The Lucky, The Proud, The Few… The CMEpalooza Bingo!! Winners

We held our prize drawing for CMEpalooza Bingo!! this morning in a top secret location witnessed by representatives from the table next to us at the neighborhood coffee shop. It was fraught was tension and caused quite a bit of excitement – there may or may not have been a latte spilled on the floor while selecting our grand prize winner (I am bound to secrecy).

Congratulations to all of the winners. They are:

Grand Prize Winner: $100 Amazon Gift Card

  • Jena Williams – Provider Education Coordinator, Office of the Medical Director, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

$50 Amazon Gift Cards Winners

  • Ron Murray – Freelance CPD/CME Professional
  • Sandy Mardant – Continuing Education Manager, A.D.A.M.
  • Janice G. Richards – Richards Professional Development
  • Sally Cook – Compliance & Assessment Manager, Education Department, American College of Radiology

$25 Amazon Gift Card Winners

  • Anita Misra-Press – Freelance Medical Writer
  • Michèle Gagnon – Director, Education & Strategy, liV Medical Communication & Training Agency
  • Joanne Wise – Center for Public Health Continuing Education, University at Albany, School of Public Health
  • Karin Pearson – Director, Tufts University School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Education
  • Amanda Kaczerski – Director, Education Development, Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning
  • Kristi J. English – Program Manager, Academic Affairs, Department of CME/Conference Management, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Bonnie J Bixler – Director, Continuing Education, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Donna M. Stout – Continuing Education Program Specialist, Department of Education, Lehigh Valley Health Network

Our winners have all been contacted via email and will be receiving their prizes shortly.

I know what everyone else is whining – “How come I didn’t win?” Well, either you didn’t play (shame on you) or you simply weren’t fortunate enough to have your number drawn (you had lots of company). I am sure we will come up with another creative contest next spring, so you’ll have another chance in the future.

CMEpalooza Bingo!! Answer Key and Prize Drawing Info

One of these weekends, we’ll give our crack staff at CMEpalooza headquarters the weekend off to enjoy the fall colors and reunite with their families. This simply wasn’t one of those weekends.

Far surpassing Derek’s prediction of zero entries (he’s both an introvert and a pessimist), we had close to 300 successful entries into our inaugural contest (we’re admittedly using the phrase “close to” somewhat liberally here).

Judging by the messages we got from those who completed their entry forms – one eager beaver filled out the entire Bingo board – it was a fun diversion from work that even helped them learn something about some of our sponsors. If you missed out on the fun but have a burning desire to find out the answers, we’ve got a handy answer key for you right here.

We’ll be having our prize drawing on Wednesday, where we’ll be divvying up $500 in Amazon gift cards to 13 of our successful entrants (one $100 winner, four $50 winners, and eight $25 winners). We’ll announce the winners in this space, and also contact them privately via email.

CMEpalooza Bingo!! — Deadline is Friday

Our crack team at CMEpalooza headquarters woke up to a flurry of emails this morning that all essentially said the same thing – “I really, really, really (really) want to play CMEpalooza Bingo!! but I just haven’t found the time. Can’t we have until Friday afternoon?”

Usually, my response to these sorts of things is short and succinct.


I mean, c’mon people, there are deadlines for a reason. I hate those emails you get that claim “Deadline extended!” because they mean that the deadline was always going to be extended and the time you took rushing to meet the initial deadline has now been wasted.

Don’t get me started.

But perhaps because I still have gleeful visions of Derek as a Sixers halftime dancer, I’m in a good mood today, so we’re extending the deadline to play CMEpalooza Bingo!! until tomorrow (Friday, September 23) at 8:13 p.m. ET. Why did I choose such a random time? Because I have that power.

As a reminder, we’re giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards for those who successfully enter (there are 13 total prizes — first prize is $100 with other prizes of $50 and $25). It takes, in all honesty, 5 minutes to complete a game board.

