The Wild World of Educational Design

For those of us who live and die by the fickle nature of grant applications/approvals/rejections, designing potential educational initiatives is both an exciting and frustrating endeavor.

Exciting because we get to put on our creative hats, map out new approaches to educating healthcare providers, and collaborate with colleagues to come up with innovative solutions that (hopefully) will improve patient care.

Frustrating because if these proposals are not funded, well, we all know what happens. The ideas die on the vine, never to see the light of day. There are few things more frustrating in our industry than proposals which take weeks to put together, all amounting to nothing. My virtual trash can is full of these.

And then there are simply some ideas that are “not fundable” either because they focus on an educational area that is too niched and for which funding is unavailable, or because the design is so unique that no one would take a chance on funneling money into something whose outcome is largely unpredictable.

This isn’t me whining (OK, maybe just a little), but rather a little bit of insight into why serving as the co-producer of CMEpalooza is so professionally energizing.

My proposals always get approved! I can implement every new idea I want to!

As long as I make sure to ply Derek with his monthly supply of Fifth Avenue bars, I always get the same reply to every kooky idea I come up with – “Well, if you think it will work, I guess it’s fine with me.”

Those of you who have looked over the Agenda for CMEpalooza Fall that we first put out earlier this week were presumably dazzled with the variety of approaches we’re trying out (and if you weren’t, just pretend please). Really, there are currently only 2 “traditional” CMEpalooza sessions on the agenda with a moderator and a group of panelists, and even these have unique twists. For the others, we’re either trying out something new or improving upon something previously piloted in earlier Paloozas.

This is the kind of stuff that makes our careers interesting. I mean really, after maybe 3 times of getting a group of faculty together to talk about “New and Emerging Therapies for Treatment of Disease XX,” the same old/same old can get pretty dull.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing with everyone more details on some of our new educational designs for CMEpalooza Fall, giving insight into what we were thinking when we came up with each idea and how we envision things playing out. Undoubtedly, the vision in our mind isn’t exactly how each session will truly come together – that’s the unpredictable nature of education – but we’re hopeful that we have the right people in place to make everything work and keep people interested in watching.

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