle of Evian and stalked indignantly offstage, bringing the concert to an abrupt end. At least they played Kashmir.)

One of the ideas that we bandied about was the possibility of transitioning each CMEpalooza from a full-day event to half-day events (held on consecutive days). The reason for this is that audience participation/attendance for CMEpalooza always falls off after lunch. Every single time. We could have a 10 a.m. session called, “Watch Derek Brush His Teeth” and a 3 p.m. session called, “Watch Scott Play Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles” and my toothbrush would undoubtedly become quite famous.

Why do we have this drop-off? It’s hard to say for sure. Maybe people are busy and have work to do (it’s possible.) Maybe people are worn out from all the amazing learning and their brains are tired (doubtful.) Maybe people can only handle staring at Scott’s and my face on their screens for a maximum of four hours a day (that’s the one!)

Whatever the reason, we thought that maybe people would get even more out of CMEpalooza if we broke it up a little more. Let’s say 3-4 hours of sessions one morning, finish up by 1 pm ET, and then 3-4 hours of sessions the next morning. Is that better?

No, I’m really asking — is that better? Let’s do a quick poll. Let us know which format you prefer.

If you have strong feeling one way or the other that extend beyond just selecting one of the poll choices, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for your help!

Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

We really want to know! So, if you tuned in to any of the CMEpalooza Fall sessions last Wednesday and haven’t already done so (47 of your have), please take our survey. Here’s the link to it: https://goo.gl/forms/y2QURWbtgIpS28513

We do actually read through the survey and comments, and use the information to (try to) make CMEpalooza better. Especially helpful are the suggestions provided for topics of interest for future sessions, which we quite frequently use to help shape the next agenda. From the responses we have received so far, a session on the new ACCME criteria and a CME Basics course have been cited the most frequently. If you have other suggestions, let us know!

(Scott sometimes accuses me of making obscure references that no one else understands. We all know the title and first line of this post are from the 1978 song Who Are You? by The Who, right? This is a pretty obvious one. Please don’t email and tell me you thought it was from the opening theme song for C.S.I…)

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Fall?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Fall?
You watch it on the LIVE page.

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can play the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at the office?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at home?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall in a conference room with 150 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall while at a Boston Celtics game? 
ugh…no yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall with Homer Simpson?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess not. The important thing is that you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.

Do I have to pre-register or register?
Nope.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Fall? I love paying registration fees.

No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will come to your house and sing the score from the H.M.S. Pinafore.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Fall?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that and we have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But, if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Fall 2017, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow.

How do I ask questions to the presenters?
Good question. There are three ways you can ask questions:

  1. Send a text to the CMEpalooza text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. Click on the Google Slides link on the LIVE page and enter your question there

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, probably within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

Whetting Your Appetite for CMEpalooza Fall

We’re closing in on the start of CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. ET – that’s tomorrow people!), so to help whet your appetite, here are a few session-specific items for you to read through as you prepare to watch:

Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME — Our kickoff session sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education will focus on two complex case studies, one to be discussed by our team of medical education and communications company (MECC) professionals and the other by our team of academic/hospital-based professionals. As promised, we’re giving you a chance to read through the cases in advance and perhaps think about how you would address the issues that they raise. Case 1 can be accessed by clicking here. Case 2 can be accessed by clicking here.

Grant Review Mythbusters — Two examples of grantor “myths” that will be addressed in our 11 a.m. ET session sponsored by Forefront Collaborative:

Myth 1: A provider’s grant will get more attention as an unsolicited submission rather than a response to a RFP since an RFP generates so many responses.

Myth 2: A high percentage of submitted grants are eliminated through a screening or other vetting process and never make it to committee.

Chatting With Graham McMahon — Our 1 p.m. “Dessert Session” with ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon sponsored by Prova Education will tackle a whole host of questions that were submitted by the CMEpalooza community. Among them:

Do you think that the new accreditation criteria will result in fewer providers achieving accreditation with commendation? What are your plans to provide learning resources for providers who may think that achieving accreditation with commendation as too difficult to attempt in the future?

When people say that CME is thinly disguised promotional education, or that there is little evidence that CME actually changes behavior, what are your ‘floor ’em’ responses?

The CME Advice Columnists – We’re apparently a community that needs a lot of expert advice. Who knew? Here is an example of one of the “letters” that our panel will be addressing tomorrow during our 2 p.m. ET session sponsored by Integrity CE:

Dear CMEpalooza Advice Columnists,

A high school friend of mine recently helped me get a job at the small hospital she works at in the suburbs. One of my responsibilities is to serve as our CME Coordinator. The only problem is that I know nothing about CME (my friend told me before I took the job that I’d “figure it out”), and I’m too embarrassed to ask any of the doctors here for help or advice.

How can I learn what I need to know without anyone finding out about it?

Signed,

A Beginner’s Beginner

Is your appetite whet yet? Would you even know if it was? What does that phrase even mean anyway?

Regardless, these are just a few tidbits related to a few of our CMEpalooza Fall sessions. If you need a last-minute check of the Agenda to decide when you might want to confirm a “meeting” or two, please do take a look (I recommend blocking off the whole day, but I know that that might not be realistic for everyone).

It’s CMEpalooza Week!

Not that I really think we need to remind you again, but it is indeed CMEpalooza Week (officially recognized as such in 4 U.S. states and 2 territories). We’ve got a bunch of stuff coming your way here in the 48 hours before we officially kick things off, so consider this as your Monday morning primer. Here is what to expect:

  • Obviously and most importantly, the live, free broadcast of CMEpalooza Fall will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. You can watch all of the sessions on our Live page. If you want to refresh your memory regarding our sessions, just go to our Fall Agenda page. We hope that you have blocked off your calendar with “meetings” or are working on a “family emergency” for Wednesday. You’ll thank us later.
  • We’ll be posting the two case studies that will be discussed in our 10 a.m. ET kickoff session, Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME (sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education) on Tuesday morning so you can read through and think about them in advance. You may even get one of the “letters” that will be addressed by our Dear Abby crew of CME Advice Columnists at 2 p.m. ET if you are nice.
  • Derek will tell you on Tuesday all that you need to know about watching the live broadcast. It’s really, really easy. He’ll also explain all the ways in which you can ask questions during every session. We hope that you’ll take the opportunity to (anonymously) participate – our best sessions are the ones where we get people to chime in.
  • Our social media feeds will be busy with last-minute items, including reminders to visit our Sponsor page to check out all of those brilliant organizations who have aligned themselves with CMEpalooza, as well as some snarky memes that we find while trolling the Interwebs.
  • One last thing: For those of you who are wondering, no, it’s not a coincidence that CMEpalooza Fall coincides with the opening tip of the Philadelphia 76ers season. Derek has already told me not to bother him until at least mid-January once the season begins. Gladly, my friend, gladly. (note from Derek: “TRUST THE PROCESS!”)

Have a good week everyone, and we’ll “see” you all soon!