Here once again are the rules:

  • There are a few documents you’ll need to download and/or print out — The bingo card, the question sheet, and the answer form. Don’t worry – we’ve compiled these into one document that you can print out or download. You can get everything you need by clicking on this link. If you want the CMEpalooza Bingo!! Answer Form as a Word document you can write on, we’ve got that right here for you.
  • On the bingo card, you’ll see that each CMEpalooza Fall sponsor has been assigned a specific slot (there are a few CMEpalooza slots to fill out the card). Each slot has coordinates listed in the upper left-hand corner. This is important to note as you are filling out the Answer Form.
  • To get the answer to the questions, you’ll probably need to visit some of our sponsor websites. You can find direct links to all of them on the CMEpalooza Fall sponsor page.
  • We’re not cruel, so we won’t make you complete the entire card. Simply make one Bingo by answering 5 questions that complete either a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line (just like, you know, as in a Bingo game). Feel free to visit any additional sponsor sites if you really want to, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Fill out the Answer Form and return it to me via email ( by the new and improved deadline

I promise that this is the one and only deadline extension. The hopper closes on Friday night.

Dancing to the Finish Line

You may have noticed that the blog has been somewhat quiet in the early parts of September. We’re sorry.

I’ve been busy running through a battery of preliminary tests with our presenters for CMEpalooza Fall and getting some other work done. Derek, meanwhile, has been furiously practicing his tryout routine round the clock in the hopes of fulfilling his lifelong dream of being one of the “Sixers Dancers” – you know, the guys and girls who entertain the fans between timeouts and at halftime of NBA games. This is going to be the year, Warnick – we believe in you!

Never fear though – the silence is ending… NOW! We recognize that the days are dangerously dwindling and that CMEpalooza Fall is right around the corner on Wednesday, October 19.

What we’ll be doing here in the next few weeks as you complete your CMEpalooza Bingo!! gameboard (due this Friday) is to give insight into a few of the more unique sessions we have on the agenda this year.

A few weeks back, I dragged a very retro basketball jersey out of the bowels of my closet to record a somewhat meandering video with Derek where we discussed each of the sessions on the Fall agenda, but honestly, I don’t know that we did some of the sessions justice between all of our “Er”s and “Hmmm”s, so I thought it be a better use of your time to read through some of the explanations.

Today, I’ll be explaining the concept behind our 3 p.m. ET session entitled “Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME.” This session is being sponsored by CME Matters, one of the Silver sponsors of CMEpalooza Fall.

Here is how this session is going to work:

  1. We have recruited 2 teams of awesome faculty. Each team has a moderator and 2 panelists. One team is comprised of people who work for medical education companies, a second team of people who work in the hospital setting.
  2. The moderator for each panel is — under cloak and dagger — developing a robust case study focused on a scenario that offers a variety of real-life challenges for those of us who wrangle with CME on a daily basis. I won’t give away any secrets regarding the specific focus of each case, partially because the cases haven’t yet been written, but also because I was the kid at school who loved knowing secrets about everyone.
  3. The day before this session goes live, each scenario will be unleashed upon both the unknowing panelists and you, our prospective audience members. Why the day before? Well, I wanted to put a little bit of time pressure on our panelists so that it more adequately mirrored real life, but I also didn’t want to hijack them with a total surprise on the day of CMEpalooza Fall. Hopefully this is a reasonable compromise.We’ll post the scenarios on this site at the same time our panelists get them in case you want a sneak peak at the kinds of issues each panel will be talking about. Don’t worry if you don’t read them before the session though – each moderator will review their case prior to their team’s live discussion.
  4. In the session, panelists will talk about how they would address the various issues raised within the case, discussing the pros and cons of various approaches. It’s the kind of tangible, real-world education that I always like best, and hopefully our audience will be able to pull some golden nuggets of information for their proverbial use.
  5. If there is time at the end, Derek will show off the tumbling routine that caps his tryout. Good stuff.


It’s Time for CMEpalooza Bingo!!

Admit it – when you attend live events, there is nothing more fun than picking up one of those game cards at the registration desk that require you to visit a certain number of sponsors, engage in mindless chitchat as you feign interest in their organization, and then politely ask for a stamp to complete your card so you can enter to win an outdated iPad from 2012 (maybe still in the box, maybe “slightly used”).

Wait, you don’t enjoy that? It’s not fun counting the seconds until it’s polite to excuse yourself from uncomfortable sales pitches? Huh, I had no idea.

Here at CMEpalooza headquarters, where we start every day with the Pledge of Allegiance (yes, we all remember the words), we’re all about making our audience comfortable while encouraging them to learn something and perhaps have a little fun in the process.

That’s why today we’re happy to announce the debut of CMEpalooza Bingo!!, our latest creative salvo to bring joy into your days and free money into your wallets. No awkward conversations, no minutes wasted waiting for stamps or stickers from exhibitors — just a little solo research on your own time to learn a little about the sponsors for CMEpalooza Fall (reminder: broadcasting live on Wednesday, October 19).

Here is how CMEpalooza Bingo!! works:

  • There are a few documents you’ll need to download and/or print out — The bingo card, the question sheet, and the answer form. Don’t worry – we’ve compiled these into one document that you can print out or download. You can get everything you need by clicking on this link. If you want the CMEpalooza Bingo!! Answer Form as a Word document you can write on, we’ve got that right here for you.
  • On the bingo card, you’ll see that each CMEpalooza Fall sponsor has been assigned a specific slot (there are a few CMEpalooza slots to fill out the card). Each slot has coordinates listed in the upper left-hand corner. This is important to note as you are filling out the Answer Form.
  • To get the answer to the questions, you’ll probably need to visit some of our sponsor websites. You can find direct links to all of them on the CMEpalooza Fall sponsor page.
  • We’re not cruel, so we won’t make you complete the entire card. Simply make one Bingo by answering 5 questions that complete either a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line (just like, you know, as in a Bingo game). Feel free to visit any additional sponsor sites if you really want to, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Fill out the Answer Form and return it to me via email ( by Wednesday, September 21

I know what you’re saying right about now – “This seems like a lot of work. Why should I bother?”

First of all, we promise that it’s not a lot of work. The answers to all of these questions can be found very easily on every one of the Sponsors sites. We didn’t come up with questions that will require a deep search – pretty much everything is 1 click away, at most.

Second, there are prizes! Lots and lots of glorious prizes! There will be 13 winners in all – 8 people will win a $25 Amazon gift card, 4 people will win a $50 Amazon gift card, and 1 lucky individual will win a $100 Amazon gift card! Everyone who successfully completes and returns a CMEpalooza Bingo!! card to me by the deadline will be entered in our random drawing for these prizes. If we get a lot of entries, we may even do the drawing live via Google Hangout. We’ll see.

Now back to my fine-tuning my fantasy football roster for week 1.

Derek & Scott Chat About the CMEpalooza Agenda

We’ve had some good blog posts and we’ve had some bad blog posts, but I’m not sure that we’ve ever had a blog post with a more riveting title than this. I mean, just take a moment and read it aloud. “Derek & Scott Chat About the CMEpalooza Agenda.” Wow. Can you feel the excitement?

I don’t have too much more to say about this, really. The title pretty much covers it. It’s a 12-minute video of Scott and I talking about the CMEpalooza agenda. Why are we talking about the agenda? Well, we have a number of sessions this time around that are weirder different formats than we have had in the past and thought it might be helpful if we gave a little more description as to what to expect. What is CME Mythbusters? What are Casual Conversations in CME (if you’re like me, you may be disappointed to find out that it does not involve people sitting around in smoking jackets with snifters of brandy, talking about which level of outcome they find most charming)? Tune in to the video to find out!

Beat the Summertime Blues with the CMEpalooza Archive

Folks, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s hot out there. I mean real hot. It’s so hot, I cracked an egg on my sidewalk and it jumped up and ran away. It’s so hot, planets are starting to orbit around us. It’s so hot, my pet camel asked to go back to the desert to cool off. It’s hot.

My advice? Just stay inside. Don’t even bother to go outside. What’s the point? You’ll be sweating so much, the sidewalk will look like a fire at Madame Tussauds. You’ll be sweating so much, Captain Ahab will shoot a harpoon at you. You’ll be sweating so much, the Coast Guard will put up “No Wake Zone” signs behind you as you walk. You’ll be sweating a lot.

What’s that you ask? What can you do with all your free time while lounging around inside in the cool A/C? Well, just mosey on over to the newly updated CMEpalooza archive, where you can find hours and hours of free (FREE!) educational (and entertaining!) videos that you can watch to your heart’s content. I suppose you could binge watch old episode’s of Bob Ross’s “Joy of Painting” on Netflix like Scott does every night (that dude loves painting happy little trees), but why do that when you can binge watch over 50 episodes of CMEpalooza?

Every session from every iteration of CMEpalooza is now available for your viewing pleasure. That includes 2 PechaKucha/Puntua Lortu sessions, 4 QI sessions, 13 sessions on educational design, and 18 sessions on outcomes! What more could you ask for? (Don’t say a pony. My daughter has already asked for one and those things are expensive. I have a small backyard. Where would I put it?)

So grab your favorite internet viewing device, mix up a tropical drink with a little umbrella in it, find the nearest chaise lounge, and prepare to spend a little quality time inside with the CMEpalooza archive. You’ll be so glad you did, you might even start painting some of your own happy little trees.

Exposing the Lies About Sponsoring CMEpalooza Fall

In this cycle of “he said/she said” divisiveness where tall tales linger around every corner, it can be extremely difficult separating truth from all the lies. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, Derek and I have been slandered with CMEpalooza sponsor-related rumor and innuendo, and much as we hate to rake muck with the dregs of society, we feel that’s it’s time to speak up. Most of this information you can find for yourself on our Sponsor tab, but to save you time and energy, I’ll do the dirty work for you.

Here is the truth behind the vicious lies:

  1. You have one – and only one — sponsorship option. Baloney! There are three primary levels of sponsorship for CMEpalooza Fall – gold, silver, and bronze. As you move up the rungs, you get more for your money. We also offer sponsorship of our CMEpalooza text line and are always open to other innovative sponsorship suggestions (though we’ve never gotten one of those… yet). You can find out all of the specific details in our short Sponsor prospectus.
  2. All of the premier levels of sponsorship are gobbled up quickly. Bollocks! While we have 1 Gold and 4 Silver sponsors locked in for CMEpalooza Fall, there are currently sponsorship opportunities at every level. It’s all there for the taking people!
  3. No reputable organizations sponsor CMEpalooza. Poppycock! I guess it’s up to you to determine how “reputable” our sponsors truly are, but the 19 organizations who have currently aligned themselves with our Fall event come from a variety of different segments of our industry. They can’t all be flimflam artists, can they?
  4. If you don’t sponsor CMEpalooza at least 3 months prior to each event, you’ve lost your chance at visibility. Malarkey! While the sooner you confirm your sponsorship with us, the sooner you get listed on our Sponsor site, we regularly attempt to drive traffic to all of our sponsors. Of course, the most eyes come on the day of our CMEpalooza broadcasts themselves, so even coming in the day before will give you plenty of visibility.
  5. You guys don’t do anything creative to drive attention to your sponsors. Preposterous! Surely you remember our Fun Fact Challenge from the Spring where we gave away nearly $400 in Amazon gift cards. For the Fall (big announcement alert), we’ve got the Sponsor Scavenger Hunt coming up. Details coming later. It’ll be like that Pokemon thingie, but better (note from Derek: My 12-year-old strongly disagrees).
  6. It’s too hard to sponsor CMEpalooza. Horsefeathers! In fact, nothing could be easier. Just send Derek or I an email indicating which level of sponsorship you are interested in committing to and we’ll let you know what information we need from you (ie, company logo, description, etc.). For many sponsors, they make the formal commitment and have their sponsorship up on our site the same day. Yeah, yeah, we’re good like that.
  7. It’s too expensive to sponsor CMEpalooza. Rubbish! Our bronze-level sponsorships cost only $500 – that’s $1.37 a day for 1 year. I mean, really people.

I hope that was helpful. Naysayers, consider yourselves exposed.

Turning the Page and Turning Your Attention (to Us)

When the calendar moves over into August, it’s often a bittersweet time. Yes, it’s still summer, but you can see the warning lights on the horizon – the nights are getting shorter, your favorite baseball team has thrown in the towel on another season, and the “BACK TO SCHOOL SALE: YOUR CHILD NEEDS THIS $75 LUNCHBOX OR ELSE HE’LL GET BEATEN UP AT RECESS!” flyers start to jam your mailbox.

From a work perspective, August’s arrival means that things are soon going to get serious again. No longer is your inbox going to be filled with messages that read, “I am currently on vacation and will not be checking email for the next month. I know you probably have a deadline you need to meet, but it’s the summertime, pal. I’m well into my 5th margarita of the day. Go away.” Instead, things will actually start to get done again, which is admittedly kinda nice.

Here at CMEpalooza headquarters, we’ll soon be saying goodbye to the lifeguards at our rooftop Olympic-sized pool as we start getting serious about our Fall meeting. Fortunately, we’ve been getting ready for a while. Unlike many other folks, the summertime is not “shut-it-down” time for us, not with our crack summer interns yearning to stuff more envelopes, send more Snapchats, and find every friggin’ Pokemon that they can on our expansive, 300-acre campus.

Here is what you have been missing in the last few weeks while applying your SPF 80:

  • Our Fall agenda is out. We’re trying out a bunch of new formats and bringing to you a cadre of new presenters. It’s gonna be awesome.
  • The deadline for our Puntua Lortu session has passed. Derek is busy qualifying and quantifying the merits of the thousands of submissions he received. You should soon see who has been lucky enough to be chosen.
  • Our Sponsor page is filling up. We’re up to 1 Gold sponsor, 3 Silver sponsors (1 more is coming soon), and 13 Bronze sponsors (several more to be added shortly). Believe it or not, sponsorships remain available at every level, though if you are interested in joining us at one of our more premier levels, there are only a few spots left. More coming soon on sponsorships, and our special plans to provide added exposure for those organizations wise enough to align themselves with CMEpalooza with a neat little activity in September.
  • Our Archive is bigger than ever. You can view and learn from every session that has ever been presented at CMEpalooza in its history. For free. Whenever you want.

Harnessing the Power of Introverts

NOTE: Portions of the blog post below were originally used in an August 2014 CMEpalooza newsletter that approximately five people read. You can call it self-plagiarism if you want, but if Donald Trump, Jr’s speechwriter doesn’t have a problem with it, then I don’t have a problem with it, either.

In Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, she postulates that 30-40% of the members of any audience would identify himself or herself as an introvert. That’s not a small percentage. Now, think about the primary methods most conferences still use for audience engagement with the faculty. At smaller sessions, you raise your hand; at larger meetings you go up to the nearest mic and wait your turn. Either way, a certain amount of aggression is needed to get your question asked and you’re required to talk in front of an audience. Many of you are able to do this without a second thought and have little difficulty with hopping up in front of a crowd of people to ask a question. It is a method that definitely favors the communication style of the extroverts in the audience.

But for that 30-40% introvert audience, getting up in front of a group of people and asking a question is just not going to happen. It’s not. It’s not that we don’t have questions (yes, I’m including myself in this group) – we often do – but if the only way we can get it asked is by being put in a spotlight with everyone around us waiting to hear what we have to say, well, we’ll just wait until later and figure out a different way to find an answer, thanks. To be fair, more and more meetings I attend are starting to include alternative means for audience interaction, such as notecards for questions or the ability to send in questions via an iPad. But in general, most of the engagement still comes via live questions, and that’s fine. Live conferences cater to an extroverted audience, which is understandable since that is the dominant cohort.

One of the (many) things I love about CMEpalooza is that it is a haven for introverts. You can attend a day-long conference without ever leaving the comfort of your home, office, or home office. You don’t need to arrive early to grab a “good” seat (i.e. in the back) and then spend the next 15 minutes looking at your phone in order to avoid awkward small talk with the person next to you. No walks through the exhibit hall to refill your coffee, avoiding eye contact with any of the exhibitors you see watching you out of the corner of your eye. And no standing up in front of a crowd of people to ask a question. You can ask questions, sure – just not in the usual “stand-up and be recognized” manner.

During every version of CMEpalooza, we have three designated methods for the audience to ask questions: the Google Hangout Q&A app, #cmepalooza hashtag on Twitter, and our text line. All three have worked well for us and provide a means for our audience to engage with our faculty.

Moving beyond just the audience, we have found that the Google Hangouts format has appealed to some of our more introverted presenters, as well. The thought of standing up in front of a live audience, regardless of how large or small, and delivering a presentation can be very intimidating to some. I’ve talked a number of people into presenting at CMEpalooza simply by reminding them that there’s no audience to look at or to look at you. The only people you will see is me (or Scott, which is another issue entirely, but I digress) and the other presenters. That has proven to be a comfort to some and I’ve been pleased that we have had a few “first-time” presenters participate in what they felt was a manageable environment for them.

I’ll close with a reminder that we are still accepting abstracts for our Puntua Lortu session at CMEpalooza Fall. If you are someone who has been looking for an opportunity to present in a casual, low-stress environment, I’d encourage you to consider submitting an abstract. The due date for abstracts is July 29, so don’t wait too long!